DECORATIVE ART FROM SEA AND BEACH
SHELLMAN IS TWO SHELL MEN
Shellman is actually two shell men – step dad and step son. Mikael Hjärtsjö left a career as a creative writer in advertising and his stepson Buster Eriksson made a sharp turn from Apple. Fingers had been itching to do tactile stuff and both decided to pursue a new career together, as shell artists. In their organized studio they create unique shell art with a close attention to details.
By chance Mikael had met young shell artist Niels Van Alphen in Amsterdam in 2011. ”I was totally intrigued by his work".
Years later, when Niels decided to do other things in life, he remembered Mikael as one of his more enthusiastic supporters.
”Niels got in touch with me and asked if I wanted to carry on the Shellman tradition. I did. In 2018, after I had learned the basic craft and intricate details in his Amsterdam studio, Shellman was eventually passed on in succession from Sydney-based shell artist Paul Bruce via Niels who became both our tutor, mentor and a dear friend.”
A week into that intense learning experience, Buster came to hang out for a few days on his hitch hiking trip from Morocco to India. He too, liked what he saw and decided to tag along on this journey among the treasures from sea and beach. India is still waiting for him.
Just like shells, every Shellman piece is unique – no two are alike. The mood of the day and inspiration from nature, music, pop culture or world events can set us off in any direction. Anything and everything is possible. We strongly believe in an open mind – immediate dismissal of stupid ideas is a no-no. Our inspiration is often reflected in the names we give every piece, like Black Holes, Purple Haze or Mussel Puzzle. Or Autumn Walk, Pink Trilogy and Oval Decisions.
Shells from near and far
The shells we use are abundant or common. We collect cockles, mussels and other shells from our local shores and we partner with local restaurants to reuse their “waste” oyster shells. All other shells we buy only from reliable sources. Production is toxic-free.
A CONVERSATION PIECE
When an empty space needs a jaw dropping conversation piece, a Shellman artwork guarantees attention. Our handcrafted works fit both traditional and contemporary interiors: private homes of course, and hotels, restaurants, offices, hairdressers, eyewear shops and exclusive fashion stores. It can be a shell mirror, a sculpture or other exclusive shell items.
Size and style, colors and complexity, shape, shine and the “shell topography” vary, but the creative quality is equally high in all Shellman pieces.
Whether we create free-form organic or strictly patterned pieces, high ambitions always guide our craftsmanship: good enough is not enough.
We collaborate with interior designers and decorators. In close dialogue we develop unique works and site-specific installations for private homes or public areas. Among the clients so far are Michelin-star restaurants, countryside estates and private homes.
FOUR SHELLMAN STYLES
These are the Shellman signature pieces: an intricate mix of shells. A free-form frame evolves organically on the work table over days and weeks. Putting each shell in place is a decision itself.
Shellman loves to work with the expressive and intensely pink barnacles. The studio has presented a number of different wall- and free-standing sculptures that have become very popular.
These frames are based on an initial idea. The shells best suited for the vision are chosen and carefully sorted by size, shape and color. Work begins and the rest is ”just” repetition until it’s all done.
Blue mussels set Shellman off on a new path to explore – the shell flow.
A big part of the process is carefully selecting the right shapes and sizes for a perfect flow. Once the shells are chosen, the work is an eye-catching result.
A MEDITATIVE PROCESS
They say patience is a virtue. They’re right; shells are put in place one by one, by hand, for days and weeks and as hours pass we are disconnected from the passage of time.
There are generally two different processes:
With our free-form organic pieces it’s all about creative flow. We don’t sketch on paper, we just do. It all happens organically, in our minds and on the work table. The only two things we consider beforehand is size and color nuance.
The strictly patterned works demand a different approach. We develop a basic idea (still no paper sketch) and start sorting out the shells best suited for it. When we have that down the rest is “just” repetitive work until it’s done.
Your own shells
Do you have shells from your vacations just sitting in glass jars or trapped in drawers or boxes? If you want them to go up on your wall as part of a free-form shell mirror, we can do it for you. Talk to us!
Get in touch, follow or visit
+46 72 303 93 01
+46 70 667 99 86
Karl Johans gata 10
252 57 Helsingborg
Get the Shellman catalog
The digital Shellman Catalog is continuously updated with pictures, measures, prices and other relevant information. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, state your country of residence and it will be in your inbox a.s.a.p.
Buying a Shellman piece
You can either buy straight from the Shellman catalog or commission your own piece with reference to what you see during a visit to our studio or when browsing through the catalog. Contact us! Or you can buy a Shellman piece from one of our partners.
Shellman is based in Helsingborg, south Sweden. If you’re nearby you’re welcome to visit our studio by appointment. Get in touch and let us know in advance.