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Timeless Styles and Traditions

Whimsical Pebble Art

I started collecting stones as a small child.  When I got older, it was something I shared with my mother.  After I married, I traveled across the country with my husband for his work.  Every time I went someplace new, I got a stone and bought it home. She kept those stones on a bookcase in her living room for as long as I can remember.

In Ireland, I was fascinated by the stones used to delineate temples to the gods: Stonehenge, The Hills of Tara, Newgrange, and stone markers for the dead and other sacred meaning always intrigued me.


Coming to Ireland and living in Wexford, I am exposed to another great love of mine: the sea.  Although petrified of going in water over my head unless I am in a pool, I love moving water. Big lakes, rivers, and especially the sea always calm me and center me.  So I have been to visit a bunch of beaches around our home in Ireland.

There I collected pebbles, stones, a few seashells, and sea glass.  After a storm, I can sometimes find pieces of driftwood, mosses, etc.

I went to a few craft fairs in Ireland and after observing some of the art crafts presented, I decided to give it a go myself.  I began to assemble my finds on white card stock and mount the little scenes in a shadow box frame.   

 I do not work well in the summer heat and with John back in Ireland, our woodworking projects have dropped.  I am taking this wood respite to develop my love of art. When I returned to Ohio, I wanted to continue to play with pebbles art.  I actually bought back sea glass, pebbles, and driftwood from the beaches near the house. Airport security must have gotten a bit of a surprise when they x-rayed my bags.  I never experienced any problems the few times I did pack them in my suitcase. Pebbles are heavy, so I never could bring a lot back; hence the multiple trips to build my stash. Now I see you can order these supplies online but I still have a good supply left.

I was thoroughly captivated by the little vignettes I made and continued to see what I could capture.  Pebble art is a bit abstract and I hope to be able to capture a bit of nature that others can see and enjoy.


One of my first attempts was the Mother bird feeding her baby on a branch.  

I wanted to add some color to the scene and so the Birds in the Bush was next.

One of the hardest but one of the simplest looking is the pair of polar bears.

Now it may look like just three main stones on top of each other but it was very time consuming to find similar white stone and stones shaped to look natural on top of each other.  The ears and tails were other challenges.

I made a baby crib with additional embellishments: crib lace blanket, flower, some glitter stones.  I made this as a birth announcement for someone. I hand wrote the bab’s name and date of birth in the corner.  I will do commissioned work if someone asks for a special item

I found a Japanese art print by Ohara Koso with two peacock sin a cherry tree. A very Japanese scene,  Peacocks are also quite popular on big estates in Irland. I used the art print as an inspiration for a complicated piece I recently constructed.

As with the polar bears, the stones to make the peacocks took some time to find a good match up. I painted some eyes and the headrest and then added tiny black crystal beads to the chest.

I wanted some color in the piece and decided to use glass stones for the tail feathers.  I had a very hard time getting all the glass to stay stuck. I used a glue recommended for heavy items.  called e6000. I have had some problems using this glue on a small item. The glue ran. However, this time this tube glue stayed in place.  One problem, I encountered concerned the grouping of the glass on the tail feather train of the birds. The very top layer of glass did not adhere well and some kept falling off.

I then decided to apply polyurethane to the top of the glass tail section.   I applied two thick coats over a period of a week allowing a day for each layer to dry.  Thankfully, that seemed to do the trick. The stones held.

I have had the picture hanging for a good period of time now and no loss of stones. Because that technique worked so well I have decided to make a few other pictures using that technique.  Here is an inspiration picture for my next work.

While my first love was the simplicity of the basic pebble ar picture, I will likely expand that into a more mixed media type of artwork.  But I will still continue to make a simple picture story with pebble, sea glass and driftwood from Ireland.

Have any of you tried this medium? I’d love for you to share your art craft joys

Thanks for visiting, take good care

Dee

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