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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Paua Shell Beads

I’ve just uploaded a whole new batch of Paua Shells beads to the website.

These beads were the result of an amazing day of alchemy in the studio – I’d been playing with two glass colours for a while, but as an experiment I tried adding a third glass – and – WOW!

I got this lovely opalescence which is different every time it occurs.

This happened a few months ago now, and I keep playing with the idea and each time the result is different – I have yet to discover exactly WHY this happens, I just know that it does, to varying degrees every time!

I reckon they look rather like paua shells on a beach.

If you're looking for them on the website they are
1. Large Paua Shells Heart
2. Medium Flat Round Paua Shells Bead and
3. Small Paua Shells Round Bead

I’ve been fascinated with the colours in Paua shells forever – they’re known as Abalone shells in some other parts of the world. The shells have layer on layer of transluscent colours - blues, greens, pinks and purples – although they can be quite thin, the shellfish has taken the minerals from the water it lives in and created the individual swirls and flows – so like an intense version of the water it lives in.

They hold special significance in spiritual rituals and are often used as a bowl or vessel in ceremonies such as smudging. I love to find them on my beach walks – I am a real magpie (I pick up shiny things), and rarely come home empty-handed from a walk.

My artist friend Kim shares this love and has created some amazing paintings using a paint layering technique which emulates the paua’s own layering. I am the very blessed recipient of a fabulous triptych – a work that is very hard to photograph, but one which I can look into for a long time and always see something different. It is one of my treasures!


sukipoet said...

On the Cape we have muscle shells (from which I think Wampum is made) and quahog and clam shells with some of that layering. I never thought about the idea that the swirls look like the water! Lovely. When I lived there, I too was always picking up lovlies. I esp like broken and worn shells.

Wonderful description of Kim's work too, emulating the paua's layering.

Your words in the sidebar, "do something that makes you feel insecure" is just what I need right now!!! That's what I have to do, just need to decide WHICH thing.

Your beads are gorgeous. They remind me of opals, my birthstone. Hope yr Dad has settled in a bit. Thinking of him and you and your sister who tends to him. Here, there are groups for caregivers. I never went but I think it is a good resource. Hugs, Suki

Kim said...

Oh Lesley, I love these beads and they do have such lovely elements of the paua shell. You know how much I adore those colors and that luminescence! In my mind there are so many reasons to have them in your home. They carry amazing positive energy and spread light color in amazing ways. As you know, my "special stash" of shells holds a very important place in my home.

Thank you so much for the kind words about my work. It is difficult to express the depth of inspiration paua brings to me. I am so glad you are finding the same thing.

If I lived near an ocean, I think I would also collect bits and pieces. I love doing that. Suki said one time it is the elements most people fail to see which artist grab onto. She is right...of course she said it in a more eloquent way and referred to writers specifically.

Thanks again for the "shout out"! It means so much from such a great artist as yourself!

glitz said...

Suki - that word wampum is familiar - it sounds American Indian? Yes, the mussel shells we get here also have some opalescence, but it's not as deep or as colourful as the paua.
That saying is a little disturbing, hey? That's kind of why it appealed to me - its good food for thought.
I'm glad you like the beads - they do have a nice lustre in real life, which you cant really see in my photos. Blogger was really uncooperative when I went to upload them too...grrr!
Thanks for asking about Dad - all seem s OK at the moment - long may it continue!

glitz said...

Thanks Kim for sharing your beautiful works - you know how much I love the pieces I have of yours.

I think it's that we both work in layers that makes the paua so especially inspirational for us, dont you?

I have always loved to collect little gifts from nature - this morning as I was coming home from my walk there right in front of me was the most beautiful feather! Its an unusual shape and I'm intrigued to know what kind of bird it came from. Feathers are so significant spiritually, and I feel really privileged to have been "gifted" this one.


Kim said...

Les, I think the whole idea of working and living in layers is very important aspect of why we love the paua...it has so much to teach us, doesn't it?

Like you, I like to collect little bits and pieces of nature. I have a lot of shells from the Channel Coast and rocks from everywhere! :-) Of course, I also have my paua you have shared with me. Sometimes, this drives my family crazy, but I am grateful they are willing to live with me!

Thanks Lesley!