Thoughts of Design Inspiration

Pink mussel shell

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Pink Shell

You would think that all or most seaweed, shells, algae and so forth “stuff” that washes up on the beach here in Maine is bland colored. You image it being brown, grey, neutral, black, dark, all those colors that don’t generally inspire me. Now, on a day after a few storms when there’s a lot of that stuff washed up on the beach you go there and start looking you actually realize how colorful this stuff actually is! There is a lot of pink, red, purple, green in very interesting combinations of textures and shapes.


Pink and purple shell


Washed up on the beach

Mussel shell with candy coating

Mussel shell with candy coating and a sugar foam!

These mussel shells have a fantastic pink coating that reflects light, some of them have red dots on white that look like candy.  In the picture above they had a a foam around them from the ocean  that looked like a light sugar syrup foam made for a dish in a professional kitchen.

These colors and shapes gave me an idea to try to replicate something similar in metal. I cut some copper, filed and sanded, then hammered it using my small wooden dapping block, and then enameled it with torch using black, peacock blue and  clover pink.

hammered enameled copper shape

My attempt on replicating a mussel – copper shape hammered and torch enameled with black, blue and pink

hammered and enameled copper shape

My second attempt on making a mussel shape out of copper, more rustic with some rough textures

I thought my attempt with this shape wasn’t too bad. Getting colors that you want with torch enameling is of course a bit of a test – you get what happens to come out.  Some more advanced enamel wizards I’m sure can bring up colors that they had in mind more precisely. If you look at the second shape, it is bigger and has a more rustic nature feel to it with dark shades of black and brown. I’m really happy with what I got so far.

You can see more samples of my copper pendants on Goodsmiths and Etsy:

In case you want to know more about mussels I found a video featuring mussels on Maine coast on youtube.

Now I never knew that there is an official definition of “beach”. Here it is!

A coastal beach is the zone of unconsolidated material
extending from the lowest low water landward to the point
of permanent vegetation or change in topography.