Mary Becker: Sailor's Valentine: Coming Up for Air


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Mary Becker

Sailor's Valentine: Coming Up for Air

Found Objects, Seashells, Beads, Wood, Papers

13" X 8" X 4"


Inspired by the “Sailors’ Valentines” of the 1830s to early 1900s, the sea and seashells took over Becker's home art studio in the Spring and Summer 2021. An elaborate, symmetrical mosaic crafted from seashells, sailors often purchased them from the tourist trade in Barbados (also their last port of call) or constructed their own to possess secret letters of love or their special daguerreotypes. Constructed using antique holy water fonts from 1800 Germany (or France) and antique handmade lace and embroidered appliqués, Becker’s sailor’s valentines are joyful expressions of survival and getting on with what lies ahead. Holy water is healing and purifying and pervades every religion and most cultures. For Becker, this is a symbolic connection as the entire world religiously washed its hands for the last year and a half. Our voyage on our sea of troubles was coming into safe harbor. Life was returning to a semblance of normalcy.