Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Sea Shells for Needlepoint: With or Without Jewels

I promised a while back that I would provide some patterns for sea shells for putting onto canvas yourself.

I finally dug out two rather fat files labeled "Jeweled Critters" and "Small Sea Shells." I had forgotten about many of them, as that binge of designing for me came and went about 12 years ago. Since then, I have found many many new threads to use to really enhance these things, and make them much better than they were the first time.

The first picture is a simple scallop shell - the first one I did when I departed from painting realistic sea shells on needlepoint canvas. I had pulled out a lot of threads in what I call "Caribbean Colors," and it seemed only right to paint some shells in these colors - but what was lacking, was "pearls."

The second picture is in the actual colors of a scallop shell which is native, as I remember, to somewhere in the south Pacific. Later, I added pearls to it, and painted it in several different color combinations - my favorite, of course, the aquas and green.

Enough of that. My purpose here is to inspire you to create your own, and it's actually quite simple. I have had a love and fascination for sea shells since I saw my first real ones as a small child at Ft. Pierce in Florida, during WWII, just before my father went off to the south Pacific.

When I moved to Tallahassee in my early 40's, my favorite recreation was going to the beach "in season" and picking up shells, and going out onto the sand bars to pick up sand dollars with my toes. Of course I then had to put them onto canvas for stitching.

All of my fantasy "jeweled" shells are from actual shapes, most of which I traced from several wonderful books of shells I own - one of them is a gigantic "coffee table" book. (I'm back in Austin now)

You can do this - or look for shells on the internet. Mine are here for you, and my suggestion is that you print them out, size them as you wish, and draw them onto canvas. Then see what you can do with adding jewels and beautiful, unusual colors.

This shell is a green tree snail - it was in my giant book of shells, so I traced it and added the pearls. I'm already pulling out threads to see what I can use to really make it special. Maybe Petite Very Velvet with the pearly coral colored area in DMC Satin Floss. The gold outlining will, of course, be Kreinik 002V #12 braid, as this is on 18 mesh canvas.

This is not the color of the actual green tree snail, as the real ones are very very bright green - gorgeous things!! I"m giving you both the tracing, and also the scan of the actual canvas, marked for the addition of the "pearls."

As I don't like to paint the canvases I'm going to stitch unless I have to, I'll just mark the areas of color with the Sharpie ultra fine permanent drawing pen, so I'll know where to stitch each color. Thank heaven for colored drawing pens these days!!

To show the transition from sea shell book to painted canvas, I've photographed the two pictures together to give you an idea of what you can do. This is a "banded tulip" - one of my favorites.

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