Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Color Collaborative: June: Found






Found on a beach a long time ago, this large conch shell now sits atop a bookcase in our living room. We don't handle it much; its edges are flaking and crumbling. But it still smells a little like the ocean, if you put your nose right inside, and of course the sound of the ocean never goes away.

Conch shells can be used in many ways, from building materials to jewelry. The shell can be used as a musical instrument or as a symbol of order or authority (think Lord of the Flies). The conch itself, the snail inside the shell, is eaten in many parts of the world. Our shell is interesting to examine and ponder.

A conch shell is a study in contrast. Outside, the shell is rough and spiny, its spire winding higher and tighter, spiky projections growing longer with each twist. The outer surface is dull and beige-colored, camouflage for a sandy beach. It feels sandy, too - grainy and slightly rough, like finest-grit sandpaper. If broken, a conch shell's fragments are sharp as knives. The outside is tough, built to defend the soft animal living inside - built by the animal itself, amazingly. But the long, curved edge is delicate and fluted, fan-shaped and almost translucent, hinting at what you'll find when you turn the shell over.

Inside, it's a different story altogether. The inner shell is shiny, vitreous, tinkly if you tap it with your fingernail. Gradually, from the outside edge inward, its color shifts from creamy white to pale peach to deep coral-pink, darkening toward the crevice where a sea snail once burrowed to keep safe, its siphon reaching out now and then for nourishment. As I've reminded my children, the shell is more than just a pretty thing; the vulnerable snail lived quietly here, taking in seawater and making iridescent pinkish pearls, sheltered in its snug, rosy home.

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Don't forget to visit the other Color Collaborative blogs for more of this month's posts. Just click on the links below: 

Annie at Annie Cholewa 
Sandra at Cherry Heart 
Sarah at mitenska
 
What is The Color Collaborative?
All creative bloggers make stuff, gather stuff, shape stuff, and share stuff. Mostly they work on their own, but what happens when a group of them work together? Is a creative collaboration greater than the sum of its parts? We think so and we hope you will too. We'll each be offering our own monthly take on a color related theme, and hoping that in combination our ideas will encourage us, and perhaps you, to think about color in new ways.

30 comments:

  1. I've been drawing shells recently. They're beautiful, intricate, fascinating things when studied closely. Joe loves playing with them (which explains why some are now mere fragments) but I can identify holidays I brought them back from: little pieces of mother of pearl from Nantucket, tiny yellow whelk shells from Scotland, dinky pale green urchin shells from the Greek islands...
    I'd love a conch shell. We had one in the house when I was a child but I have no idea where it ended up...
    Sarah.

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  2. A lovely shell and a lovely post to go with it, Jennifer! :o)

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  3. Nature is a miracle isn't it. Somehow the shells seem even more amazing when they're as big as that. Such an amazing construction, and beautifully written about. CJ xx

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  4. As soon as I saw the first photo I thought of Lord of the Flies! I was made to read it at school in 'kill a book' sessions and have vague recollections of the conch changing colour as the boys descended into anarchy. I love your descriptions of the shell - 'vitreous' , what a brilliant and perfectly appropriate word. I have a vase of shells in my bathroom, collected by the girls on various holidays; nothing so beautiful though. I'm glad that you treasure it. xx

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  5. Shells are beautiful, a real gift from Nature. And they have been used for so many things, from a horn to jewellery. I have several conch shells, which have graced our home for many years.

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  6. My Mother had two of those when I was growing up. I so miss them, they were lost in a move years ago. One day I would love to find one to put in my home.

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  7. I find shells fascinating to look at and to touch.

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  8. They're such beautiful shells, not only the shape and structure but the colours too.

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  9. I always think the inside of shells look like ears. I like this shell very much and I'm imagining it's quite a bit bigger and more "exotic" than the kind we find where I live. It's an incredibly intricate and complex structure, isn't it? Beautiful to photograph and study. xx

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  10. Hey Jennifer,
    A lovely post. And yes, the tapping of the shell, and the noise that it makes. You described it perfectly.
    Leanne xx

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  11. Such a beautiful shell. There is so much beauty around is we take the time to look for it. x

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  12. Like you I'm always drawn to examine the interiors of shells, but this conch of yours is particularly enticing, I want to reach through the screen and stroke it.

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  13. Your conch is beautiful Jennifer. I do love the smooth shiny inside of it, perfect for a little snail to live in. x

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  14. I also love shells and have a big one I got at the Oregon coast in a store. I'm sure it's not native to that particular area, but I love it just the same. Thank you for all of the information you gave us. I now know much more than I did before.
    Blessings,
    Betsy

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  15. Jennifer, what a lovely post. That shell is beautiful.

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  16. What a lovely choice for Found in June. I have many shells that I have found or others have given to me, and a conch shell in the collection as well. The contrast of shapes and textures and colors are fascinating. Thanks for helping me appreciate that all the more through your fine post, Jennifer xx

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  17. I don't think I've ever handled a conch shell. The colour and iridescence of the underside of the shell is beautiful and delicate. You make me feel like I know the shell through your description. Thank you x

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  18. As a little girl I remember spending hours being fascinated by a conch shell my great uncle had, listening to it, running my fingers over it, trying to see all the way inside... now I own that shell, your post has reminded me of my early love for it and now I can't wait to unpack it when we move. Thank you. Beautiful post Jennifer, x

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  19. My grandparents had a small collection of conch shells and they used to fascinate me when I was small. I wish I'd asked to have even just one of them. Sadly my grandparents have passed away now and I don't really know where those shells have gone. It would have been a wonderful keepsake. Yours is beautiful, and it's great that you treasure it.

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  20. Just having a big catch up, work has got in the way! I hate it when you get to the last jar of jam! Your close up photography is super too. Love to You Jen. J x

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  21. What a beautiful seashell you all found!! That is a treasure as I display the ones that I find as well. Anything that smells like the ocean is such a gift! Wishing you an amazing weekend friend! Nicole xo

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  22. My parents came to England in the 60's from the Seychelles and my father packed one of these in his case. He said it was to hear the sound of home.Your post reminds me of how much he loves his shell. I remember being fascinated that something lived inside it. My father ran off with another woman , he went back home but sometimes when I miss him I listen to the sound of the sea and I imagine him sitting by the sea..

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  23. You have photographed this shell so beautifully Jennifer, it truly glows and you tell a lovely story of its life too.

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  24. It's fascinating to look at and I love the shiny pinky inside. Have a lovely weekend Jennifer.
    Jane xx

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  25. I have a conch shell too and just love it. Well... I adore all shells. I may try blowing on mine! OK.. off to the pool where I will swim like a fishie. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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  26. Such a beautiful shell, that pink is amazing! x

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  27. I love your description of this fabulous found object. I've always been fascinated by the glassiness of the inside of shells and those fabulous sunset colours,and I like the fact that you also acknowledge the shell's original purpose. Our shells here are smaller and not as exotic, although still beautiful :)
    Cathy x

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  28. Beautiful description of a beautiful shell. X

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  29. Quite fascinating things really aren't they? I've always been completely taken by that smooth and soft pink surface on the inside, so beautiful and such a contrast, really quite amazing.

    S x

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