Gertenbach’s talisman: seashell

My friend gave me some magazines, and Victoria Gertenbach‘s Objects of Comfort on the cover of Quilting Arts Issue 91 jumped out at me, so I followed her guidelines and made this seashell talisman.

I would have made more – wow, did I love this process! – but I had to borrow a box of shells and only this one was large enough for me to play with. Darn you covid, and your ability to thwart my experiments by preventing me from shopping or visiting beaches! Maybe you’ll see some rock or stick talismans in the future (:

Anyway, I wanted to craft the feeling of the sea, so I used a sandy color fabric folded over itself for the uneven sea bottom, and a lightly sparkly fabric in blue for the water (I believe these were cuts from a Robert Kaufman collection). I had some specialty fluffy trim meant for scrapbooking that reminded me of seaweed – the color was perfect! I added some gold and dark beads as rocks along the sea floor. Around the rim of the “water” I added a lot of clear and white beads alongside real seashell sequins to represent the crashing waves.

As a talisman, I needed to add something dangly. I really like dangly bits of whatever; there’s just something magical in a cluster of charms. I had an old wineglass charm which is the starfish and pearl. The wood beads are to represent driftwood, with sparkly beads for pearls, sea treasures, and sea glass. And I made the tiniest tassel to add more texture.

You can almost hear the sea and feel the sand beneath your toes when you hold this seashell talisman, I swear!

Though the artist calls hers “talismans”, I wondered if “charm” or “amulet” or “totem” might be better for me. Is there a word that encompasses them all? As an anthropologist, I feel that there are specific meanings to these words, depending on the culture from which it originated.

Alas, today’s internet is filled with newage crystal worshippers who make up whatever they want, so I can’t rightly sort it all out and it isn’t my area of research. This shell thing isn’t meant to be magical or spiritual or powerful in anyway – at least, not more so than to invoke the sense of the sea! (Sidenote, even “thing” had a specific meaning, once upon a time…)

I think I prefer “charm”. When you say something “has charm”, you mean that it evokes a particular emotional feel. Which is what I think my little seashell talisman does!

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My friend gave me some magazines, and Victoria Gertenbach‘s Objects of Comfort on the cover of Quilting Arts Issue 91 jumped out at me, so I followed her guidelines and made this seashell talisman.

I would have made more – wow, did I love this process! – but I had to borrow a box of shells and only this one was large enough for me to play with. Darn you covid, and your ability to thwart my experiments by preventing me from shopping or visiting beaches! Maybe you’ll see some rock or stick talismans in the future (:

Anyway, I wanted to craft the feeling of the sea, so I used a sandy color fabric folded over itself for the uneven sea bottom, and a lightly sparkly fabric in blue for the water (I believe these were cuts from a Robert Kaufman collection). I had some specialty fluffy trim meant for scrapbooking that reminded me of seaweed – the color was perfect! I added some gold and dark beads as rocks along the sea floor. Around the rim of the “water” I added a lot of clear and white beads alongside real seashell sequins to represent the crashing waves.

As a talisman, I needed to add something dangly. I really like dangly bits of whatever; there’s just something magical in a cluster of charms. I had an old wineglass charm which is the starfish and pearl. The wood beads are to represent driftwood, with sparkly beads for pearls, sea treasures, and sea glass. And I made the tiniest tassel to add more texture.

You can almost hear the sea and feel the sand beneath your toes when you hold this seashell talisman, I swear!

Though the artist calls hers “talismans”, I wondered if “charm” or “amulet” or “totem” might be better for me. Is there a word that encompasses them all? As an anthropologist, I feel that there are specific meanings to these words, depending on the culture from which it originated.

Alas, today’s internet is filled with newage crystal worshippers who make up whatever they want, so I can’t rightly sort it all out and it isn’t my area of research. This shell thing isn’t meant to be magical or spiritual or powerful in anyway – at least, not more so than to invoke the sense of the sea! (Sidenote, even “thing” had a specific meaning, once upon a time…)

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read more
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read more
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read more
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read more
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The title of this post claims you'll see wisteria, but in truth, I converted this task to a grapevine because I've never seen wisteria in person (though it is all over my dream house grounds!) but my gramma and grampa had a small vineyard. The premise is still the...

