A Beautiful Oyster Shell (for those seeking pearls)

A Beautiful Oyster

I found a beautiful oyster shell while wading along the bay in Port Saint Joe on the Gulf Coast. Most I suppose would have not bothered, as oyster shells are everywhere in the area, creating parking lots and tossed into piles or back into the sea. At some point after this one was alive, it was very likely served on an icy tray to someone fond of fresh seafood. How long ago could this have been? Judging from the smoothness, I imagined it had been tumbling among the other shells at the sea shore, through storms and sunny skies, long enough to erode its own sharpness away. Examining it, I could see layers, ridges, pitting, coloring, and pearlescent whites.

Although this one is a common oyster of the food variety, it’s fascinating to understand that the long gone succulent oyster inside created its own environment by filtering saltwater and secreting calcium carbonate and other trace minerals. Only rarely does an oyster of this kind create a pearl by surrounding an irritant with layer upon comforting layer with a smooth coating called ‘nacre’.

This oyster shell is beautiful to me because of its curvy shape and texture, the layers, lines, and pits, as well as the colors within. I see purple and gold, and I’ve used the Prisma app filter to more obviously show all of these characteristics. I’d still like to be the lucky one to find a fresh oyster with a pearl inside!

Fine vs Find Art

Found Funny Face

Beyond the usual media used in fine art, the paints, pencil, canvas, paper, metal, clay, glass, and beyond.. there is even more beyond. This form of find art is referred to by a few names: trash art, junk art, and found object art. Look around your house, there are some great artsy things to be made with objects you already have! Bent forks, tin cans, paper clips, buttons, glue, cereal box cardboard, and string could become your next level of expression and creativity.

I’ve seen some surprising and impressive found object art by a few artists that I follow on instagram and their art includes items found out in the streets. These are really serendipitous! Imagine visiting Mexico City and making your way around on foot. The sights, sounds, and smells tell a picture, but what you find, well that’s another indicator level of what’s going on. It’s cultural anthropology! Merge this with an artist’s expression and the results are some surprising assemblages. The heel of a boot, wires, bottle caps, and a picture of a mouth torn from a cigarette package become a mask. This is about as universal as you can get. Everyone recognizes two eyes, a nose, and a mouth. Adjust the shape, add brush bristles for hair, nails for horns, and the assemblage becomes a bull. The artist who indulges in this form of art is both playful and offering a cultural commentary on society.

When I go out, I enjoy walking and exploring, so this past weekend I made a point to find interesting objects. I did not want to include the usual rubbish, and where I live that means lots of cigarette butts, fast food bags, and plastic water bottles. I found and decided to keep rusty wire, a marble, a metal object, an aluminum can pop-top (I don’t think they make these kind anymore), and a bit of fisherman’s net. The result is a quick funny face.

While at the public library, I was wandering through the shelves and lucked up by finding a fun book called Trash Origami. It has 25 paper folding projects that you can make by reusing printed materials that almost everyone has around, including soup can labels and magazine pages. Don’t just hoard your colorful paper when you can make something aesthetic or utilitarian!

All this is reminiscent of childhood collages using glue, cut paper, glue, macaroni, beans, and cereal. But hey we’re grown up now! Aren’t we? Now it’s find art.

Here’s a link to 11 Artist Doing Amazing Things With Recycled Materials.