Shells & Glue


I have a dear friend Liz who has been collecting seashells for me (she loves the beach and lives near one). I can ask her to collect some grey shells and she happily hunts for the perfect shells. I am so grateful for her efforts. These shells have a beautiful texture that works well with my formal style. The problem is, how do you use them without turning my art into a craft? I have been exploring ways to use them but I keep feeling that I have not found an answer to this... yet.


I have used shells in the past but I would use a singular large one as a focal point or accent. Using more than one shell suggests a “beach theme”. My thinking is that if I stack them or line them up in some linear way they will lose their “shell-ness” leaving the graphic texture that I seek. I will use these shells but I am unsure of the direction.


The next challenge is how to affix them. Usually I use bolts and screws so as not to rely only on glue. Perhaps I can use bolts with the glue but cracking the shells by drilling holes in them is always a risk. I may just use glue. I typically use one of four types of glue: the double epoxy glue, contractor’s cement, a kind of super glue and an epoxy putty. Each has its strength and weaknesses. How I affix the shells will depend on how I use the shells so as always, I will let the work tell me what to do.

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