The gravel and shell mural arose from the gift of a bag of blue aquarium gravel from a friend who knew I liked to find novel ways of upcycling. After a few months I was close to admitting defeat when I was offered another bag of the gravel and then a rather over-the-top ‘dream catcher’, made up of hundreds of tiny shells:
Immediately thinking along the lines of a grotto or something with water, a ramble round the garden reminded me of the vacant space on the back wall of the shed extension, and immediately the concept of a seascape mural was born.
The cladding was removed and exterior plywood cut to fit, of necessity in 3 large pieces and two slim outer pieces, which were painted roughly with 9 different tester paints to provide the background for the application of the gravel and shells:
To judge the potential effect of the gravel and shells I cut and painted several strips of card and blue-tacked them on the background before taking down the plywood, bringing it inside and beginning the actual application:
PVA glue was used to affix the gravel and shells, the latter having conveniently been cut in strips from the dream catcher and the ends secured, and a sprinkling of some leftover Cornish gravel was included to soften the blue. Of necessity this was done with the plywood in a horizontal position; standing the panels upright when the glue was dry brought about a sound reminiscent of one of those ‘rainstick’ musical instruments and a large quantity of loose gravel accumulating on the floor – we shall be sweeping up remnants of this for months to come! Finally, a layer of sealant was applied and the panels refixed as a complete mural. Project Blue-Gravel-and-Shell complete!