But where can I buy all the pretty???

Visit Vagabond Romantics shop now to browse and buy altered art, wearable collage, and lovingly curated craft materials unearthed from the farthest reaches of granny's attic.

Wednesday 2 November 2016

Welcome to the Mermaid's Grotto!

As a little girl growing up in the American Midwest, I treasured my shell collection. Mostly, I'm afraid to say, those shells were purchased (I now realise that's a huge no-no, but this was indeed the age of innocence), although a few were gifts or gathered from the riverbank outside my home. I dreamed of visiting a beach  one day but it took until I was eleven years old to see the ocean, a fact that seems inconceivable to my British friends!

Now my favourite beach is just a few miles down the road. At one end there is a marshy estuary, at the other slate cliffs, and in between lie sand dunes, shingle, and a petrified forest uncovered during low tides. It's an unimaginable blessing, and I never tire of beachcombing, with every zone offering its own distinct rewards. This summer I threw responsibility to the wind and did my best to spend every possible sunny day collecting sand between my toes. The upshot of this is that the carpet in my car will never be the same, and I have acquired many boxes of shells.

I had a vague idea that the shells would eventually be used in artwork, but I faced a quandary. Vagabond Romantics is hardly synonymous with minimalism, but how to incorporate shells without risking a full-on seaside souvenir vibe? Inspiration hit me, as it reliably does, on a visit to a friend in Italy. I'd started the year working on reliquary-inspired work. Religious monuments. Mosaics. Grottos..... at some point it all came together and I realised that the answer was - as is so often the case - right in front of me.

Ladies (and particularly dandy gentlemen), I give you the Mermaid's Grotto, my new collection for magpies, mermaids, beachcombers and indeed vagabonds and romantics! The first few pieces are already in the Etsy shop, many more are to be added shortly (I have been a busy bee.....) Hope you enjoy them as much as I've enjoyed making them - I wonder what next summer will bring?!

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