Frances Fraser | Sydney Makeup Artist | The Makeup Light Australia | Chronicles of a Makeup Artist

chronicles of a Makeup Artist...

The Shell Project

Chronicles of a Makeup Artist...

What is the shell project and why am I, a Makeup Artist who blogs about beauty suddenly talking about it? I figured these were logical questions that you, my readers would have. The Shell Project or as I call it on social media, #theshellproject is something personal straight from my heart. I know I have a blog that is about all things makeup and beauty but we are, so much more than that. As human beings, we have a life that is so much bigger and encompasses so much more than our shared love of makeup and beauty. I know that the done thing to do on the channels of social media is to make everything look perfect, to have strived for perfection and live in a perfect world. And as much as I would like to do that, it doesn't sit right with me. I am happy to blog about all the beautiful models I work with and talk about my favourite beauty finds but I have to also be real. I have to be the human being that I am and show you that I am not perfect nor is my life. I am like everyone else, we float about the ebbs and flows of good and bad in our lives.

Translated to “golden joinery,” Kintsugi (or Kintsukuroi, which means “golden repair”) is the centuries-old Japanese art of fixing broken pottery with a special lacquer dusted with powdered gold, silver, or platinum. Beautiful seams of gold glint in the cracks of ceramic ware, giving a unique appearance to the piece. This repair method celebrates each artifact's unique history by emphasizing its fractures and breaks instead of hiding or disguising them. Kintsugi often makes the repaired piece even more beautiful than the original, revitalizing it with new life.


So, talking about #theshellproject is me being real, and flawed. In public. I hope by being real with you that it gives you a better reason to feel connected to me, to feel like we are all in this together. I know we are conditioned to never want to talk about the hard things but we all go through trying times so why not? I promise to not make you uncomfortable too often, I will mostly talk beauty stuff here on my blog but I hope you'll forgive the odd dose of realness and hopefully connect with my human side too. The first post I did for #theshellproject on my blog is here if you haven't read it yet and would like to. The shell project has become a personal mission for me to help myself deal with grief. Something that we will all go through at some point. So lets start talking about it. Don't try to sweep your grief under the mat and hope it'll go away. We can deal with it together.

#theshellproject started with five small items that I've had for what feels like forever. They have travelled with me through many homes. Three rocks and two shells. These are a small group of a much larger collection that is essentially all throughout my house. I have shells and stones of all shapes and sizes in every room. They remind me of my childhood that I spent with my Gran because I picked them all up alongside my Gran from every beach, river, park and anywhere really, that we went. Any place I have visited I have brought back a memento. And until now they have been small memory keepers of a time that was long ago that I look at here and there, a small reminder of my time with a loved one.

I miss my beloved Gran very much and all of my loved ones really but because I have been struggling with my grief lately, I have found myself getting distant from these sunny memento's scattered everywhere. They remind me that my heart hurts and my Gran is gone. I see them around me and it has reinforced the hurt that I'm surrounded by. So I've decided to change them back into something positive that will help me to heal. To help myself move forward in my grief. 

I will try to every day, pick up one of the many shells, rocks and crystals I have about my home (my inner sanctuary) and hold it. For a moment in time, I will feel the energy from something that has come from the earth and has its own energy vibration. And I will remember my Gran or whomever is on my mind and send them love. I think remembering our loved ones in a positive way is important to help heal the hurt that is left behind after your loved ones are gone. 

Keeping their memories alive with love will eventually help to ease the overriding sadness. You will always be sad about losing your loved one but you will eventually stop crying. And you will feel the love and positivity that you, yourself are providing. A nourishment of the soul, so to speak. This is my step of learning the self care that I need, particularly when times are tough and grief feels like it is my sole companion. We are here still, living a life on this rock that spins around in an orbit, inside a galaxy that has our sun at its centre and which sits amongst trillions of galaxies, all doing the same. We are still here and at some point when you feel ready, you have to pick up the pieces of yourself and your life and to honour all our beloved angels above, we need to live our life. Thats what your loved one would want. For you to live your life, not just get through it. Of course, when you're caught up in your grief you can only do your best to get through those moments in time. 

Those moments add up and before you know it, a big chunk of time has passed you by and you didn't notice because you have been suspended in a bubble. Life is happening around you constantly and it moves quickly. There are times where I can barely register who I am and what I'm doing because it takes every ounce of my being to focus on keeping my head above water. And life just passes you by which sometimes is fine, you need to focus on yourself but at some point you have to take control of where you are. What you're doing. How you feel. The timeframe of that is up to you. Only you know when the time is right to start to live life again. To allow yourself to move forward. Because at the end of the day, your loved one that you're grieving over would want that. They want you to live and have a life thats full of love and happiness and whatever your heart desires. They want you to be successful in your chosen path, they want you to live in the moment and go where life takes you.

If you never stop living in that suspended bubble of grief, you are never going to celebrate your loved one. You will only encounter sadness instead of happy memories. You need to remember them as they were and the shared love you had and still have. Yes, you have a massive hole in your life that will always be there. It's a sign of how much you loved someone. You can't stop loving because you got hurt. Or because you lost someone who was significant to you. To honour them and their memories you have, to allow yourself to move through your grief and come out the other side. Don't let others tell you what that looks like or how long that takes. We are all different as much as we're all the same. We live, we love, we lose and we start a new chapter. It's the cycle of life and it continues until we too, die.

It's inevitable for each one of us that we will lose someone we care about deeply. We will lose many of them. But instead of wrapping yourself up in a heavy blanket and never love or live again, remember how lucky we were to have loved someone that much. Yes I said LUCKY. Someone made an impact on our lives that hurt us when they were taken away. You are that person to someone else. Don't forget that. What you do, say, think and feel will impact someone else. Quite possibly many people. We have to be there for them too. But first we have to be there for ourselves. We have to give ourselves a little kindness, a little love, a little leeway.

Thats why I started #theshellproject - a little something for myself to remind me that it's ok, I'm ok and everything will be ok. It may not feel that way right now, today but it's a little reminder that it will be. To be able to feel something solid in my hand, a tangible thing that I can hold and for those moments whilst it's in my hand, I can send out love to whomever is on my mind. A small but positive process to help me slowly heal my wounds and to put out something that is the opposite of the hurt I feel everyday. It's a small step forward and something I encourage anyone who is hurting to do it. Take a small step for yourself and your loved one and send out something good into the world of hurt you feel. It takes one small step to make a change in your life. Just one. And then keep doing it. Over and over. I'll be there too, taking my small steps alongside you.

If you feel like you need help or someone to talk to, I have put some links below or please feel free to email me directly here. I hope by talking about grief in a public space we can all start to accept the process of it and feel supported when we are going through it.

Much love and light,




I know that in recent years we have started talking about not picking up the shells from our beaches anymore as it's become detrimental to the ocean environment. It's something that I no longer do because of that. One day I will go and give these pieces back to the seashore but for now they are helping me on my journey.

If you or someone you know needs help, here are a few places that can help (within Australia):

Lifeline or phone 13 11 14

Beyond Blue or phone 1300 22 4636

Headspace Youth Foundation or phone Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800

For those who have suffered the loss of your Mum, this online support group is awesome:

Motherless Daughters Australia

If you are looking for a qualified specialist in your area (within Australia):


Find a clinical Psychologist

If you aren't in Australia, you would be able to google the above in your area to see what is available to you or feel free to email me and I'll see what I can do to find you help. 

Also please check out:

Hope Edelman 

There is a lot of resources on her site and her book I found to be incredibly helpful as a source of hope and understanding in my own grief with the loss of my Mum.