Monday, July 25, 2016

Sea Tossed Shell Necklace

It's been a rough month both physically and emotionally, for varied reasons. I nearly bailed on the PCAGOE challenge for August. I think I'm close to a 3 year streak for consecutive months of entries, so I really hated to miss a month. I haven't been in the studio since last month, and I could feel edginess setting in... this is never a good thing! Luckily, I manage to squeak in some time in the studio last night and today to come up with an entry. The challenge theme for August 2016 is "Beach".

When I originally thought about what I might do for this theme, I had planned to do a piece with a whelk shell and I intended to either film or take snapshots of the process. The plan was to embed a tutorial on my blogpost about the piece. Alas, with the lack of time and last minute studio work, I did not have a chance to do a video or photos, plus, the shell I decided to create is different from the whelk shell that I made for my She Sells Seashells Fairy House, and so the creating of it was another session of trial and error. 

Sometime yesterday I had resigned myself to skipping this challenge, because I didn't have any ideas for this shell piece... I simply wanted to make a seashell but didn't know how that shell would be used. Then I dug around in my stock of unassembled pieces, that I have in a bin, and found the 2 blue circle stacked beads that I had left over from my Cloudy with a Mix of Tyvek Necklace. These blue beads kind of reminded me of cascading waves, or even fish scales... and I started thinking about a necklace that would incorporate these beads and a shell pendant. I didn't want the shell to be too dimensional on the wearer, so I decided to create a worn shell, one that was tossed about and weathered by the ocean. I liked the idea of being able to see the various layers of the interior spiral. 

I set about making the shell with a blend of Premo translucent and Premo white. This piece was created in layers and various bakings, starting with the thin core first and working out to the outer layer last. After all the layers were attached and fully cured, I then used alcohol inks to add some coloring and and white acrylic paint to give a water-weathered impression to some of the areas The inner salmon layers were also treated to a thin layer of liquid pc and a shot with the heat gun to give a glossy look, similar to that of a real seashell.

Next I drilled a hole in the shell bead and strung it and the blue beads onto a strand of silk sari. The sari necklace is made to be tied to secure it, and so 2 blue glass beads were added to the ends to weigh them down. I think the sari strand gives a nice boho feel to the piece.

Excuse the last photo, of me modeling the necklace, I ran out of daylight and couldn't get the focus as sharp as I want. I'll try another day this week, to take a better photo and will update the post with the new photo as soon as I can...

Overall, I'll pretty happy with this quickie project. I do love how the shell turned out. I'm not convinced that I like it with the blue beads, at least not as much as I thought I would. Someday I hope to make a tutorial on how to make the whelk shells. If you're a polymer artist, is that something you'd be interested in learning? What do you think about the contrast between the blue beads and the shell pendant? Would you swap the blue beads for something else? Leave me a comment below and let me know what you think of my Sea Tossed Shell necklace.

Voting will open for this challenge on August 1st and will run through till August 7th at Midnight. As always, I'll try to post a reminder here on the blog!


  1. Beth, this is wonderful. I love the shell and I would be interested in seeing the process for sure. It looks very real. I too didn't have my original idea pan out. My difficulties are on the colors and their intensity. I hope life takes a more serene turn for you. I lost my grand-mother this week as well. Although I was not as close as you were to yours it was still an emotional time. My condolences on your loss.

    1. Aw, thank you Line, for your kind comments. My condolences to you as well, on the loss of your grandmother.

  2. I meant to comment on this weeks ago. When I saw the photo and before reading your blog I thought the only polymer part was the blue above the shell. I was certain the shell was real. I'd love to learn how you do it, but I'm not sure I could come close to your level of realism even with detailed steps. I also think the contrast of the blue with the shell works as an overall focal. The only reason I can see to re-do it would be if you wanted to put even more emphasis on the shell by using something a bit smaller.

    1. Thanks, Tammy, for your thought provoking comments! I think you might be right, something smaller might be what I'm wanting to compliment the shell. I think I just realized what it is that I don't like about this combination, and that is that the blue beads are glued together to keep them in the "V" shape. Doing this caused what would otherwise be completely symmetrical to become asymmetrical, as the one half circle overlaps the half circle on the other bead that would have mirrored it. Not sure if that makes sense, but your comment made me take another look to see if I could figure out what it was that bugged me about this design, and I did! Still not sure if it bugs me enough to change it though. ;) Thanks too for the comments about the shell! I do hope to do a tutorial of them someday, after I get the beast of my studio under control and reorganized (always so many plans)... and I'm sure that you'd be able to do a fine job of creating one.


Thank you for choosing to add a comment! I have added the word verification and registered user requirement to prevent bots from targeting my blog. Thank you for your understanding and patience while processing these simple steps to add your comment on the blog.