Blue-8: NATURE

The blue story

Chapter 4: part 2: NATURE
by Daria Lanz

I stumbled in my front door, fresh off the plane after a 2 week hiatus in Japan. I was exhausted—jet-lagged from the 8 hour difference, my body didn’t know what it was supposed to feel anymore. I clumsily pulled my overweight suitcases into my room and abandoned them on the floor. On my bed was the next package, looking banged and bashed up, ready for me to open.

I forgot my exhaustion, and immediately opened the parcel.

The post hadn’t been kind. The inside contents had taken as much a beating as the outside had. The whole thing was smashed. (Thanks Canada Post/Royal Mail)


I couldn’t even tell what it was supposed to be, most of the form was gone. I could see sand, shells, wool, and clay that had been painted sparkly purple—all wrapped up in a blue-patterned piece of material.

So. The word.

What was it? What word had Elise chosen to inspire this sandy, crumbling piece of once-beauty that now looked like an elementary school art project gone wrong?

Sand. Shells. Clay. Wool. Some sparkly purple paint. Smashed into bits. And some blue-patterned material.

Aside from the purple paint, all these things reminded me of the beach—of back home on West coast Canada where Elise and I grew up. I could imagine gathering bits of found debris from the shore, and bringing them back to mould them into something beautiful. I used to do this as a kid.

I miss the beach. I miss the nature from back home. I miss the sound of the ocean waves washing back and forth on the sand—back and forth, back and forth, back and forth.

Kind of like this project. Back and forth we go, from one word to the next, one project to the next, one post office to the next.

So there we have it: Nature.


I took apart the smashed bits and glued them down to a big sheet of A2. I glued the fabric down, creating a crinkled pattern for the tide, and then I inked and watercoloured in the missing bits: shells, water, sand, seaweed.


I focused a lot of my attention getting the blue colours right, fading into the beige sand. I wanted to replicate the foamy, bubbling thing water does as it washes up and down the tide. I painted some dark purples around the edge of all the glued-on clay, and red around the shells I drew on. I used the difference in colours here to make the distinction between what was taken from the first piece Elise did (i.e. all the clay bits and real shells), and what I added in this second round (all the illustrations). Both the red and purple compliment the blue and beige colours of the ocean and sand. I used the purple against Elise’s clay, pulling at the purple sparkle paint that was on the original piece.

The Alan Watts quote was the icing on the cake, developing from the last piece I made: Patterns. I love how the words are starting to wash away, like the messages written in sand do as the tide comes in.

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