Archive for April, 2011

Blue Ribbon winner Barbara Walling

I started thinking about summer projects this week so I revisited some of my blog photos for inspiration. Bingo! The 74th Sanibel Shell Fair and Show was last month … and it gave me a great idea for both me and you. I thought I’d find out some of the secrets of shell crafting so I asked how 2011 Blue Ribbon and Judges’s Special Award winner Barb Walling made her “Dandelions” piece. We will get to learn every detail of how this piece was made by the artist herself!

Barbara Walling shell crafter

Barb was gracious enough to invite me over to her Sanibel home to see where the magic begins. She first showed me how she organizes her shells that she picks up off the beach after she washes and dries them.organized shells

She categorizes each box or drawer by the shell name. This one is the SEMELE which she uses as the base to the dandelion and most of her shell flowers.

Semele seashell drawer

From here, I’m gonna let her tell you how everything else is done. Sit back, relax and let your imagination roll…

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How ’bout that, huh? Here’s a close up of the SEMELE she talked about ……

Semele seashell drawer closeup


Cross Barred venus Seashell

This is a dead PURPLE SEA URCHIN that washed up on the beach with some of it’s spines still attached.

Crab shell, Urchin, Fig and Sponge

This is a close up of Barb’s SEA URCHIN spines. That’s a lot of SEA URCHINS!

Sea Urchin spines

Thank you so much for the shell craft lesson, Barb! Can’t wait to see what you create for next year’s 75th Anniversary of Sanibel Shell Fair and Show.

Barb Walling ribbons


Imperfect Seashell Creativity

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Reading book on beach

I needed a little shelling pick-me-up yesterday since I’ve had “technical difficulties” in the blog world the last few days. Since the gulf has been a little rough caused by south winds, I thought I might find some goodies at Blind Pass.

Sanibel bare beach Blind Pass

The Sanibel side of Blind Pass was …well, empty of shells. Where’d they go?

Captiva beach erosion

I ran over to the Captiva side to find the beach with even a bigger drop-off than last week. Looked like nothing to me. There were a few people working the ledge but I decided to go back to the east end of Sanibel.

Bob Lucy Linda Captiva

On the way back to the parking lot, I met Bob, Lucy and Linda sorting their shells in the back of their car. I can’t believe they found all of these on that ledge I showed you. It looked bare to me.

blanket shells

Shame on me for not looking a little harder at that ledge. Look at these beautiful shells… and especially that large, perfect LIGHTNING WHELK on the left.

Sanibel beach

The surf was kicking up around the east end of Sanibel but the beach didn’t look like it was piled with shells. Then I started focusing on the wash line a little bit better since I learned my lesson and missed so many at Blind Pass. There were actually some nice shells…… and nice folks.

Sanibel shell Muriel

I met another Sani-Belle on the beach!  I met some of the Sani-Belle sisters and mom Mermaid Ella in January at Blind Pass (Click HERE for the post) so I was tickled to meet sister Sani-Belle Muriel too.

scallops, cross barred venus baby ear cockle

Like I said, there wasn’t a huge wrack of shells on the beach but she was still happy with what she was finding. I guess so! Look at that nice size BABY’S EAR! In her hand from left to right is a SCALLOP, a CARDITA, another SCALLOP, that big beautiful BABY’S EAR, a CROSS BARRED VENUS and a COCKLE.

Mermaid on the rocks

Mermaid Ella

This picture above was taken of Muriel’s 92 year old mom in January when I nicknamed her Mermaid Ella. I wanted to show you this photo again because most of the shells that Muriel and the other Sani-Belles collect are “materials” (that’s what they call the shells) for frames that Mermaid Ella makes. She showed me this one……

seashell frame by mermaid ella

Isn’t that beautiful? Shells don’t have to perfect to be beautiful. Imperfect is just as beautiful if you look at them in a different view like in this frame. This just makes me smile. And I also smile thinking of some other artists that make beautiful decor and jewelry from beach treasures…. perfect or not.

 Endless Sunner is so clever to design wine charms from seashells with holes in them…..

seashell winecharms

Tresor le Mer creates gorgeous pieces of art from beach treasures that someone else might consider to be beach “litter”…..

Tresor seawhip frame

Aptly named, An Imperfect Shell gives us that feeling of just coming off the beach in every design she makes….An Imperfect Shell

I love photography so I love to see how other artists capture the art of seashells. The Coastal Collection presents imperfect seashells in a whole new light….. sepia toned.

Coastal Collection

I also have another artist friend Rhonda from Shellebelle’s Tikihut that collects “drift shells” to make beautiful art frames too.

shellebelle's drift shells

So before I frown again and an “empty” beach, I’m going to remember Mermaid Ella and these other artists who get excited to see bits and pieces of shells on the beach. This is exactly what gets their creative juices flowing for their shellicious decor and jewelry. Thanks yall for the pick-me-up I really needed!

Val's iLS ornament

Val xo


Wiggle Waggle Brittle Star

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Clark found this BRITTLE STAR (also called SERPENT STAR) too close to the beach this weekend near Fulgur St so Clark tried to get him to deeper water but this little wiggle worm waggled his way right where he wanted to be.
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I also found a couple more of our shelling sisters on the Blind Pass bridge last week! I met Martha in February at Blind Pass on a thick foggy day but this time she brought Ginger with her on this gorgeous sunny day. Check that bad boy shelling scoop Ginger is holding up that her husband made for her.

Blind Pass bridge

Martha and Ginger

This place was hopping with Shelling Sisters. I saw Karen (Moshiemom) too on the Blind Pass bridge…… Come to think about it… it was foggy too the day I originally met her in February and posted her picture.  Beeep Beeep (okay, that was the backing up sound of a truck) Let’s back up. I just looked back and Karen and Claudette were here the same time as Martha. You Shelling Sistahs have got to meet since you are on the same shelling schedule!

Karen at Blind Pass Captiva

This is Karen aka “Moshiemom” last week at Blind Pass sfter finding some of the faves. She and Claudette were crossing the Blind Pass bridge too when I ran into them. De ja vu.

seashells by Karen

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