A talented, North Yorkshire based designer is at the forefront of the renaissance in the use of sea shells as an architectural finish and interior decoration. She offers a unique textural alternative for wall covering. Linda Fenwick creates bespoke shell work for both private and commercial clients.
Linda offers a complete design and installation service, in conjunction with her expert joinery and technical team, to ensure that each project is in perfect keeping with its surroundings and is built to last. Lighting and electrical systems can be incorporated, which will allow the iridescent and opalescent qualities of the shells to glisten and sparkle to produce a unique and wondrous environment. Linda’s interior design services can add all the soft furnishings, furniture, flooring and accessories to perfectly complement any project. Commercial properties, such as health spas, hotels and restaurants can be beautifully enhanced by her individually designed installations, from lavish picture frames, shell panel pictures and intimate alcoves to luxurious rooms in their entirety or even stunning exterior features.
The shell’s myriad of colours, natural lustre and curvaceous form has inspired mankind’s creative instincts from the mists of time. The shell has always been closely associated to beauty and in the 18th and 19th centuries, the use of shells to decorate walls and ceilings with intricate patterns reached its pinnacle, gracing the likes of the sumptuous New Palace of Frederick the Great and the fascinating follies of the great British landowners. Sadly, there are currently only a couple of hundred historic shell houses surviving today.
In the 21st century, this art has been recaptured and advanced by shell artist, Linda, who both restores surviving historic shell houses to their former glory and undertakes new works with painstaking precision and inspiring imagination.
Yorkshire based designer Linda Fenwick grew up in Texas and enthusiastically collected shells from beaches in Florida from an early age. Initially Linda used her vast collection of shells for enhancing personal decorations and objects such as mirrors and boxes. However her love of the art and her eye for creative design led her to greater desires looking for more challenging projects.
“Each project is a huge pleasure to me – the drawings, laying out of shells, pasting, the installation and then the thrill of seeing it all come together and how the finished shell work creates an ethereal, calming, texturally pleasing atmosphere.”
Linda moved to the UK and lived in London for a while, moving north almost 17 years ago. At Linda’s country home near Castle Howard in North Yorkshire the garden holds a rare treasure, a beautiful and unique summer house located in the garden, close to the house. A delightful place used for dining, entertaining and relaxing. Using her in-depth knowledge and experience of art, interior design and architecture, Linda decided to design and build the shell house. The structure was built using rendered breeze blocks and supports a timber roof, the interior uses Linda’s shell work to complete all the walls and ceiling. Expert Joiner Colin Thomas who works alongside Linda built bespoke panels ready to be fixed to the wall and ceiling areas. Linda applied her shell work to each panel, inspired by Georgian patterns and using a variety of shell types to get the correct colours and textures, the end result was stunning.
Linda continuously sketches new designs and ideas as they come to mind and at every opportunity then uses the most suitable patterns to transform objects and surfaces into magnificent works of art. The process begins with the collection of shells, most of which are gathered from holidays and from friends. Linda’s favourite sources are the Beach Comber shop in the coastal town of Bridlington and Online Shells. Nothing in Linda’s collection is wasted and any broken unusable pieces are used in the paths around Linda’s herb garden. Next all the shells need to be washed carefully and followed with a polish using olive oil. All the shells are sorted into type, size and colour and stored in her studio located in the
grounds of her home. Linda selects specific shells for each design and applies them to custom made panels ready for fixing; alternatively the shells are applied direct to the object or furniture item. Linda uses swimming pool adhesive to fix the shells to the panels which are then simply screwed into position on the wall or ceiling. The custom panels can be made to any size; however for transportation purposes each project is assessed case by case by Linda and her expert team.
Some of the more common shell types used in Linda’s shell designs include Dog Conches, Cowries, Abalones, Razor Clams, Scallops, Mussels, Pearl Trochus and Star Limpets. Lighting can also be incorporated in designs, in Linda’s summer house 500 small LED lights were used to give the impression of stars. This effect at night time events such as dinner parties sets a wonderful ambience.
Linda has received commissions from all over the UK and abroad and after her recent exhibition on the Isle of Wight, Linda has seen a significant increase in demand for this type of design work. A recent installation has taken place in a Greek restaurant in Halifax, West Yorkshire, a stately home near Selby, North Yorkshire and also some of Linda’s work can be seen in the window of Jane Churchill Interiors on Pimlico Road in London. Her most recent commission is for a bar and dining area in a private home on the island of Mustique in the Caribbean.
Shell panels are suited to both walls and ceilings and shells can also be used in alcoves, fireplaces, around windows, in pediments above doors and in existing or custom-made panelling. Applications can be made to almost any object or item of furnishing and can be used in residential properties or are perfectly suited to restaurants, hotels, health spas and many more high quality, design specification led projects.
Contact Linda for more information about her shell design work and commissions.
Tel. 01653 648470 Email. contact(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)lindafenwickshelldesign.com