The concept of NutArt came one fine morning during breakfast. It began with the topic of making charcoal out of the empty coconut shells left from the previous copra making days. We have more then 30 coconut trees in our garden so beside using the nuts for buko we also make the rest into copra (dried coconut meat). The leftover from the copra making are the coconut shells which are usually made into charcoal (coconut charcoal is so clean and pure so it is used for many filter applications).
Michael reflected on the sturdiness and durability of the coconut shell (or “bao” as it is locally called). He said “sure, making it into charcoal is just but logical but is that all there is to it?” Being Pinay, I said, “There sure are!” (thinking of the Philippine maglalatik folk dance where male dancers use them as costumes and the many souvenir items sold at markets). Michael was driving at something which I could not yet pinpoint, “Yes, but what about painting on it?” I recall looking at him blankly then. My paradigms were stuck to the maglalatik dance and the smiling faces drawn on polished coconut shell bags. I simply had no idea of what he was talking about.
Michael definitely had an idea but did not know how to explain it. So, he decided to draw a series of doodles on our table napkins just to show me how painting in a coconut shell would look like. Upon which he concluded to call it “NutArt.” And that was it.
As we got to know our medium (the coconut shell), we noticed that every individual shell has its own characteristic thickness and texture. Having gone through the fire baking during the copra making, each shell has been automatically cleaned of any rot-causing microbes even before we do the inside and out side sanding/polishing of the shells. Constant care is spent in sorting out those shells which show hairline-thin cracks or unwanted grooves. After the careful selection comes the step of polishing the shell. This takes a lot of time and dexterity. Only well polished shells can serve as the “canvas” for the paintings and get a prime coating. Then everything is hand-painted using top-quality acrylics.
A lot of scrutiny still comes after that and only when both of us (especially Michael’s) give it our thumbs up then the final painting is sprayed with a special fixative. This, as the final layer/sealant, ensures a water resistant, non-gloss and color-fast product. Every NutArt shell is provided with a stand. Michael designed it with an ingenious adjustable viewing-angle feature so the shell can either be placed on a table/cabinet surface or hung on the wall. These stands, by the way, are also assembled by hand.
We hope you continuously peek once in a while in this blog and get to see what we (in our humble way) have co-created with her! And if you feel you’d love to have one---then, they can be yours too! Just send us an email for details. Thank you very much.
Click: ViewPoint House Retreat
(our little paradise)