Like many people, over the years we have accumulated many things.
One thing we have collected is a box full of art and craft materials from various projects in the past, so during a lockdown sort out, we discovered some old air-dried clay, unused, plus a packet of clay crafting materials. Originally it was bought to make Christmas decorations, but being too busy at the time it never got used. It’s sat in a box for about three years, so we were not hopeful it could still be used.
Opening the packet, the clay inside was a little hard, but with perseverance and a little water we gently coaxed it back into life. Missing the sea and the little harbours we embarked on a project of creating little boats, some seaside houses and a lighthouse. Our crafting kit was fairly basic, but all we needed from it was the rolling pin and a cutting tool and using a tiny ruler from a geometry set, we started to create the little sailing fleet.
Working with clay, even old clay is very therapeutic, and as the little boats emerged, our thoughts turned to happier times visiting our favourite seaside villages. Once we had created the boats, we made very simple houses and a lighthouse. At the last minute we remembered to make a tiny hole at the top of each item so we could hang them up!
Leaving to dry on baking paper on an old tray we waited with nervous anticipation in case they cracked. The next day they were still intact and we painted them quickly with white acrylic paint to seal them before any cracks appeared and reinforced the join of the sails to the hull with masking tape.
Another day passed before we completed the painting on both sides and finally we had our little scene.
At Christmas we had bought a little white tree which had been too fragile to pack away with the other decorations, but now was bought back to life by us hanging all the little seaside items on its branches. It now sits happily in the corner of the lounge. If you were making the same, a branch could also be used.
Safety note: We wouldn’t recommend using this as a mobile for a baby, or small children, as if it fell the clay would be dangerous.
As we look back on this period of lockdown this will be one of our happier memories, bridging the gap between the freedom of our past and our hopes for the future.