The shell world is a fascinating adventure to learn about the lives of MOLLUSKS and the people who collect their shells on the beaches across the planet. Because I am one of those people obsessed with living my life in the world of shells, I love to hang out with people who love to share their knowledge about them too. The Sanibel Shell Festival is a great place to do that.
I’m thrilled Sunnye (TX) shared her colorful shell collection she found beachcombing in Eleuthera, Bahamas (top photo).
Her sister Lisa (TX) had some awesome displays too for which they both won awards.
Lisa EXHIBITED this gorgeous SMOOTH TELLIN…
But I looooved this cool display Lisa did showing the difference between the SHARKS EYE and the FALSE SHARKS EYE. It explains and shows the difference in detail (for more info check out my post Sanibel Shark Week… Featuring The Shark Eye Shell).
And then there’s Stef! I’m so happy for her- she won a blue ribbon for her double FLAT SCALLOP she found by Sanibel’s Island Inn.
Wait… did you miss what I said? Okay, lemme slow down… she found both sides of her FLAT ZIGZAG SCALLOP still hinged together. Exactly like she displayed it… on Sanibel… and with amazing color. Wow! Years ago, I was thrilled when Clark found just the other half of a FLAT (the right valve) since it’s rare to find them here (CLICK HERE to see what the other side looks like) … and she found both perfect valves still together. Shellzam! Congrats Stefanie!
There were lots of displays showing ALBINO shells this year but this one by Ken and Joyce Matthys was really very cool. Here they shows tons of ALBINO FLORIDA PRICKLY COCKLES they’ve found through the years…
In the next case they show FLORIDA PRICKLY COCKLES which are ALBINISTIC. They explain… “Some shells lack their normal color, but they are not pure white. Instead they may be pale yellow, cream-colored, or have other hints of color. These are referred to as being albinistic”. Hmmm Haven’t you seen some like this? I have and now we’ve learned a name for this color form… ALBINISTIC.
Anne Joffe’s seashell emergency room display was hilarious and voted best for People’s Choice award. Freak and damaged shells that repaired themselves to form in odd shapes were propped in mini doctor’s offices, emergency rooms and surgery rooms with bandages, crutches and doctors notes.
Check out this PALLID CARRIER SHELL with an attached GLASS SPONGE (from the Philippines) by exhibitor Robert Linn. Wildly beautiful.
Last week I posted about the artistic side of the show with SAILORS VALENTINES, shell frames and all sorts of shell art and craft but when you look at some of these shells like these ATLANTIC TRITONS exhibited by Holly Nordyke, you realize you are looking at the most perfect work of art ever made. Stunning.
Hope to see you next year at the 80th Annual Sanibel Shell Festival!
Every year, the first week of March is always exciting because the Sanibel Shell Festival comes to town. This 2016 year was a trifect-shell-a for me.
1. – The show was fantastic.
Fun to see Carol Strange sharpie these beautiful shells.
Kelle Covington’s shell encrusted ukulele.
Marti Gorun’s gorgeous seashell mirror.
2. – Fun to hang out with shell friends and everybody at the show was exceptionally happy and chatty.
I had such a great time hanging out with Rachel (we learned so much from her last year about Natural Pearls) and Master Naturalist Shelling Guide Captain Brian Holaway.
We are such a colorful group! The girls just gotta have fun in psycheshellic colors with Kelle (she made the awesome Ukulele) and Shelley from Naples. Thanks for sending this photo Kelle :)
Bill Jordan is a hoot! He’s also an amazing artist with his SAILORS VALENTINE and pocket watch valentine.
Speaking of SAILORS VALENTINES… David Rhyne won Peoples Choice Award in the artistic division of the show.
You have to see the close up of this one because of the detail of the basket weave. The basket and the circle weave are made of SEA URCHIN SPINES.
Another amazing VALENTINE by Judy Dinnick.
This one by Gerda Reid.
Oooh shell la… so many stunning pieces!
And then we come to #3 of the trifectshella – The shelling was awesome!
Rachel found a JUNONIA on the east end of Sanibel about a mile from the Sanibel Lighthouse and her Aunt Margie found an amazing SCOTCH BONNET in about the same area.
Not bad I’d say for a couple of days of beach combing.
I’ve run out of room on this post and lots of cool shells to show you.. and more cool shell people. So stay tuned for more photos of the scientific division of the Sanibel Shell Festival.
