I am a super positive person. I absolutely love what I do. But I want to be honest and share all sides of the installation journey, and it’s not always sunshine and beaches. Building this shell installation is hard. Specifically, it’s physically challenging for me. I live with multiple chronic illnesses, some of which cause chronic pain. Shockingly, stooping over 2,000 times to pick up shells on the beach totally pissed off my muscles and joints. I’ve explained to my crazy hip pain that I’m done collecting shells and have moved on to painting, but my hip is still holding a grudge. Since I’m unable to tolerate pain medications (another pesky chronic illness makes me allergic to them) I have to find creative solutions to endure and push through. Currently that list includes ice packs, stretches, ginger candy, a heating pad, wiener dog snuggles, meditation, decaf lattes, mantras, hugs, good posture, and sheer determination (AKA I’m totally stubborn when it comes to overcoming this bull@#$%).
I enjoyed a beautiful sunset on the last official shell hunt for this installation. I did not so much care for the cold water spilling into my boots when a giant rogue wave caught me off guard.
Repetitive motions are especially challenging for me, so of course I’ve chosen a project that requires over 15,000 of them. Have I mentioned I love a challenge? Painting becomes painful after about 20 shells, so I’m tricking my brain and my body by changing positions and switching sides as I paint. And it’s working. I can paint over 200 shells in a day and not wanna die afterwards. That’s a massive success in my world.
My bin system has proved invaluable for keeping all the completed shells organized. When it’s time to start attaching shells to lines, I’ll be all set.
I get really happy every time I add more shells to a bin. It’s so exciting to progress through phases of this project and keep moving forward to the final goal!
Here is the official countdown as of today:
And finally, to anyone overcoming chronic illness and accomplishing your goals, you are a total rockstar. As we say in my house, “I’m gonna big fat do it anyway.”