Sand and Shells Are the Main Ingredients of This Artist’s Work, and It’s Making Waves

Anna Chan, a trained jeweler and designer by trade, uses beautiful seashells in different colors and textures on a bed of sand to create captivating works of art. A detailed portrait of a fierce lion or a penguin mother with its baby chick — Anna has the power to create emotion through her sculptures. Luckily, the artist answered a few burning questions we’ve had about her craft — keep reading to get the scoop.

When we first saw the charming art of Anna Chan, all of us at Bright Side couldn’t wait to share it with you.

When describing her work process, Anna told Bright Side that every piece is different, inspired either by the shells she has gathered or by an idea. “I go beachcombing for the appropriate shells; sometimes the type of shell I gathered doesn’t work with the piece, then I have to go back to the drawing board.”

Anna is very inspired by sand as a medium. She claims it’s unlike anything she’s ever worked with, so many possibilities and so little has been explored. She is “looking forward to breaking all the boundaries of what we think this medium can do and giving it the same respect we have for clay, wood, stone, and metal.”

Anna Chan said, “I started collecting moon snails last summer and through the months, I kept looking at them, wondering what context I could put them in that would give them a fresh spin. The ah-ha moment came when I was scrolling through Instagram and saw a paper cut out of a sheep and the artist used curled paper for the fur. Looking back it seems so obvious but I was puzzled by it for a few months.”

The artist describes that she is “always inspired by how other creative people interpret their ideas and the techniques they use to express themselves. It helps my mind stay flexible and open to possibilities so I am not stuck in one dimension. There is nothing more boring than repetition and creating the same thing over and over.”

We really wanted to know what Anna Chan’s quest for finding shells looks like and she revealed that she is lucky to live close to many beaches and each one has different types of seashells. We found her description of it really charming — she described it as being almost like shopping, in that she knows which beach to go to for a specific type of shell.

Anna’s daughter, pictured here with the octopus sculpture, is also a part of the creative process.

Which sculpture speaks to you? Will you try making a seashell sculpture on your next vacation on a sandy beach? Share your best sand sculptures with us!

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