The Bluffs, Bar Harbor, Maine; April 28, 2014 (Beachcombing series No.75a & b)

photographs and text by Jennifer Steen Booher of Quercus Design

©Jennifer Steen Booher

Time traveling again, way way back to April 28. Fortunately, I took notes while beachcombing, so I can tell you it was cold out on the Bluffs, overcast with a stiff north wind and rough seas. A few gulls gathered overhead, probably curious about whether I had found anything tasty in the wrack. Over on Instagram I’ve been sharing the process of composing a still life, and I’ll summarize it for you here. (I’ve fallen in love with Instagram and started sharing  works-in-progress over there. If you’re on IG, leave your user name in the comments and I’ll come find you!)

First, I dumped out the bag of rinsed and dried flotsam onto my light table, and freaked out a bit at the impossibility of ever organizing it:

©Jennifer Steen Booher

When in doubt, apply logic – I sorted out the different materials like metal, wood, shells, plastic:

©Jennifer Steen Booher

And that led to sorting by color, which led to the Rainbow Organizational Strategy (aka Unicorn Vomit):

©Jennifer Steen Booher

Which led very very slowly to the final composition at the top of the post. And then I swept everything off the light table and did this, because why not?

©Jennifer Steen Booher

Ingredients of the first photo: Dog Whelks (Thais lapillus), granite and other beach stones, Waved whelk (Buccinum undatum), Moon Snail (Lunatia heros) , Common Periwinkles (Littorina littorea), Knotted Wrack (Ascophyllum nodosum), Lobster tail (Homarus americanus), balloon tail, lobster trap tag, sea glass, sea brick, lobster-claw bands, plastic-coated wires, mysterious thing that might be computer-innards, fishing-industry tag, European Green Crab shells (Carcinus maenas), plastic tail-light fragment, fragment of styrofoam cup, unidentified styrofoam bit, plastic shotgun wadding, Blue Mussel (Mytilus edulis), wire, aluminum soda can top, weird chunk of heavy rubbery material.

Ingredients of the second photo: European Green Crab shells (Carcinus maenas), lobster-claw band, plastic tail-light fragments, plastic-coated wire, beach stones, Common Periwinkles (Littorina littorea), sea brick, Lobster tail (Homarus americanus), mysterious thing that might be computer-innards, Rock Crab (Cancer irroratus), lobster trap tag, mysterious thing that might be computer-innards, balloon tail,  sea glass, fishing-industry tag.