Genesis of an idea part 3

All the ideas I had finally came together and now the piece is finished, but let me tell you how it all came about.

The most challenging part for me was figuring out how to attach the shell strings to the bowl. Since June I have been walking (to lose weight), and running since August, and on the biggest hill, I focus on a topic that helps me take my mind off my burning tired legs. And the main point of focus for me was figuring out this problem. Here is what I finally figured out.

The first problem was getting even spacing around the bowl especially since it had ovaled a bit. I took a piece of blue painters tape and put it around the top of the bowl and marked a beginning and ending point. Then removed the tape and cut it off at the marks so I had a piece of tape that was the circumference of the bowl.

The next problem was figuring out how to make eleven evenly placed holes. Even with a ruler that would be a challenge, so I used an ancient tool to solve the problem easily. I used a pair of dividers; set a distance that looked right to the eye and stepped it off. After five adjustments, I got it! I marked the tape and had the eleven evenly spaced points.

Making the copper leaf ring with the tiny holes

So here is how I decided to attach the shell strings to the bowl. I ditched the idea about making a big necklace of shells because I really did not have enough jingle shells and I did not think they really needed to be connected horizontally. I drilled a tiny hole using a pen vice drill (.85mm), then I could slide a piece of wire through the hole and through the shell string loop, then loop that around the lip of the bowl. To disguise the copper loops that hold the shell strings up, I used copper leaf to make a copper ring around the top of the bowl. This idea worked perfectly.

The next problem (for me) was that I had already decided to call the piece “The Shell Pot”, but I did not think the hanging shells and outside decorations were enough to really connect the title. So running up that hill, I figured that out too! I knew I would not have enough jingle shells to go all away around the bowl, I decided to tie the theme of the bowl to making it literally a bowl for shells! I used pretty white scallop shells to make up for the lack of jingle shells for the shell strings, then filled the bottom of the bowl with nice sea shells that me and my children found during our beach vacation! Yes, perhaps I could have gone on-line and ordered more jingle shells, but then the project would not be as personal for me. For me, it would have been cheating somehow to buy shells.

Completed at last!

The shells in the bottom






For the finish, I applied a clear acrylic spary to the metal work on the bottm. For the rest of the outside and the inside of the bowl, I used shellac. On the inside of the bowl, I also applied a couple of coats of furniture wax to help prevent the shells from scratching the inside.

The piece is about 6″ high and about 6.5″ wide. Now I need to get some better photographs of it. My photography leaves a lot to be desired, so once I get a couple of good shots, I post them on the blog.

It’s interesting how ideas come and go, get used and get disgarded. The whole thing started with an idea for a shell necklace while walking on the beach, then developed further while in half a dream state, then finished out while in a runner’s mental zone. I guess you could say the whole idea started with walking and finished with running! And best of all, I have lost about 15 pounds in the process!

I hope you enjoyed this series. Tell me about how you get ideas.


About yaakov

Husband, Abba, Furniture Maker, Turner, Bookseller, and all around working stiff.
This entry was posted in In Yaakov's Workshop and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Genesis of an idea part 3

  1. Ellis Hein says:

    Yaakov, I have finally gotten the time to finish reading this series of posts. Your process of getting ideas sounds very familiar to me. I can’t just sit down and say, “Ok ideas, start rolling in.” I mean I can make the statement, but I have no legitimate hope of it happening. Now that some of the other work is not pressing so much I hope to get back to things like regularly reading your posts and turning. I did get some turning time making vegetable pounders and spurtles to sell at the local farmer’s market. Practical items can make a nice balance to the more creative turning, but there is nothing to compare with seeing someone pick up a vessel with a pyrographed design on it, for example, and declare “I HAVE TO HAVE IT.”

    In my meanderings here, I did want to say that I like this latest vessel.


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