“This wearable art-object tells the story of times spent walking the shoreline of a distant island - whether sand-whipped or sun-shined - when the heart leaps as they eye is caught by the glint of some half-buried treasure in the sand”
Made from fabric hand-printed using the cyanotype camera-less photographic process, this piece is my homage to the simple shell collector. I gathered hundreds of limpets-with-holes-in from the winter tidelines of St Agnes and Gugh.
When I’d filled my pockets many time over, I arranged the limpets on top of fabric coated with a solution that is highly sensitive to light. Where light reached the fabric, through the holes in the shells and around their edges, the exposure turned the fabric a rich shade of blue - reminiscent of the ever-changing waters surrounding the islands - while the spaces occupied by the shells, blocking the light, remained white.
After the exposure to light the shells were removed, squirrelled safely away my island studio with other collected curiosities. But what to do with the fabric that bore the mark of those happy hours spent prying shells from the sand? There was only one thing that felt right : I spent many hours perfecting the pattern for this large “shell-collector” bag until the dimensions felt perfect for their purpose.
The uniquely printed fabric was then hand sewn to create this luxury piece - one of three similar bags but each slightly different as, thanks to the one-off nature of the printing process no two can ever be the same.
The reinforced circular base and cylindrical shape and high-quality finish make this one perfect for filling with treasures of your own. The bag if fully lined and closes with a draw string panel at the top and held closed with a cord made from the same limpet print fabric fashioned and lovingly hand-stitched into a ribbon. It can be worn over the shoulder or across the body and sits on the hip.
The environment is an important concern for all of us, and this is an ever-felt reality on the Isles of Scilly where islanders live their lives so closely entwined with the natural world. Therefore the materials I choose always place sustainability as a top priority, while never compromising on quality. This bag is made from 100% recycled cotton canvas and the bottom panel, inserted between the layers of fabric to give the bag its structure is constructed from mount-board from the supply of the my late grandmother, who was an oil painter also based on the islands.
The dimensions of the bag are:
height of bag: 33cm / 13 inches
diameter of base: 21.5cm / 8.5 inches
total strap length: 102.5cm /40 inches