Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Jurassic Parquet....

I'm a bit obsessed with fossil hunting.  Sadly, I know next to nothing about the actual things I find, apart from the fact that, one, they all crawled, swam, or generally bobbed about on our planet, two, they are all very, very old, and three, some of them should never have been hit with my little yellow fossil hammer.

A trip along the Jurassic coastline at my favourite holiday destination of Whitby in North Yorkshire, always ends with my handbag being weighed down with enough "seaside rock" to pave a municipal carpark. And none of it tastes of mint or is phallus-shaped. Well, belemnites being the exception to the rule.

The ones that have survived my eager hammering in the hope they will spring open to reveal the ultimate ammonite, are safe and sound at home in a big wooden box.  The ones that didn't, are lying in tiny shattered pieces along the coast. I apologise in advance for my small part in North East Yorkshire's coastal erosion.

Conservation issues aside, imagine my excitement when a trip to a local stone mason for some sandstone for our back garden, uncovered a pile of large fossil paving slabs. Not real, sadly, but "fossilly" enough to have me loading up as many as the old Saab's suspension could cope with, before crawling back home up the A30, with the exhaust dragging on the ground.

Once at No. 1 Heatherside Corner, they were installed with enthusiasm in our tiny front garden, before being brushed with wood stain and embedded with grit, to make them look more realistic.

We are in good company, I believe these have been installed at the Eden Project too 
The Mini House doesn't really have a front garden, it has a veranda. But seeing as the fossil slabs are inches away from the real front door, it only seemed right and proper that the Jurassic Coast should come to the Mini House too.

Having (somewhat unsurprisingly, it has to be said), unsuccessfully scoured the web for "dolls house fossil paving slabs", followed by "tiny fossil tiles" I decided I'd resort to the Fimo polymer clay in the loft,  left over from another project.

Only one slight snag. It was bright pink.

I spent three hours after work one evening, rolling up tiny clay balls, then pressing them into the centre of a real (and all in one piece) ammonite, that is set into a large chunk of rock, which my other half bought for my birthday.

Not totally ideal, as they are imprints, not the actual concave shape, but as near as dammit. And more worryingly, the birthday present fossil has been left with a slight candy floss hue, which I'm hoping lovely husband doesn't notice, as even a surreptitious scrubbing with a tooth brush didn't dislodge the last few remnants of cerise Fimo from its crevices...

After baking the tiny, and literally "hot pink", ammonites, I glued them all to a card template, with lashings of wood glue, before sprinkling coarse ground black pepper in the gaps, as gravel, then spraying with, yes, you've guessed it, more of my trusty pewter spray paint, with a dry brush of copper acrylic over the top.

After a bit of a buff with a soft cloth, I think they look rather dandy. However, once the rest of the Mini House is completed I might add more gravel (black pepper) and a few leaves (mixed herbs) to make it look more weather beaten.

And maybe, a small, hopeful figure, in an anorak, with its yellow fossil hammer raised in the air.....

The fossil path takes on a slightly more cobbled appearance than its real counterpart, for now.


  1. Hi Pearly Jones! When I saw a bit of the front stoop in a photo from a later posting of yours, I wondered just what it was and how you had achieved it. I didn't recognize it as fossilized rock then, but now I do. You have done a great job disguising the origins of this species of paving. It really Does look jurassic. :))