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Collecting seashells on the beaches of Sanibel, Captiva and the world

2013 50th Annual Sarasota Shell Show

sarasota shell club show

I was a judge at the 50th Annual Sarasota Shell Show this past weekend for their 50th anniversary!  I was very honored to be asked to judge the artistic exhibits especially after seeing so many creative pieces like this gorgeous SAILOR’S VALENTINE by Suzanne Dietch. Her special piece won the People’s Choice Award!

Suzanne Dietsch people choice award

Thank goodness I didnt have to make the other ribbons and awards decisions all by myself. I had long time shell show judge Phyllis Gray to help me with the artistic division and the scientific exhibits were judged by David Green and Bill Lyons (on the right).

shell show judges

There was one award I got to judge all by myself… the Judges Special Merit Award. This was my one pick that I could give to any piece in any category for any reason. I gave my award to Jane Santini’s magnificent Sailor’s Valentine…

jane santini pam rambo merit award

To keep things fair, when we look at each piece for judging, the names of the artists are hidden from us so everything is judged by the piece of art and not the artist. One of the big awards for the show is the Fran Schlusemann Best Of Shell Art Award which was won by…. ready?… Fran Schlusemann with her gorgeous shell mirror.

fran schlusemann shell mirror

Heehee… Funny, huh? One of the other honored awards is the June Bailey Best Of Member’s Art (Sarasota Shell Club members) which was won by Nora Bevard.

seashell bust

This was a lucky moment! I got June Bailey (on the left) and Nora Bevard together with her winning piece…

june bailey nora bevard

Phyllis picked this stunning miniature piece by Anni Ferretti for her Judges Special Merit Award…

anni ferretti merit award

There was a jewelry category as well. Sharlene Totten won for her lovely jewelry piece..

.sharlene totten shell jewelry

Here’s a close up of her necklace…

For the show’s 50th Anniversary, they added a new category this year to memorialize their 50 fabulous years of presenting this show. The winner of this special gold ribbon award is this gray vase embellished with 50 shells called “50 Shades Of Gray”. LOL I loved it!

50 golden award shades

Donna Cassin is the clever artist who won this award and she happens to be the organizer of the whole show as well. She’s been a busy lady!

donna cassin sarasota shell

Phyllis and I got to judge one of the scientific exhibits as well! I was so excited about this one because I loooove to see so many unusual shells from around the world being displayed all in one place. But hold on, as you know, I am NO scientist so we didn’t judge them on their scientific quality. We got to present a winner for Most Beautiful Exhibit. Ha! I can do that! Phyllis and I chose Harry Berryman’s CONE shell display…

Harry berryman cone shell display

Here is Harry with his Most Beautiful Exhibit winning ribbon with me. I know, it looks like I was in the tundra with that jacket on but for some reason I was freezing in that room. Ugh! We couldn’t find Phyllis when Harry showed up so I’m sorry she’s not in the photo with us.

Harry Berryman cone display

 Harry also won the Conchologists of America Trophy for this same exhibit which was presented by the C.O.A.’s 2013 President Dr Jose Leal at the awards banquet. Here is Dr Leal with Donna Cassin since Harry Berryman wasn’t there to accept. Congratshellations Harry for such a prestigious award!

dr jose leal conchologists of america

 I was really thrilled for Linda Greiner as well. She won a blue ribbon for her display of “The Ins and Outs of Shells”. She showed X-rays of seashells so we could see the fascinating inside forms of shells. Brilliant!

linda greiner seashell xrays blue ribbon award

Oh but hold on! I met a friend of yours too! If you read the comments here some times, you might recognize the name Sally Peppitoni. Well, she’s a member of the Sarasota Shell Club and I got to meet her in person. Here’s Sally!

sally peppitoni sarasota shell club

Thank you Donna and everybody at the Sarasota Shell Show for giving Clark and me such a warm welcome into your seashell world. We both throughly enjoyed it!

susanee dietsch seashells valentine

PS- The 2013 76th Sanibel Shell Fair and Show will be coming up soon too March 7,8 and 9!


