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A Therapy that is Shell Collection; A Joy that is Shell Art

It's not easy getting back into the humdrum of daily life after a long, memorable family vacation. Is it?

We're still immersed soul-deep in the nature-filled moments spent in South Africa and infact, those visuals and experiences will be etched in our hearts for ever.

The good part is that besides the memories, photos and souvenirs, we have something else from the trip that will enable us to relive and in fact double the joys.

We have our finds from nature that we so fondly collected – at beaches, in farms, on mountain tops and even on road. And, we have a hand-full of ideas for doing art with them.

This past weekend, Pari, along with her friend Sama, spent an afternoon making mosaic art from the shells that she and I had collected one late evening in Hermanus.

The two days that we stayed in Hermanus – we spent most of the time watching the Southern Right Whales, sitting on the rocky cliffs of the shores. Hermanus, as I had mentioned in my first South Africa post – is one of the best Whale Watching spots in the world.

You can identify a Southern Right Whale by the distinct white patches on its head that are called Callosities. Besides, its V-shaped blow sets its apart from other whales like – the Humpback whale and the Bryde Whale.

Keeping an eye out for these giant, rotund creatures for hours on end and gazing in awe at the ferocious waves crash against the rocks – is a feeling that cannot be explained in words – so peaceful and fulfilling that even the chilling South Easterly winds blowing over the Atlantic did not affect us.

On the contrary, they became a part of the experience.

This picture was clicked by Pari :)

And, the evenings were spent collecting shells so beautiful in their infinite shapes, sizes and colours that for shell lovers like us – they are the most precious gifts we can ever have. 

Really, collecting shells on a beach, gushing at their beauty and running over to show it to your partner in this play –  is all so very healing and therapeutic, one has to do it to believe it. Kids no doubt love this play, but even for adults – if they can be kids at heart once in a while – it's the most stress relieving past time.

I, for one, can do it for hours together without even needing a company…

So, enjoy the pictures of the shell art made by the girls.

So, enthralled and engrossed were they in making these that they did not want to put it away for a while even to have lunch. After much cajoling did they agree to have food only to get back to their most important task at hand.

I set up a table with two vessels filled with water for Pari to wash those shells before setting out to do the mosaic.

We had another bag of shells from one more beach trip about an year back – to Puri. Those shells were small and pale white. I thought, using them now would provide a good variation for this mosaic.

While pari was cleaning, we talked simultaneously about the animal kingdom that the shells belong to – the molluscs. We discussed how the shells are washed at our feet and what lived inside them.

I cut out two card-boards from a box and outlined frames leaving rectangular boxes in the middle. They could do what they wished to in the middle – stick a photo, write a quote or their own words or stick flowers. 

I also gave them colourful satin ribbons, used gift wrapping papers and tube-based glitter paint. Told them to use these as they wished. 

It was interesting to see them go about the whole process. 

While Sama (in her middle teens) chose a more organized design, Pari's art was abstract. Both, I think, are beautiful in their own way. What do you think?

Here are couple of useful pages on shell identification and shell art for kids.
And, a deeply philosophical and poetic read by my friend Farnoosh Brock about the enigma that an ocean is. Enjoy!

  1. Seashell Identification – We've been reading up here some interesting facts about mollusks,  the Junonia shell, the Chambered Nautilus, the Sundial Sea-shell and more.  Very informative for children and us alike.
  2. Sandcasting at the BeachCasting with shells and plaster of paris – via Paint Cut Paste
  3. The Whispers of the Pacific Ocean – via Prolific Living

Do you and your kids like collecting shells? What shell art or craft you have made? Please share any other interesting ideas for shell art and feel free to share a link to your shell art post.

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • jen at paintcutpaste.com September 19, 2011, 3:06 pm

    these mosaics are beautiful! i love the colors! thank you for including our sandcasting link on your blog, as well!

    • Rashmie Jaaju September 20, 2011, 7:41 am

      Thank you for connecting here. I loved your sand casting activity. We are going to try this next time we are at a beach. Sadly, we don’t have a beach locally.

  • se7en September 19, 2011, 9:56 pm

    That’s our Hermanus!!! So happy to see photographs of the whales on your blog!!! Hermanus is one of our favorite weekend getaways and definitely the best spot to watch whales… I am so glad you had such a good time there!!! Hope you have a fun week!!!

    • Rashmie Jaaju September 20, 2011, 8:30 am

      @se7en – YAY for our Hermanus :) Aren’t those whales so adorable?!
      How lucky you are to be living so close to this wonderful place. I hope we get to live in SA some day… :)
      Thanks for stopping by dear friend.

  • Melissa @imaginationsoup September 20, 2011, 3:49 pm

    Oh, I so miss the ocean! It is so deeply soul-nourishing. When I get stressed or can’t sleep, I go to the ocean in my mind, specifically sailing. Sigh. What an amazing trip you had!

  • maggy, red ted art September 21, 2011, 7:04 pm

    I love your shell art! So fun.. and must have been nice sitting there getting arty and reflecting on your holidays!

    Thank you for joining in at Kids Get Crafty!


    • Rashmie Jaaju September 27, 2011, 5:25 am

      Dear maggy,
      Sorry about this tardy reply. Thank you for stopping by to see and share your thoughts.. :)