By now you know I love all sorts of collectibles, some I have in my own collections others I enjoy looking at in friends homes and gardens and online on Instagram and Pinterest. In addition, I find it exciting to learn more about objects that peak my interest, in this instance, shell art. When I found the group below I knew I wanted to do a post about the many ways shells can be incorporated into our decorations both in our homes and on our bodies. Let’s explore some of these possibilities.
What got me thinking about shell art was this group of shell-encrusted boxes found outside at the May Randolph Street Market, www.randolphstreetmarket.com in Melissa Parks booth Megillicutti. email@example.com, follow on Instagram at Megillicutti. Melissa’s booth has all manner of extraordinary objects and she will be back at RSM for the June Show on Saturday and Sunday, June 24 and 25. My photo on my iPhone. Just a note…always buy what you like when you see it, most, if not all, the vendors are at RSM each month but they usually bring different and new pieces, that is what makes it exciting and why we keep coming back for more! In addition, ask the vendors if they have any other pieces of what you are admiring, they may have them with them or they can bring the next time they are at the Market. Get to know them, ask questions and educate yourself with pieces you are unfamiliar with….they do like to talk about their treasures and want you to like them as much as they do!
The top of a box from my friend, Virginia Heaven’s, collection. Virginia’s collections are very eclectic and inspired. I have shared some in past posts and will share more as we continue my journey. Photo courtesy of Virginia Heaven.
Two boxes I found on Pinterest, photo credit unknown. Aren’t they stunning!!!
A Sailors’ Valentine, exquisite, I particularly love the shading and the softness of the pastel shells. Sailors’ Valentines could be an entire post, there are so many and so many different stories about their origins, I would suggest the two books below if you wish to investigate this subject.
One of my favorite images…it is truly a work of art.
One of my Saks Fifth Avenue Store Managers and dear friend, Bob Pike, collected carved cameo shells. I found a couple for him at antique shows (long before Randolph Street Market was a glimmer in Sally Schwartz’ eye). Here are a couple of exquisite examples of this art….
And my favorite…
Isn’t she a beauty!! Many, many more images on Pinterest.
And when you Google this is what you can find…just a taste of what goes into cameo shells and cameos. Taken from a Google search.
A faux shell from the collection of Kevin G, whose booth The Red Leopard Crocodile, (found each month at RSM in the Ballroom) is always filled with magical objects concentrating on vintage handbags and jewelry. Photo taken by me with my iPhone.
I asked a couple of my friends if they collected anything with shells…Sally Schwartz, www.randolphstreetmarket.com, the guru behind the incredible Randolph Street Market (remember I did a profile on Sally and have featured some of her collections in previous posts) and Stephanie Lake, www.StephanieLakeDesign.com, the author of the magnificent, and only, book on Bonnie Cashin, Bonnie Cashin: Chic Is Where You Find It, and creator of fascinating jewelry. I did an entire week on Stephanie, beginning with an in-depth profile, followed by a book review and then posts on some of her collections and how she and her husband entertain. Neither have huge shell collections but each shared a nautilus shell piece for me to share with you.
Sally shared a watercolor of a nautilus shell that hangs in her home, stunning! Photo courtesy of Sally Schwartz.
Stephanie’s nautilus shells on brass branches, one of a pair.
The piece surrounded by Stephanie’s unique necklaces in her showroom. Both photos courtesy of Stephanie Lake.
I then asked Candace Jordon, www.candidcandace.com and www.chicagonow.com/Candid-Candace, about her thoughts on shells…she sent me three photos of her collection…again I did Candace’s profile weeks ago along with separate posts on her collections and have included her collections in other posts such as the one on paperweights. You can be sure I will include more in weeks to come. She and Chuck are avid collectors of a wonderful Cabinet of Curiosities!!! Her influence for her shell pieces, Tony Duquette, my design guru along with his successor and collaborator, Hutton Wilkenson…but that is another post, for sure. The pieces were purchased in Paris several years ago and are by a French artist, Thomas Boog, www.thomasboog.com, Candace said she thought they would all arrive in pieces but only the mirror had minor damage. She shared “I’ve always been in love with shells and coral after discovering and falling in love with the style of the late designer, Tony Duquette.”
Oh my, one can, most certainly, see the Tony Duquette influence in these elegantly created pieces. Photos courtesy of Candace Jordan.
One of the most beautiful books you can own if you don’t be sure to add it to your collection.
From the Hutton Wilkenson Collection. We haven’t even touched on Coral…that can be another time.
A chair from the genius of Tony Duquette.
And from the genius of Alexander McQueen, there are no words!!!!
Using shells like fabric petals.
Another Alexander McQueen creation.
And the back of the garment.
Perhaps the influence for the garments, a shell “painting” in the form of flower petals.
I think from Tony Duquette but am not sure of the source, just know I love the look.
And my shell piece, a mirror framed in shells that I painted in one of the shades of white I used in my all white bathroom.
Since Summer is here shall we all start our shell collections again and relive our childhoods and create our own masterworks, let’s!!!!
All photos unless otherwise credited are from Pinterest and photo credits are unknown.
FROM NENA’S RECIPE BOX
INDIVIDUAL LOBSTER POT PIES
(Get the connection….shells and shellfish!!!!)
I use frozen puff pastry for the “crust”
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
18-20 pearl onions (I use frozen no need to peel! Defrosted)
1 cup diced celery root
3/4 cup diced fennel (use the outer stalks)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/4 teaspoon curry powder (I always use Spice Islands spices and dried herbs)
1/4 teaspoon dried mustard
3/4 cup sherry (use either dry or sweet wherever your taste, I often use Bristol Cream Sherry, just be sure it is good and one you would drink)
2 1/2 cups cooked lobster meat (I always use the meat from broiled lobster tails, if your fishmonger has lobster meat use that, saves a step)
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 cup crème fraîche
1 egg beaten
Melt butter in a saute pan over medium-high heat add onions, celery root, and fennel, cooking 5 minutes. Reduce heat and brown until lightly caramelized, about 15 minutes more. Stir in salt and pepper. Add curry powder and mustard, lightly frying the spices for a minute. Deglaze pan with sherry and reduce until almost dry, about 1 minute. Fold in lobster, peas, and crème fraîche, heat until just warmed through. Divide among six 12-ounce souffle cups or ramekins (filling should be about 3/4 full) I usually do 4 ramekins.
Oven should be at 450º.
Cut puff pastry into rounds to cover and drape over sides of ramekins press to seal, make an X in the center of each piece of dough and brush with the beaten egg. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and bake 17 to 19 minutes or until crust is golden brown.
I serve with a lightly dressed mixed green salad (I am loving the four lettuces in a container that you can find at Mariano’s) and either champagne, of course, or a dry fruity white wine. Dessert should be light perhaps a poached fruit such as pears or peaches and more champagne followed by a glass of sherry and homemade madeleines (I have a great recipe for them that I will post at another time).
The pot pies are VERY rich and everyone I have served them to literally scrape the bottom of the ramekins! I have served this many times and everyone adores it.
Adapted from a Chicago Tribune recipe.