1// diamond bit with a taper point (I went through 2 of these for this project)
2// hand-held dremel
3// jewelry pliers
4// clear spray gloss
1// Large jump rings .23 in/ 6mm
2// Chain (whatever chain you buy make sure it has big “links” so that you can space out your shells/objects, especially if your shells/objects are large, as mine are)
3// Small jump rings .15/4mm
Hint: Just go to Michaels or Joanne’s for these supplies, I wouldn’t buy this stuff online, you need to touch and feel the ingredients you want!
1// Collect your shells (or really anything else you would like to put holes in- glass, thin rocks, any kind of plastic) just make sure it isn’t too thick or you will be 1. be drilling forever and go through a ton of diamond bits 2. risk melting and cracking 3. get jagged holes 4. run out of patience
2// I have found that putting the object in question in an ice bath before you drill helps prevent cracking or melting, because the diamond bit gets hot as you drill and the cold of the material helps counteract the physics of the thing
3// Drill on something thick so that you do not ruin anything and can easily feel when the bit has made it all the way through the object (in this case the September issue of Vogue- I think Gaga would be proud and Anna would be outraged!) Make sure you take into consideration the size of your jump rings, you have to have enough space to get the jump ring into the hole and then onto the chain, always drill your hole towards the edge, but not too close or it will crack/melt/pull/ break
4// After you drill your holes give the shells a good coat of clear spray gloss to make them look more vibrant and wet all the time
5// Detail of the holes and newly sprayed and shiny shells!
6// Attach the larger of the two sizes of jump rings to the shells, using your jewelers pliers, spread open the hoop insert it into the shell then close the hoop, then attach the little jump rings to the big jump rings and the little jump rings to the separate links on the chain using the same method- doing this will help you spread out the shells, you need to use both sizes of jump rings so that the shells hang flat and not slanted- make sure you pay attention to the direction that the shell will lay or they might hang backwards!
I literally look at my world like, what can I make next? Everything is a potential craft or project- how can I take whatever it is out of context and make something else out of it? I think I learned this from my parents, my father, for example, making mixed tape “album covers” out of old maps, menus, stamps or some random photograph he printed off the internet or took himself and then he would hand water-color them and give them away as gifts. Or my mother taking the “fairy sticks” we used collect on the north shore of Lake Superior, drilling holes in them, stringing them through the center, perfectly balanced with thrifted wooden bowls, into huge organic lake-wood bird feeders and selling them at craft fairs. My parents always took that which would have been “useless” to many others and breathed new life into whatever it was that thrilled their fancy at the time, made the thing useful because they were both able to look at something and re-imagine its new life as something else altogether.
I have been walking the beach everyday for a month at just-dawn, from the little Paradise Grill where my mom lives to the big pink Don Cesar hotel, it’s about 62 street blocks there and back- I have been meditating on what has happened to me in these past 28 years, who I have become and where I will go from here, I usually think about owning my own company, more projects and blogs, how I am going to decorate my next apartment, what I will wear in my new iteration of self, and what the person I am going to spend my life with would say to me and look like if they were walking next to me at low tide, would we wax poetic about the tenacity of conch and the determination of those burrowing cowry’s forcing their way towards the tide when it is low? Would they drink and giggle with my mom and love the beet salad at the Black Palm as much as I do? Would they wear linen pants at the beach and sit quiet during sunset holding hands?
On my beach walks, I watch the old ladies in their crocs and terry cloth shorts picking up shells, inspecting them for their perfection, I can see their minds analyzing and weighing the pros and cons of their collection, and I giggle because here I am collecting these bivalve chips, the broken pieces of these big fat shells, god’s free beads, I thought and I am still giggling as I remember my mother and fathers subtle lessons on life, always collecting the thing that no one wants and making it into something no one ever thought.
The pictures of me were taken my my lovely mum, at the Pass-a-Grille boardwalk, who after snapping 24 pictures said to me, “ok I’m done, we got the shot” and I say “mom you can take 100 if you want” and she replies “nope, I was trained to get the shot using film, if you can’t get it in 24 you might as well quit while you are ahead” – love.