Saturday, July 25, 2015

She sells seashells...

...down by the seashore.

Perhaps I've been daydreaming about a trip to the beach far too often this summer. When the time came to construct a fairy house for my (PCAGOE) guild's August challenge, I automatically began thinking about a fairy who lived at the beach. As a child, I was fortunate to have parents who would take us to the beach nearly every summer. As an adult, it hasn't been as easy to get to the beach every summer; in fact, it's been many years since I've felt the sand between my toes and the sea salt in my hair. I guess that's why every project I've done in the last couple months has had a beach/summer color palette. The ocean is calling me, and this is presently my only outlet.


It all began with a shell... at the start of this project, I had decided that my fairy would set up house in a whelk shell she had found on the beach. Well, after I created my little whelk shell, I loved it so much that I didn't have the heart to bury half of it in polymer sand, nor did I want to add a door or cut a hole in it for adding a window. I wasn't completely sold on this idea in the first place, so I gave the theme some more thought.







Above: Shell (before adding orange color and gloss to interior)
Below: finished shell




I considered abandoning the beach theme and doing a woodland fairy house. But I persevered and inspiration struck when I was brainstorming things one might find at a beach. I had wanted to incorporate polymer sea glass, because I adore sea glass. I came up with the idea of a sea worn bottle fully intact, yet partially covered with coral calcification and tiny seashells. This would be a fairy's lighthouse! Can you just imagine her magical light illuminating the inside of the bottle? The cap of the bottle can be removed, so one can insert a glow stick or small battery powered light to illuminate the bottle.




I decided that I would use the faux glass effect tutorial, by Ginger Davis Allman of The Blue Bottle Tree, to create the sea glass pebbles that would be the stepping stones to the door of the light house, and also to cover portions of the bottle that would become the lighthouse. I was so pleased with the effect of the faux sea glass. Ginger's tutorial is so well written and illustrated that it's perfect for all levels of experience, beginner through advanced; so if you love the look of sea glass, I highly recommend buying the tutorial. I wanted to incorporate tiny seashells encrusted in the coral on the bottle, and I wanted all pieces to be made from polymer, so I set to work and created some tiny horn, whelk, olive, scallop, oyster and snail shells. I used a white and translucent Premo mix and hand sculpted each shell, sometimes adding inks before sculpting, sometimes after sculpting. I was fairly pleased with my little handmade shells. You can catch sight of those tiny shells here:





The door was to be made of faux driftwood with the smallest of snail shells as a door knob. To create the door I used Premo Rhino colored clay which I sculpted in layers to give the look of water worn wood. After curing the door was antiqued with burnt umber water based oil paint, to bring out the details:



The faux coral was created with various items to give texture and indentations. I used a blend of Premo white and translucent, with some inclusions (scrap clay left over from a previous project). After curing, I gave a gentle antiquing to the coral parts by sparingly brushing the burnt umber water based oil and immediately rubbing with a wet cloth to give only the faintest color.


For a final touch I decided to create one more beach item (a starfish) and a sandy pedestal for my little fairy lighthouse ensemble. The starfish was created with a blend of Premo white and translucent,  it was hand sculpted, given color with inks of yellow and orange and given a treatment of texture using a firm brush.

The sandy pedestal was created with a blend of Premo white, translucent and rhino, which wasn't completely blended together to create a solid color, some streaks were left behind to give the feel of beach sand's varying colors. I gave a light dusting of the entire sand pedestal with macro pearl Pearl-ex powder (not easy to see in the photos), to mimic the shine of mica in the sand. I textured the faux sand with a crumpled up ball of tin foil, and indented areas for where the lighthouse should be placed, as well as indentations for where the sea glass stepping stones and whelk shell would be placed. All items of this little set are moveable for flexibility in decoration.




I am really pleased with my little fairy light house, and still in love with the idea of a beach fairy! But, this little piece is not something I need to keep for myself. The large whelk shell does beg me to keep it because it sculpted so easily and (I think) turned out so well), but I don't really want to break up the set. So, I believe this entire little set will find itself available for adoption in my createmyworld etsy shop within the next week or so... 



What do you think of my little fairy house? Please leave me a comment and tell me your thoughts! Voting for this challenge opens on August 1st (how can it be almost August already?!?). I will try to post a reminder here when the challenge is open for voting! Thanks for stopping by to check out my little fairy light house, and please consider leaving me a comment! :)

12 comments:

  1. OMG! This was shared by Ginger Allman shared this. Just incredible!

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    1. Thanks so much Beti, for your kind comments! :)

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  2. love it so beachy and your polymer work is so realistic

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    1. Thank you Lori! Your comments mean so much! :)

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  3. Wonderfully done! It does look like it belongs on the beach with a wee fairy residing with in!

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    1. Thanks so much Vanessa, for the sweet comment! :)

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  4. My Dear Friend Beth, I read your entire blog. You are truly an amazing artist with a gifted talent and imagination. I LOVE IT and YOU! How big is the finished project Susan xoxoxox

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    1. Thanks so much my sweet Susan! :) The lighthouse bottle is about 5" tall and the whole piece together is about 4 to 5" wide/deep. Love you too! XO

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  5. Great idea and beautifully made. I'm especially impressed with the shell. I had to read your blog (from flickr) to confirm it really was polymer!

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    1. Thanks so much Cate, for taking the time to read the blog post and for the kind comment! :)

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  6. Everything about this piece is magical. The shells are truly amazing!! I loved reading about your journey!

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    1. Thank you so much Betsy, for your kind comments! :)

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