Jodi McGaharan, the Coquillage Artist

Maggie McGaharan, JMJ, Staff Writer

Jodi McGaharan is not only an ODA parent, but a coquillage artist as well. Coquillage,was started in France during the late 1600’s, is the art of ornamentation of furniture and items using shells.

Jodi started making her own coquillage after seeing a piece in one of her decorating magazines. “I was so impressed and enthralled by the beauty of it, the art form, that I decided I would undertake learning it,” she said

A piece of coquillage can take anywhere from four hours to fifty hours, depending on the size and complexity of the piece. Jodi started coquillage by making a small mirror for her daughter, Blair. Since then, Jodi has made large mirrors, boxes, and dressers, as well as many other various pieces. Jodi says her favorite things to make are furniture. She said, “I enjoy making furniture. It’s very beautiful when it’s done”.

Besides coquillage, Jodi takes pleasure in painting landscape and still-lifes as well as making jewelry. Jodi is getting a lot of exposure through the internet. She says she’s glad people are rediscovering coquillage through her, even though it’s an old French art form. When asked if she had anything to say to any future coquillage artists, Jodi’s advice was “read the history of coquillage and understand how and where it began. Have an appreciation for the art. And then just begin. There’s no set rules.”