mythology & site deering estate
A sailor's valentine is a Victorian-era form of shell craft, a souvenir or sentimental gift made using large numbers of small seashells. Originally made between 1830 and 1890, and they were designed to be brought home from a sailor's voyage at sea and given to the sailor's loved one or loved ones. Typically octagonal, patterns often feature a centerpiece such as a compass rose or a heart design, hence the name, and in some cases the small shells are used to spell out a motto or sentimental message. Here the artist uses her Swedish grandparent’s initials for Alva and Folke, mimicking the tradition of combining initials after marriage, as is used in their linens upstairs.