Friday, November 20, 2015

Shell Wax

 

Last Fall when I went to Chincoteague, VA to stitch with friends, Jim came and joined me for part of the weekend.

We had never been to Assateague Island so one morning we woke before dawn and headed East to the beach for sunrise...


The sun held promise for a new day and for warming the salt spray chill that blanketed the beach on that crisp November morning.


Except for a flock of terns and gulls...


We were quite alone.



So Jim fell into his tide line ritual of walking the wrack line...a beach intent Sherlock Holmes looking for clues in the interstices between sand and sea...



What he found that day amid the shells of oyster, atlantic clam and cockles...



Was a predominance of black scallop shells.



"Let's take some home", I said, inspired by our good fortune and taking their plentitude as a sign that I should use them in some special way.   I had been wanting to make a gift for my stitching friends that gather in Chincoteague, to honor our friendship and the special time we share together every year and these scallops were just the inspiration I needed.

So we collected 20 or so of the black scallop shells and took them home where they sat in a jar for almost a year until it was time once to return to Chincoteague this past week...


I took two of the largest and deepest shells...


And pressed them into a silicone putty that I'd found at a craft store in order to make a mold.


To prepare the putty, you have to mix a 1:1 ratio of Component A and Component B together.  It has a limited working time and you can see in the mold on the left below that the compound had already started to set before I pressed in the shell.  I was quicker mixing and pressing the second time around, and used the impression on the right as my final mold.



I found a candle making supplier for microcrystalline wax online and melted the pellets on low heat in a $2 saucepan I'd found at the thrift store [Note: area must be well-ventilated]...



In searching for microcrystalline wax, there are two types available, a soft, tacky version and a hard version.  I bought the hard version.

I had taken beading classes from Diane Dennis and from Laura McCabe over the Summer and both artists used microcrystalline wax exclusively to condition their fireline beading threads.  Laura McCabe spoke very highly of the archival properties of microcrystalline wax, mentioning that she had used it previously in conservation work.

In the past, I have used beeswax to condition threads for bead embroidery and for goldwork but I liked the microcrystalline wax a bit better.  It was less tacky resulting in a smoother thread than beeswax so I thought it might be nice to share my newfound favorite with my stitching friends.

I poured my melted wax into my little silicone mold...


Twenty times...


Et voilá!



A wax shell thread conditioner to place in their stitching workboxes.

A gift from the sea and from me.

Have a great weekend everyone!

17 comments:

Suzie in Idaho said...

What a lovely thoughtful gift. Everyone loves to receive a treasure made with love. SWEET

Rachel said...

What a wonderful thought. And such delightful little boxes, too!

Vicky aka Stichr said...

Ka--Lev--ERRRR...So useful, yet so very much fun! How long did it take each impression to set up enough to remove from the mold?

Createology said...

Gifts like these from the HeArt and Nature are a wonderful way to honor your stitching friends. I love that you and Jim collected the shells and used them in the gift presentation. Thoughtful and practical and sew perfect!

Bernice said...

What a great gift. I use beeswax to condition vintage threads that have dried out a bit too much. I must look for the microcrystalline wax and give it a try.

margaret said...

such a unique idea you had and it has worked so beautifully, I know your friends will treasure this gift. Beeswax dries out on me, it never used to but the last 2 lots I bought did not have a shelf life so will look out for some of this wax.

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

Wow, what a wonderful and lovely idea and gift.

I've never heard of this wax before. Of course, I am new to beading.

Happy Thanksgiving week ~ FlowerLady

Catherine p said...

Such a lovely idea and so very thoughtful of you.

denise said...

A sweet gift, a great idea and beautiful presentation.

gracie said...

How absolutely marvelous...

Brenda @ Its A Beautiful Life said...

Dee-lightful! Wow, love your idea. Exquisite.

Thanks for sharing this with us today...
Brenda

Masha E said...

Fantastic idea for a gift!

Kelly aka STITCHNMOMMA said...

What a lovely and thoughtful gift! :)

wendy said...

The perfect gift! How beautiful. How long did it take to set up? I'm going to search for the wax, I had a couple things I wanted to try but wasn't sure how it would work. Thank you for sharing! Your ideas never cease to amaze me!!

Lisa Boni said...

You've brought your wonderful way of pulling things together into this lovely little gift for your stitching friends! I usually use beeswax or Thread Heaven, but since I have some micro-crystaline wax sitting around from some candle making, I'll have to give it a try!

Gerry Krueger said...

This is whole new world....I always love the things you. You are the best gift giver EVER!!!

Marsha said...

So very nice. I use beeswax and if the iron is on, run the thread over the iron. I will have to try this wax. You are so creative.

Related Posts with Thumbnails