If you found a perfect JUNONIA on the beach the second morning of vacation on Sanibel, would you let it out of your site for the rest of your trip? Not Tim from Ohio! He told me about his treasure find after I met him while at the Sanibel Shell Festival and was able to show it to me since he had it stashed in his pocket. He said he couldn’t bear to part with it yet. LOL
That started off my day at the Shell Festival off with a smile but after seeing beautiful works of art like these, it was hard not to keep that smile going.
I loved this miniature seashell doll house shell shop.
Of course its always breathtaking to see the Sailors Valentines.
My favorite shell exhibit of the entire show was in the “Freak” category. It’s a shell with 2 apertures. Yes, I said TWO openings … its like this shell is a Siamese Twin. I was stunned and amazed and I still am. It was so hard to get a good photo to really show both openings but you can see on the far left there is an opening with an operculum and then you can see the more obvious lip and opening. Wow! Can you imagine? So cool.
I had the best time browsing the exhibits and meeting other shellers like Cheryl and Pam (Brett Bailey’s sister) who showed me a very cool juvie MILK CONCH they found at the Sanibel Lighthouse area. But…. Pam didn’t have her shell in her pocket like Tim did (heehee), the shell was on her phone. “Ring. Ring. Ring… Hold on, I need to get my Shellaphone….. Shello?” hahaha
The festival is like dialing a shellafriend…. Shellekelle, me and Christine Florida shell girl had a great time hanging out and catching up. They are such cutie shellooties!
It was a great weekend…
But now its back to the beach tomorrow for some real shelling time and our iLoveShelling cruise to Cayo Costa with Captiva Cruises. So excited because we had some good winds yesterday to hopefully have thrown some treasures up on the island for us. Hope to see you there!
This was not just the Sanibel Shell Festival this year, it was a fabulous FestiShell!
There were so many treasures from the sea made into beautiful works of art.
But not only were there beautiful shells and gorgeous art pieces, I had a blast seeing so many of my shelling buddies… like the Shellucky Luckett Ladies Lois, Ginger, (me), Martha and Janet. They are so much fun!
I also got to talk to the editorial director and craft guru of Martha Stewart Living Hannah Milman along with Dr Jose Leal of the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum.
Of course I love to see shell art that makes me smile like this seashell box with beach combing Birth Of Venus at the center.
This shell box was done by shell crafter Heather Strawbridge…
The miniature shell craft pieces were amazing…
This mind blowing miniature shell exhibit won the artistic People’s Choice award for obvious reasons. Shell artist Peter Gabel points out a few details to an amazed Hannah Milman.
For all of you mini shell lovers out there, you will surely love these sweet creations.
Cheryl Witten got a blue ribbon for this tiny shell flower arrangement.
While scoping out the exhibits, I ran into Shelling Sistah Diane Parr and her fiancé Eric from New York. So nice to finally meet you, Diane!
It’s always fun to see Captain Brian and more shelling friends Lynn (St Thomas), Laurel (CA), and Anne (MN).
The sailors valentines seemed more magnificent than ever this year.
Karen Almir won a blue ribbon for her single medium valentine.
Victoria Ross (Sanibel- right Vicki? ) won a blue for her gorgeous valentine. Congrats!
There were so many different shell flower arrangements to be stunned and amazed by. Marvin Hennemann made this one completely out of SEA URCHINS and their pieces.
Fun piece Marvin!
Every year I enjoy learning about other aspects of shelling.
Rachel Fields won a blue ribbon for her awesome display on natural pearls.
This New Zealand shell scientific exhibit won a special merit award for education.
Scientific Division judge Gary Schmeltz (left) with Roger and Kris Woods (who flew in from New Zealand) pose with the other distinguished Scientific Division judge Harry Lee.
I’ve shown some shell art the last few posts so I wanted to show you some of the artists that make these incredible pieces. This is Ruth Bulger with her “You Are My Sunshine” Sailors Valentine…
Nancy Goes made that beautiful shell necklace…
Audrey O’Donnell made the fabulous RICE SHELL arrangement…
Pam Boynton said she was very honored to have seen my post with a photo of her “Love And Be Loved” Sailors Valentine… especially after reading Skip Collins’ comment “Love and Be Loved is about the coolest thing I have ever seen, well…Shellwise”. She thanks you Skip!
I wish I could have photographed and met all of the exhibitors because there were so many more that were awe-inspiring like every single piece by David Rhyne…
So I hope to see you again next year on Sanibel or maybe even at another shell show.
Until then, I’ve got to get back to my first love… the beach. i Love Shelling!
