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!
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.
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.
From here, I’m gonna let her tell you how everything else is done. Sit back, relax and let your imagination roll…
How ’bout that, huh? Here’s a close up of the SEMELE she talked about ……
….and the CROSS BARRED VENUS
This is a dead PURPLE SEA URCHIN that washed up on the beach with some of it’s spines still attached.
This is a close up of Barb’s SEA URCHIN spines. That’s a lot of SEA URCHINS!
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.
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.
The Sanibel side of Blind Pass was …well, empty of shells. Where’d they go?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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……
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…..
Tresor le Mer creates gorgeous pieces of art from beach treasures that someone else might consider to be beach “litter”…..
Aptly named, An Imperfect Shell gives us that feeling of just coming off the beach in every design she makes….
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.
I also have another artist friend Rhonda from Shellebelle’s Tikihut that collects “drift shells” to make beautiful art frames too.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
Everywhere I looked last night, I saw the colors of Easter… in seashells.
…..and in the sky
…..and around the palm trees.
As we “hopped” around to the lighthouse beach filling up our Easter shell basket, I ran into sisters Carol and Gail finding goodies for their basket (errr, shell bag ;)).
It was their last night on Sanibel and Carol finally found her first WENTLETRAP at the lighthouse beach. Yippee! Congrats!
I found sweet little LACE MUREX.
And I found this cute little DUSKY CONE on a piece of SEA PORK. It looks like an Easter egg broke and the yoke spilled everywhere, doesn’t it?
Then we hopped on over to the beach off Middle Gulf Dr. and met Aimee (too shy to have her picture taken) where she found three of these FIGHTING CONCHS so I added the one furthest down in her palm. Look at how cool it is since it has a “freak” growth pattern.
Even the BANDED TULIPS had a hint of pink for Easter.
Happy Easter! Good wishes for you all to shellebrate the day.
I always call this beach Blind Pass with a little note if it’s the Sanibel side or the Captiva side to explain where the shells are. But actually, the official name of the beach on both the Captiva side and Sanibel side is Turner Beach and the waterway that separates them is named Blind Pass. So if I called the beaches by the official name of Turner Beach, I’d still have to explain which side. Geez, shelling isn’t complicated so why complicate the beach names. I just like to wrap it all in one little package and call it all Bind Pass. Easy peazy, right?
Kenny, Marisa and Lisa from Ohio could have cared less what the name of the beach was, they thought the shelling was “awesome”.
They were having a ball plucking these juvenile FIGHTING CONCH shells right out of the surf.
I walked over the bridge to see what the Captiva side of the beach looked like…. nuttin’ honey. The high tide is starting to cut into the sand on the beach. No worries, it could be back tomorrow. This beach changes sooo quickly. Click HERE to scroll through pictures of the changes of Blind Pass.
So I walked back over the bridge to the Sanibel side and the first thing I saw was this pretty little bright orange SCALLOP shell. There was a fairly high tide at somewhere around plus 2 (the sand bar was covered with water) and pretty calm with temps in the 80s. Paradise. So I had to take a little video. Nothing fancy but I just had to share the warmth with the sounds of the water rushing over shells.