To see or sea a sea shell. That is the question and Kimberly Mok answers it so well. And remember, our water is sacred, the occupants in our waters precious. Take it from here Kim and thank you for sharing.
“On beginning a new project I first make a small sample to understand how best to work with the material, using elements of my chosen material such as size, shape and colour of the material to inform surface pattern. This gives me a guide as to how scale and shape the resulting project. My aim with every project is to expose the true and often hidden beauty of the material I am working with and I feel this is only possible by listening to the material from day one. Our favourites are these circular shell artworks, which are reminiscent of mandalas — symbols of wholeness and unity — found in Eastern religions and philosophies. Like a lot of things and processes in nature, they also look almost mathematically inclined too. These have been made from shells that have been sliced or adhered together. Of course, keen observers and conservationists will point out that seashell collecting has a big environmental impact. “These pretty beach tokens play an important role in ecosystems; algae take shelter in shells, birds use them to build nests, and hermit crabs carry them as armor,” notes Conservation Magazine.
According to Mersh, the seashells used in his artworks are sourced from sustainable shell farmers and harvesters around the world. For the rest of us, here are some ethical guidelines for seashell collecting from Travel For Wildlife:
1. Don’t take anything that is alive.
2. Leave spiral shells: hermit crabs depend on empty spiral shells of all sizes for their survival.
3. Take less, or better yet, take only photos. A wide variety of plants and animals depend on dead shells for their survival.
In any case, art like Mersh’s reminds us that nature is full of wonders. But rather than combing the beaches and keeping it for ourselves, those wonders are probably best left untouched. To see more, visit Rowan Mersh and stay tuned to GreenTV!