Heavy winds and rain with tornado watches whipped through Sanibel during the first day of the 2014 Shell Festival yesterday. They had to close the show around 1:30pm because the storm caused power outages throughout the island so the Sanibel Community House was completely pitch dark. What a fluke!
But…. those same whipping winds caused hundreds of seashells to wash up at Lighthouse Beach this morning. Yay!
All sorts of STARFISH, PEN SHELLS, DISK DOSINIAS and SEAWEED piled up to form a nice thick wrack line to pick through…
I always love to sift through all the BEACH BLING to see what sorts of cool things from the deep belly of the Gulf Of Mexico make an appearance. I found a gorgeous treasure in this mess of sea debris so I thought you might enjoy picking through it for some CYBERSHELLING too. Get picking by CLICKING on the pic!
Did you find this stunning TRUE TULIP too?
Here’s another CYBERSHELLING photo to check out such an amazing pile of DOSINIAS. After I got home and looked at this photo a little closer, I realized I missed a very cool WORM SHELL, Dang it! Oh well, I hope someone else snagged that piece of yumminess up…
I love to look inside the PEN SHELLS for hidden gems too. This one had a tiny TRUE TULIP laying inside like a precious pearl waiting to be found. Once I picked it out of the PEN SHELL, I realized this baby TRUE was still alive and well protected so I put both together back in the water to hopefully get lodged in the sand.
It was so much fun to see so much bling and shells wash up at the Lighthouse Beach again… especially for the many shellers in town for the Shell Festival.
I promise I’ll get back to showing more exhibits from the fair on my next post but I had to shout out about the shelling news at the Lighthouse… and here are my favorite finds from this morning.
Clockwise- a GIANT ATLANTIC COCKLE filled with BUBBLE SHELLS, a BUTTON and a little itty bitty juvie FIGHTING CONCH; 2 juvie FIGHTING CONCHS; TRUE TULIP; CALICO CRAB SHELL; the smallest CARRIER SHELL I’ve ever found on Sanibel; SHARKS EYE; LACE MUREX, oodles of SUNRAY VENUS, SEA URCHIN and then another LACIE.
I have some other great news too… there are spots available for you to join us for Shellabaloo! It’s the most fabulous Shelling Adventure on the planet! Come join us April 24-27, 2014 to experience this awesome event. CLICK HERE for more info.
Okay, I can’t resist…. I have to show you a few more shell pieces from the show. They are exquisite!
I have browsed the beautiful artistic exhibits of the annual Sanibel Shell Festival for years and shared many photos of the show as well. I was even honored to be selected to be a judge for the artistic exhibits a few years ago so it may be a surprise that this was my first year entering an exhibit in the artistic division of the shell show… yep, I did it!
And I won a Red Ribbon for my photograph of this LIGHTNING WHELK! Yay! I am thrilled! I took this photo of a live Lightning Whelk in December 2013 on a nice low tide at Gulfside City Park. I loved the colors on the spire of this natural beauty and the way the morning light of the sun was just behind it. I snapped a few pictures, thanked him for coming up to shore so I could see him, then I took him out to a little deeper water to give him a bit more privacy. I’m so grateful to be able to capture these images of such incredible treasures of Mother Nature in their natural setting.
Unfortunately, I didn’t win a ribbon for my sweet little WORM SHELL mirror I entered. Boooooooo! Oh alright, I’ll try not to be a poor loser but I just love my wormies so much I couldn’t help but be a little disappointed (should I get out the cheese with that whine?). But honestly, it’s ok because I didn’t make this frame for the show any way (errrrr….. thats sounds like an excuse, doesn’t it? heehee). I made this for our shelling friends Jane and John with a photo of them in it because they used Clark as their real estate agent. This fun, quirky wormie frame was their Thank You gift! Jane suggested I borrow it back to enter in the show since she loved it so much. I’m glad I did it but I am sooo not the caliber of shell crafter as most of these artists. They are amazing!
This was the first day of the show so you still have tomorrow (Friday) and Saturday to see it if you are in the area. I will get more photos of some of the other exhibits to share another post if you can’t see it yourself… but until then, here are just a few more gorgeous pieces of art exhibited in the show…
So stay tuned for more shell crafts, shell artists and scientific shell exhibits coming soon!
Oh… by the way, after 77 years they decided to change the name from the Sanibel Shell Fair and Show to the Sanibel Shell Festival. It’s all the same show so don’t be confused if you thought there was a second shell show.