Monday, September 18, 2017

Make art with oyster shells

I am an oyster farmer as well as a drum maker and visual artist who created the Journey Oracle, so it seems natural that these materials and skills would come together in a new art idea: a rattle made by covering an oyster shell with salmon skin. 

Salmon skin is tough and flexible.  It dries to a beautiful translucent sheen, sparkling with scales that reflect the light.

I understand that a rattle has an inner as well as outer sound and so the shell is filled inside with a bright, steady sound, and the outside is embellished with a moving shifting sound.  This outer sound can be played on either side of the rattle.

The outer design of this rattle is inspired by the "bubble nets" that Humpback whales create around fish when they are feeding.  This rattle of catching salmon will know how to find home.

Sometimes something is left behind.  A swirl of circumstances takes us away from attention, and something small and beautiful leaves our awareness.

This little oyster shell rattle had such a beginning. It was lost and then was found again.  The inner sound is made with every kind of old voice: bone, stone and metal. 

The outer voice came as a surprise in a button box.  A package of abalone shell buttons became became an inspiration for finding beauty in simplicity.

The little rattle of the lost and found also has a sister.  A rattle that was forgotten but then remembered. 

This larger rattle of remembering was resewn with gratitude for the opportunity to be of service.

Its inner sound is made of  a rose quartz bead and a bead that was drilled in more than one direction, just as memory searches in every direction for what it is calling.

And the sound from simple beauty creates its outer voice, just like the simple aah we say when we remember what we have forgotten.