Friday, August 19, 2011

A Simple Shell Mobile

This simple little thing took me three days to do, working in fits and starts (which is how most things get accomplished around here!). But truly, it's simple.

The only thing I haven't done is find a permanent home for it, so you've got sort of a busy background in the photos. At any rate, over the weekend we ended up at a beach which often has lots of quahog shells, in all sizes. There were so many with perfectly drilled holes in them that I decided to pick them up to make a mobile. The holes--I don't know if you can tell--are all at the top, near the hinge. They're formed by moon snails, which drill through the shell so they can eat the clam. Bad for the clam, but it sure makes hanging the shells easier for us.

Ideally, I'd have hung these from driftwood, but the beaches we visit don't really offer up much driftwood. I don't know if that's due to environment, currents.... no idea. So I bought a fifty-cent dowel, sawed it in half, painted it white with some acrylic craft paint, and hung the shells from that.

Before stringing, I gathered my shells together and sorted them by size, and then arranged them roughly largest (at the top) to smallest. I used fishing line, which I don't actually enjoy working with that much, but I like the transparent effect. The string is anchored into the smallest shell at the bottom with a couple of small seed beads, and then for the rest the fishing line is sort of half-hitched through the shell and then I tied a knot around that. (I'm terrible with knot identification. I think it was half-hitch-ish.)

I measured evenly to tie the strings of shells on, so it would be balanced, and I sawed a shallow notch so the fishing line would stay where I put it instead of sliding around on the dowel. Then I used some crochet cotton for the top piece, to hang from, because I was tired of fishing line. (I tried fishing line first, but it kept getting tangled up with the strings of shells every time I put it down. Gah.)

Here's another view--less busy in the background, but with lights.

My goal here? To bring some summer with us as the seasons change. I love summer, I love the beach, I love the creatures (we saw the funniest blue crab yesterday! He was Textbook Crab, too, waving us away with his claw as he skittered and paddled sideways), I love the sun and the salt and the sand and the sound of the surf and the birds flying low over the water and I am not ready for summer to end, not at all. So this is a mobile created in August, but really, I think I'll need it most in February.

Shared (a day late!) with our creative spaces. Lots more creative folks here.


bells said...

how lovely! You know, I never knew how those holes were made and now I do! Thanks!

I think it's a lovely way to keep summer alive a little as winter draws nearer. Nice.

Michelle said...

I like it! Although, I'd be ready to pack it in a box and not think of summer again until May, but I can see how you'd want to hang on to that. Me? I just want to wrap myself in books and jackets and blankets. I'll settle for collecting fall images on pinterest for the next few months until I can actually do that.

Donna Lee said...

What a great reminder of summer. I always miss it,too. I love being barefoot and wearing shorts.Sigh. August is almost over.

Your mobile reminds me of the odd things made of shells one can find at seaside tourist places. Peter Kevins's father threatened to buy us a whole hanging "thing" with a pointed hat with strings of shells hanging from it in a spiral pattern as a gift one year. I told him I'd hang it in the closet.