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C.Ward - Bankside, The Thames
Phil Vernon - Magic Cove
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The Thames swiftly moving tide & impending storm meant I had to work fast to arrange the shell pieces. I had no choice for the weather nor the time of the tide, but was lucky on both counts.

It was fortunate that the sky was overcast.

My choice to lay the pieces into symbolic designs of the working class Pearly Kings & Queens of London was fitting for several reasons…

On an obvious level the dress of these decorated working class people was with pearly shell buttons. The practise of applying these decorations started in Victorian North London, and gained much popularity with the working class from both sides of the Thames river.

Not
, as often assumed, just by the folk from the East End of London.

The arrangement, designed in a crown, was for
the varying reasons that the anniversary of their founder falls almost on the same date as the Queen's Golden Jubilee Celebrations this year and has been for decades the most popular symbol appliquéd to the outfits.


“The City Ward’s Pearly Queen”
Karolle Wall - Kitsilano, Vancouver
I've played with the Alluvium.
Today I went and put some down on
the wild beach just past Kits pool.
I wrote "Let It Be" in the sand with the bits and
pieces. I sat about 30 ft away and read for a
few hours and watched people's interactions.
Old people got it more than young.
Nobody touched it, though.
Only dogs ran through it.

It's in an interesting place -- right below a walking, running path. I'd like to tape record the people as they walk by. Glimpses of their lives, cultures.

I took slides when I first did it and then I went down about an hour before high tide to see what was left, what  would happen,
and took more slides.

"Let it Be" just washed away.

I thought, if I had more, I could spell
"Play with me"  in the sand and see if
people had a different reaction.
Or "touch me" or "take me home."
Or "I'm Yours!" or "Kiss Me."

                                                 
- Karolle Wall
The horizon is far but not impossible.
This morning at about 10 a.m. I scattered the pieces of shell at a common yet special spot,
Willows Beach. As you know, I have made designs with buttons, which the shells remind me,
and when I received your package I thought, Wow! I could make a design in concrete or attach them to fabric or arrange them in the sand or.....!  and caught myself entering the "I have to make this more complicated than
needs be" zone.    Although, letting go is itself difficult. 
So, with unexpected time available I rode my bike to Willows which is our everyday-kind-of-beach but which is remarkably wonderful and full of memories of young children and summer days and will be a favourite stop
for time to come.

I am at a time in my life of conscious change and searching.  This beach is also a place of change. 
The tide was high, the weather calm, the sky  patchy grey with sun reaching through a cloud bank.
I stood on a semi-submerged log near the shore and scattered the shells to the water.

I am in a reflective mood these days and know in my bones that I'm getting
closer to what I am looking for.  So  releasing the shells felt akin to
allowing some oracle to read them as they fall.  And feeling content with that.

- Wendy Wasilewski
I called the place Magic Cove
the first time I came,
over thirty years ago,
for the first time discovering
this haiku of a beach, where the full, un-tempered power of the Pacific is met and held,  by rock arms and a steep breast of beach whose every
sand-grain is a shiny pebble,
worthy itself of wonder.

I had no doubt of the place where
I would leave these shell incantations.
Of course, things didn't work out quite
the way I thought.

I set out the shells on the sand,
expecting my design to be met by the sea, rearranged into some sort of new, natural order, which I would then document photographically.  But no, although many
times waves washed to within  inches
of the design, the tide was receding
and would not return to sufficient levels
until the next day, after I was gone.

- Phil Vernon