read more
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I am part of the Embroiderer's Guild of America (EGA) through a local chapter, and I recently came across a little hedgehog-on-a-log piece that Terry Vanderslice designed as an introduction to raised embroidery (also known as stumpwork). I knew I wanted to try it for...

read more
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I haven't been very diligent about exercising my pen and ink skills, but that doesn't mean that I've given up. I recently signed up for the newsletter from the American Bird Conservancy (ABC) and got my second issue today. I began what will hopefully be a regular*...

read more
Everything is better … 2

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Shortly after making my first "Everything is better with" sign, I put this one in the queue. I gifted it to my sister-in-law, who contributed "sunshine" to my list. I wanted this to be light and "sunny", so taking inspiration from the sky, I chose a light yellow...

read more
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At one of my guild meetings, I picked up a small dimensional embroidery kit by A Candle In The Cellar, aptly named "woolly worm on a leaf". I put it away for a time because at a glance, it looked like it used bullion knots to make the worm and I wanted more practice...

read more
Everything is better …

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I've been tossing around this idea to make a couple of "Everything is better with ___ " signs so I asked around for some input and have a nice list to start with. This doesn't mean I will actually make them all, but if there is something you think that fills this...

read more
TA Stitch Challenge #5

TA Stitch Challenge #5

The challenge this week at TextileArtist.org is hosted by Emily Jo Gibbs. She works with appliqué and suggested we find an interesting stick - well my yard has more sticks than you could shake a forest at! I spent a short time outside looking for just the right one -...

read more
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I came across a stumpwork portrait tutorial by Queenie's Needlework some time ago and finally had the gumption to give it a try. One of the last steps Queenie offers is to give the portrait a name. This lady doesn't look very much like anyone I know, but for some...

read more
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I picked up a couple of Lin Vandenberg's Historical Egyptian Treasures at my guild a while back. They are from 1992 and I can't seem to locate any online reference about them. It is a technique I hadn't tried yet: pattern darning. I say I don't like doing counted work...

read more
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I've made slow progress on my totoro paint-by-numbers project but here is the latest report (see where I began here). Session 4: More layers of white, orange, red, and yellow green, plus the darker yellow-green. Session 5: Still more layers of the all the colors and...

read more
TA Stitch Challenge #2

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I am so grateful that TextileArtist.org will be hosting the Stitch Challenge on their website - part two is up now for those following along! Cas Holmes presented her art style with the challenge, and this gave me the ability to try adding paper to something as my...

read more
TA Stitch Challenge #1

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My friend pointed me over to TextileArtist.org who is running a free stitch challenge right now. For me, this is perfect timing! The article about Sue Stone, who lead this stitch challenge, really seemed to reflect me in parts. I have collected a lot of technical...

read more
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I've been quiet 'round these parts because I have been working furiously behind the scenes on a project that I hope you will see soon. Meanwhile, we are all enduring COVID-19 in various ways. I hope everyone is adjusting fine, is staying healthy, and is convincing...

read more
Silk Gauze Rose Sampler

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When I visited the EGA museum, Boy and I were very impressed with a particular piece worked on silk gauze. In fact, Boy deemed it his favorite thing he's ever seen in embroidery, and possibly in the whole world of art. At my guild's holiday party, I mentioned my visit...

read more
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read more
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I discovered a free tutorial to make floss tassels over at Hobby Lobby and gave it a go. Of course I selected the spectrum of corals/blushes/pinks; how could I prevent myself? I made the one on the left first, following the directions except that I didn't use any...

read more
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read more
Shawkl’s ICQC 103 Beaded S

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The second task in the monogram lesson was to make a beaded letter. I felt I was going to not have enough beads, so I opted to use a stem stitch in a large perle cotton as fill. I rather like the texture combination! I hadn't done any true beading work before, so...

read more
Shawkl’s ICQC 103 Embroidered M

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The lessons for this segment of the intermediate crazy quilt course (ICQC) involve working monograms in a few different styles. The first task is using embroidery. I wanted to challenge myself, of course, so I didn't just use basic stitches. There is nothing fancy...

read more
Shawkl’s ICQC 103 Wisteria

Shawkl’s ICQC 103 Wisteria

The title of this post claims you'll see wisteria, but in truth, I converted this task to a grapevine because I've never seen wisteria in person (though it is all over my dream house grounds!) but my gramma and grampa had a small vineyard. The premise is still the...

read more