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  • Writer's pictureSarah McCartney

lego and plastacine chaos … then two weeks on Bryher

There’s a bit of chaos in the garage tonight. Over the last week when I have found a bit of time I have been casting a few pebbles, a shell and a heart urchin using a bit of silicone I had left from the big cube.


I filled the heart urchin with plaster as it was so delicate, then coated it in shellac. Wasn’t really sure whether the silicone would stick to it.

Only after I’d poured the moulds did I realise I’d forgotten to spray the release agent on the silicone ice cube trays I’d used for the pebbles and shell. The lego is fine but silicone sticks to silicone. So tonight I had to cut them out, green ice cube tray firmly attached.

Then out in the dark I’ve been pouring plaster. I’m waiting for them to set now.

meanwhile …I’m gathering a big box of art stuff together and preparing boards to take on our annual family holiday to Bryher, Isles of Scilly. We sail on the Scillonian on Saturday and I hope the sea is kind to me as I am a poor sailor. Maybe we will see a few dolphins or some basking sharks. The way I survive the trip is to stay on deck, keep watching the sea whatever the weather and get lost looking for dolphins, shearwaters and storm petrols. Oh and I take drugs.

Its a holiday but I am really looking forward to doing lots of painting and drawing. Last year I had a small sketchbook and did a painting/drawing a day.

This year I will do a similar thing but take a bigger sketchbook and also primed boards. The colours are stunning and as I am forced to paint outside because we camp, its quite a wild experience. No cosy watching the weather through my window as I paint. I’ll be out there in it, wrapped up and clinging to my brolly.

One of the best things is not having a computer and there being very limited signal on my phone. I will turn my phone off, bury it in the bottom of my rucksack and by the end of the holiday hopefully I will have forgotten why I need it. Nothing to do but spend time with my family, swim in the sea and wander the beaches looking for shells and curious things.

This is a live heart urchin. I found it in the shallows between Bryher and Tresco last year on a very low tide. I have found many of the delicate shells and tonight I have cast one in plaster. They have been the inspiration for a drawing, a print and a sculpture. But this was the first time I’d ever seen a live one.

… so here it is – my first plaster heart urchin fresh out of the mould and still warm in my hand!

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