Sheryl Oppenheim

Shell Pattern Necklace is comprised of twenty-four sheets of marbled paper made using the shell pattern. Shell marbling is a variation on the stone pattern, which is created by holding a paint-dipped brush over the marbling bath and tapping it gently so that small drops of paint fall into the tray, spreading out to create a pattern reminiscent of stone. The shell variation calls for the addition of oil to the paint, which creates the effect of a halo around each drop and a concentration of color in the center. 

Each sheet of paper is made from a single pigment, using a 19th century recipe for marbling paint. The book is arranged to create a rainbow made from pure pigments. The book is an exercise in observing the inherent properties of color, texture, and behavior of each pigment in its raw form. The unique structure of the book, a reinforced accordion which is held together at the spine by six individual necklace clasps, allows the book to be safely read and handled in standard book form. Unclasped, the book may be stood up and stretched end to end, becoming a sculpture (or “necklace”) long enough to adorn a room. The book includes a sewn-in letterpress pamphlet with the pigments listed in the order they are used, along with an essay by Oppenheim on art and chemistry.

This title is held in the collections of: 
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Ringling College
University of Miami
The School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University

Production Details 

6.625 × 9.375 in / 8.625 × 12 in
Leporello and pamphlet-bound
14k gold-filled 6-chain spine with clasps
48pp hand-marbled paper + 6pp letterpress pamphlet
Custom case enclosure/cradle


Variable Edition of 4 small books + 1AP
and 2 large books
Published by Small Editions
Bound by Sarah Smith 
Design and typesetting by Isobel Chiang