I explore the Pacific Mussel shell because I love its strong blue, sienna, and white ridged exterior. Sometimes a beautifully shaped shell is accented by barnacles like white stars in a night sky. Growth ridges suggest spirals of galaxies. The highest point is often worn down to a silvery moon or lacy  foam.  The lines circle out like waves on a topographical map.   Inside the concave shape, are delicate iridescent colors,  polished and elegantly delineated by a baroque curve of purple.   Romantically, each shell grows as a pair and each pair is individual;  one half will not fit to any other than its own mate. They mold themselves to fit their surroundings. (Moule in French means mold as well as mussel.)   Open, they form a heart shape. I have been using the mussel motif for continued exploration since college.  It's become a metaphor for myself. It represents protection. At home at the edge of the sea, in the frolicking waves, but securely attached to rock by strong threads. The shape is full of gentle motion. In Alaska, I saw one half floating on a calm sea.  Was it lost or out for adventure?  That frail yet strong shell floats like a canoe, dances in the waves, and transforms into a crescent moon in my art.