Unique shell and seaweed art by Katie Rigby in Cornwall


Katie Rigby

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Katie Rigby


Average item review
5 out of 5 stars

About ShoreThingsArt

Sales 29
On Etsy since 2016


Tell us a little about yourself and your history with art and all things creative.

Most people who know me well would describe me as frighteningly organised – maybe that is reflected in my art, trying to put the chaos and beauty of nature into order! I have always been creative, I was lucky enough to have a very inspirational Art teacher who challenged and motivated me. I’m always making things - it’s my happy place; from pampas grass wreaths, to oyster candles, to Christmas crackers, seaweed pressings and of course, the shell art.

How did the shell art come about?

We converted the garage when we moved house six years ago, and needed a large piece of art for a wall space. Unable to agree upon anything we saw, I decided to make a huge piece of shell art for ourselves with over 1000 shells on it. I had great feedback from friends and family who wanted one for themselves and it grew from there.

Tell us about the process of creating your shell art. How long does each piece take?

There will be numerous trips to the beach, looking for prefect pieces to frame. We are often on the beach – it’s hardly a chore! It’s been really interesting noticing the changes in the shells over the years; when there are lots to find, when there are slim pickings, and how individual beaches offer up different types of shells and colours. So one piece will have shells from many different excursions to vary the specimens. They will come back to the studio, be washed and dried, some filled with silicone, then the laying out process takes place. I really enjoy that part, its very mindful. There’s always only one cowrie on each piece; cowrie hunting is a popular thing to do on the beaches down here and it’s always a buzz when you find one! The larger ones then go off to the framers for framing. Depending on the size, each piece will take between two to five days in the studio.

Tell us about your connection with the North Cornish coast.

I grew up in Kent but always loved Cornwall – my grandfather was from here but left to work in Norfolk. I remember coming to Polzeath for a holiday with friends in my twenties and saying I’d move here like a shot, then in my thirties met my husband through work and we decided to relocate down here in 2003 to be closer to his family and the sea. The internet was just taking off making remote working more viable. It was an idyllic start to our life together; living in a chocolate box fisherman’s cottage overlooking the sea.

What is your most interesting beach find?

Without a doubt my first and only #legolostatsea find last summer during a beach clean. A cargo ship called the Tokyo Express bound for New York was hit by a freak wave off the coast of Cornwall in Feb 1997, spilling 62 containers into the sea, one of them filled with nearly 5 million pieces of Lego. The lego still washes up to this day, but with all the time I’ve spent beach combing I’d never come across any – until last summer! Some of the lost Lego was a diving set and I found a yellow spear gun.

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Last updated on 22 May, 2018
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