Monday, August 30, 2010


We all have our things that we are passionate about, don't we? You might love to collect photos of birds, or botany. Someone else may collect baseball cards or Matchbox cars. In the movie, "Amelie", one of the main characters collected discarded photobooth photos, and recordings of funny laughter! As for me, I have a few different passions... one might say "obsessions", and one of them is for seashells. 
Moon snail shells from New Jersey
I find their forms to be fascinating... the shape of each one, the colors, are all vivid examples of Mother Nature's infinite creativity and glory. I cannot be sad or despondent when I am shell collecting. Even a visit to a natural history museum with a shell collection makes me insanely happy! Every time I find a seashell, it speaks to me. It tells me that there is so much to wonder about on this earth. It tells me that there are other creatures on this planet that have the ability to create and make beautiful designs that will hold us in thrall. They don't even have to think about it, either, as humans do. They are made to create wonders, as a form of protection, for their homes. The variety of shells in the world makes me buzz inside with a weird kind of electricity! I would like to be able to see every kind of shell in person, holding it in my hand. This is obsession.

Which brings me to another of my obsessions: bird's nests. For the same reason that I find seashells fascinating, I find bird nests fascinating.... they build sometimes only for a home for their eggs to become chicks, but other times to entice mates! They build not only for function, but for form. The variety of nests is amazing... from the tiny little hummingbird nests (see below)
Hummingbird nest (with a butterfly inside)
A nest found in my camellia bush, abandoned. Egg is wooden.
which are made from tiny bits of moss, twigs, animal fur, human hair and other soft bits and held together  by spider's webs to the flamboyant displays of the bowerbirds of New Guinea, which go to a massive scale, including towers of plants & twigs, or piles of same-colored stones, flowers or even human debris, used for it's color and texture... the bowerbirds are true artists, whose motivations are to lure a mate in and create a family. They go to great lengths to show their individuality and creativity to their potential mates! Watch this video of David Attenborough, where he shows a bowerbird bower. It's the most basic reason that anyone does anything, isn't it? To find love, a mate, someone to share your world with. To find someone who sees things similarly to the way that you do. The bowerbirds and humans... looking for love. :-) Other birds may have other reasons for their nest building techniques, and they are all extremely fascinating to me, although the bowerbirds make the most amazing display. I fell in love with them after seeing an article about them in National Geographic. These are gorgeous examples of what bowerbirds create, and opened my mind up more to the idea of why we make art. See how your obsessions can take you different places? It's wild!

So what are YOUR obsessions? Where have they taken you? I have a feeling that mine will take me to New Guinea, Florida, and a return to the Bahamas... as well as other places! I hope you'll share some of your obsessions with me! 



Orion Designs said...

I have obsessed about seashells and have a huge collection from the 7 years I lived aboard my sailboat. I can't bear to part with any of them, but I have used some of them in my art.

shari said...

Do you have any pictures of your collection? I'd LOVE to see it! That's sooo cool!

I've just lived close enough to oceans that I've been able to collect some shells, although they're mostly from the California coast & Mexico. They took my shells from me in the Bahamas because I had some coral, so the next time I go back, I'll get the shells, and leave all coral bits!

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