summer collecting: improvisations for shells, stones…

doorstop made from stones from the cyclades

photo: susan dworski

Summer vacations in the great outdoors can result in some ferocious souvenir fallout: gazillions of shells, kilos of stones, and fistfuls of feathers from unidentified birds. We hoard this memorabilia like The Hobbit’s Gollum hovering over Sauron’s Ring, unable to part with our “precious”, be it a single sand-filled shell or random feather. Truth be told, it’s usually a great deal more than just one such souvenir we cling to. We keep them all.

And that’s a problem weeping for a solution. Over the years, I’ve improvised various ways of ‘using’ these found treasures. Stones from the Cyclades in an aluminum server act as a doorstop, above.

A glass tower of scallop shells functions as a table centerpiece.

susan dworski

susan dworski

Some things need no other purpose than to bring the outdoors inside as with this blue, window adorned with starfish, stones. Perfect.

starfish and shells with a greek window

photo: greek style

Randomly spilling down a wall and festooning a cupboard, these treasures will trigger memory as surely as Proust’s madeleine.

shells festooning a cupboard

photo: greek style

Geodes, fossils, coral, and one mighty stone scatter memories and Nature over this formal fireplace.

fossils, stones, geodes decorating a fireplace

photo: ?

Anthony Doerr speaks for all the Gollums among us who hoard shards of love and memory embedded in the effluvia of the natural world. In his superb title story, “The Shell Collector“, he writes:

Every six hours the tides plowed shelves of beauty onto the beaches of the world, and here he was, able to walk out into it, thrust his hands into it, spin a piece of it between his fingers. To gather up seashells––each one an amazement––to know their names, to drop them into a bucket: this was what filled his life, what overfilled it…

Why this lattice ornament? Why these fluted scales, these lumpy nodes? Ignorance was, in the end, and in so many ways, a privilege: to find a shell, to feel it, to understand only on some unspeakable level why it bothered to be so lovely. What joy he found in that, what utter mystery.

the shell collector by anthony doerr

Susan Dworski

3rd and 4th photos via  greek style 

Related posts: when nature reminds you to stop what you are doing
rocks as doorstop (sculpture)
digital memory archive (photograph stuff then give it away)
object lessons: some sh*t just doesn’t matter

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