Mussel Shell Book.




September 2013
See my current artwork on Etsy

At one of my trips to the Oregon coast, I gathered some California mussel shells (yes, that’s the name of the species, though they’re native to much of the American Pacific coast) that were washed up on shore. Some were still in complete sets, and looking at them gave me the idea of making little books out of them. The result is a tiny journal carefully crafted from handmade and reclaimed materials, one of a kind and pleasing to the eye.

This book is made from 2 1/4″ long shells–so small you can wear the book itself! The shells have been thoroughly cleaned and sealed, with no smell; they show natural wear, which brings out some of the pearly layer underneath the brown periostacrum.

The pages are made from paper I made myself, recycling old junk mail and other scrap paper here at home. There are eight double-sided pages total; and I cut them in gradually smaller sizes so that they nest neatly inside the shell rather than creating a gap. The paper is similar in weight and texture to a watercolor paper and is undyed. I bound the book with black-coated wire for added strength, and to minimize the size of the holes in the paper.

The book closes with a pair of silvery-gray cords I braided out of secondhand embroidery floss. I also made a decorative tassel for it out of more of this floss, braided with secondhand wool black and handspun brown yarn. The book serves as the pendant for a necklace made of more of the floss and yarn; it alternates between braided and smooth sections, with knots all along the way.

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