  1. That looks like great fun!

  2. Had so much fun visiting the show! Spent hours just looking at all the amazing specimens.

  3. Wow.That’s awesome.We just came in from shelling on Peanut Island,not exactly Sanibel but if you are looking for micro shells the shelling is not bad.It is also the Bubble shell capitol of the world.

  4. Thanks Pam for such comprehensive coverage!! We are hunkering down right now here on Long Island, and expecting somewhere between 12-18 inches of snow with storm Nemo.. How lucky am I that I had to push my Sanibel trip back to Feb 25, originally we were supposed to head out to your beautiful island at sunrise tomorrow!! Yikes!!

    • Yes you are very lucky Donna! Sanibel will be waiting for you on Feb 25. No way you would have gotten out of here at sunrise tomorrow!


      • Binghampton is way colder than where we are near the coast! Yikes. My husband attended college there back in the day and suffered through those winters.

        I see this morning we are pretty well piled up with snow here in Manhattan, but Donna probably has more than us out on Long Island.

        I hope Sanibel is well piled with shells! :) Fresh snow is pretty, but shells are a lot prettier!

    • Donna
      I hoped you are OK. I talked to my neighbor and she said we had gotten 12-14 inches. We’re leaving next week. I’m hoping the snow will be all gone. I heard it’s supposed to rain Monday and get up to 40. Good luck. Pat

  5. What a fabulous show! Thanks for sharing some photos of these remarkable shell creations! I am in awe! Sweet hugs, Diane

  6. Nice stuff!!!!

  7. Wonderful photos pam – the Sailors Valentines are always my favorites. One of these days I hope to get one.

    And look at you – always so cute and adorable!

  8. Your pick for the judges award is truly beautiful. I’m looking forward to attending the Sanibel show this year and seeing shell art up close and personal.

  9. This shell show looks just wonderful with so many beautiful creations!

  10. What a wonderful time you must have had, Pam – beautiful stuff.
    I’ll be helping in the shell tent at the Sanibel Shellabration!!!! See ya soon! JL

  11. Pam
    I love tthe Sailors Valentines. They are all so pretty. Yesterday I went to Blind Pass. I found two bittersweets, 4 comb bittersweets, a whole jingle shell, a whole alternate tellin and 2 purplish semeles pluss some other goodies. Today I found a Bittersweet and a comb bittersweet in front of Gulf side. Hope to get to Blind Pass tomorrow.

  12. While I didn’t see you there personally it was a great show! I’m looking forward to Seminole in a few weeks ;)

  13. Ladies and Gents!
    Thank you for sharing your beautiful designs and collections with us all across the lands. Each shell you pick up and adore, I can almost promise you there is someone reading Pam’s blog in “I Love Shelling”. Com. Pam educates us about the shell you just found and we get to see the happiest expressions on your face. What is it about a shell? Does it take us to a far away place? Does it remind us of running up and down the beach looking for the perfect broken shells we could find to bring back to Mom and Dad. Does the memories take you back to the moment that you and your sweetheart held hands as you sit on a blanket in the sand, just hoping to see the dolphins playing. Or maybe just waiting for the moon to peak behind the clouds so you can steal a quick magical kiss. For what ever reason you enjoy finding the “perfect shell”, you and I may forget to stop and think about all the children in world, that may never see or hold his/her own shell. It’s a blessing beyond words….it’s priceless!!! Next time you are walking down the beach, pick up a few extras shells. Write the name of the shell on a piece of paper,then place both inside a small baggy. In no time, you could have a little goodie box heading out to a new school once a month. This is just a thought, and we could easily educate our future grandkids about how important it is to keep the beaches and water clean, not only for our children and grandchildren but for all our beautiful birds and other wild lives that can enjoy it for many more years! Again, thanks for sharing all you treasures and shell arts with us. We are proud of you near and far!

    • Oh my Teresa. You are so amazing. It truly is a gift to all of us to be able to share together the wonders of combing the beaches. We all share it in our own way. I’ve always said I want to do a blog post encouraging shellers to get those boxes of shells out of the back of the closet or the boxes of shells in your garages that never get opened or seen- and send them to a school for children to learn about them. Thank you for you beautiful comment and thank you for your kind words about my
      Blog as well :)

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