Design with seashells is an un-ending fascination for me. We just finished the most wonderful, primitive-looking, minimalist and monochromatic panels, which were installed on a bar in the home of a well-known Palm Beach couple’s home. It was difficult to find, but I managed to get enough big 8-9” Mushroom Corals to do the job. It took me two days just to lay out the corals. My hands were bleeding and raw because those corals are very sharp. It was truly like a puzzle, getting one to fit correctly next to the other. For every one used there were four corals that I couldn’t use. For the background I found just the right color broken seashells. In between each Large Mushroom Coral was placed a tiny 3/4” one. Again, I was very lucky to find such small examples of that particular coral at this time.
The wall behind the bar will house a very large, custom aquarium. Stage right is a full-length window overlooking the beautiful, azure Palm Beach ocean. The house is contemporary and rather minimalist in feeling. The couple, however, has some heavy-duty artwork in and outside of the house. For instance, there is a beautiful view out the back, overlooking a large and long garden. At the end is a reflection pool and a giant Jim Dine bronze parrot and heart. Great looking!
Earlier in 2011 we made 13 wonderful panels for a fantastic Addison Mizner home on the ocean in Palm Beach. It was being up-dated and restored by Jeff Smith, a well-known architect in our area. ..and we all know who Addison Mizner is, right? If not,, I will tell you. Mizner was the foremost architect in 1920s Palm Beach. He mastered many of the incredible mansions along South Ocean Boulevard on the island of Palm Beach and elsewhere in Florida. I will write more about him another time.
Again, I used the broken shells for the background. I crushed them up more for this project, though, because the look is much more restrained and delicate. Mr. Smith and another architect, Sophia, and I worked with the design until it pleased them. It was all in neutral beige and sand-colors. I suggested adding the beautiful small Mexican Limpets for a spot of color. As everyone knows, I love color. I was so sad when Versace was killed. He was a master of color.
That’s the news of a couple interesting seashell projects on which we have been working. Now I am about to start two Sailors’ Valentines for the sons of one of my favorite clients. The woman is going to make small, circular needlepoint works for the centers of each seashell valentine. I think she will stitch a darker-blue sea with a lighter-blue sky and perhaps a couple clouds. I also suggested that she could put the edge of an “island” at one side, where we could “dock” the wonderful, antique golden ships with enamel I will add to the center of each piece. So I’m going from the very large to the very small.
It’s interesting that these two works do not look “beachy” at all. I strive NOT to let my work become “beachy,” so I don’t cross that line I wrote about in an earlier blog: the dreaded Kitsch line.