The Art of Capiz

Feature

Friday, July 12, 2013

In the Philippines, seashells are more than souvenirs. Jocelyn Gonzales explains the history and craft of capiz, a species of bivalve shell widely used in design. Traditionally used in mosaic and religious sculpture, capiz has been incorporated into household decorations and jewelry. Ester Andaya, who grew up in the Philippines, remembers capiz artwork as a luxury item, but she later decorated her New Jersey home with capiz.  “It reminds me of the beautiful houses in the Philippines that the rich people have,” Andaya says.

Today, the craft is no longer practiced just in the Philippines. Gwen Carlton, an American designer, uses the delicate shells in a line of handmade light fixtures and chandeliers called Hydromedusa (which is actually the scientific name for jellyfish) that tinkle faintly.  “I think that people are really struck by this material” she says. “They love the sound of them.”

 (Originally aired: July 05, 2003)

 

Slideshow: Capiz shell art

Courtesy of Pool New York

Installation of a capiz shell curtain by Gwen Moss.

Glen Andaya

Flower arrangement made of capiz shells.

Glen Andaya

Chandelier made from dyed capiz shells.

Glen Andaya

Jewelry box made of capiz shells.

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Contributors:

Jocelyn Gonzales

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