it started with a box full of shells (concept)

The idea for the seashell box was encouraged by my summer project work, making me think about how I could contain the feeling or memory of a place in a piece of work. My mind with straight to boxes and began to look at Joseph Cornell and how he created almost tiny worlds by assembling things in a box. These boxes almost make me think that he’s trying to, maybe, unconsciously trying to recreate a memory or feeling.

This box concept also led me to find artist Mike Bennion, whose work is similar to Cornell’s. Bennion says on his website that “I make a point of avoiding an obvious narrative or meaning in the work” which I think is really important in order for work to relate to an audience so that they can use the work to think about their own stories and feelings. For instance, when I showed my finish seashell box to my housemate she told me it reminded her of a box that she’s had since she was young.

This idea of artist’s collecting carried on through my research other the summer as I was introduced to Becky Adams during a visit to Ruthin Craft Centre. I picked up a book on her collecting/textiles work and was really inspired by the way she made old, found things have new meaning. Her work in this book is also based on her trip to Ruthin so it was incredibly relevant to what I was working on over the summer.

Whilst reading her book I also was re-introduced to the idea of cabinets of curiosities or ‘wonder rooms’ where you can find all sorts of things. This concept has always been interesting to me as an artist because of my need to collect strange things in case I would need them to created anything in the future.

The book also mentions a ‘Hall of Seashell Vases’ which I found really interesting because I was making the box at the time. I also went the to the museum here in Cardiff and found seashell lampshades.

it started with a box full of shells (documentation)

Why work created during September-November follows on from my favourite piece made during the summer.

I intended for the box to remind me of my summer spent travelling around Wales, mostly the sea side towns I had visited.

The box itself is made by hand with cardboard and paper mached over with strips of newspaper I found on my travels. I then covered it in the shells I had spent ages individually picking up whilst at Aberdovey.

When making the box I had started to think about showing emotion through my work in regards to textiles. To also carry on with the beach theme, I created little embroidered messages about how I had felt that day at the beach, picking up all those shells. I then put them in little glass bottles and sealed them. This was to show the idea of sharing my emotions while still having an element of secrecy.

The glitter, pearls and gems were added for an exaggerated effect of the ocean. The glitter representing the various colours of coral and fish you can find down there; the gems added hints of treasure and the fake pearls representing the beauty of natural ones.