Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Vintage Shell Mosaics From Ft Lauderdale

I was looking for inspiration (and shells) for my mixed media frame class that I am teaching soon.  We took a mid-winter trip to Ft Lauderdale (good timing - missed two snows and ice in just 5 short days).  We toured the Bonnet House which was interesting on many levels -- horticulturally, historically, artistically.  It had been built by artist Frederic Bartlett in 1920 and who continued to "embellish" the home until his death in 1953.  In 1983 it was deeded to the Florida Trust For Historic Preservation for all to enjoy. 

Frederic gathered seashells (he owned a good section of the beach,
lucky him) and pressed them in wet concrete to "frame" the doors, ceiling and niches
in the courtyard.  He also did the faux painting on the walls, and artwork on the ceiling.
But it is the eagle that I gleaned most of my inspiration from.
Just an "aside":
each of these bouquets is crafted from shells.
I think they hale from the Victorian era.

His wife had such a large shell collection that he
built her a special building in which to enjoy it.
That is an actual piece of coral in the center of the room!

Here is a similar mixed media arch gracing a section
of the office window at our hotel.
  I like the broken sections of mirror
that were incorporated (they may appear white here).

So, we did a little beach combing ourselves.
Looking for flattish shells, sand tumbled sea pieces
with soft corners and flattish coral pieces that could
be incorporated into mixed media frames.
(Love that aqua sink in our mid-century motel room).

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