To start a seashell art project, the first thing on the “to do list” is find shells. Check.
Then the shells have to be cleaned and dried. Check.
Then the shells should be sorted by species and color. Check.
Depending on the project, the shells may need to be sorted in sizes. Check.
Now that we’ve got most of the finding, cleaning, sorting and sizing done… there is even more fun to be had in the creating process.
Shelling is beach therapy but creating shell art is just another form of therapy all over again… seashell therapy. To look at the beauty of these treasures is an art in itself. I can’t get enough of it!
Now that we’ve got lots checked off on the list for our seashell art project, we’ve still got lots to do to put them all together to make the design and finished product. I can’t wait until it’s done and to unveil it for the 1st Annual National Seashell Day June 20, 2016 on Sanibel and of course I’ll be showing lots of photos right here. It’s gonna be spectacsheller… Stay tuned!
We’ve been enjoying walking along the shore at Sanibel’s Bowmans Beach this summer since we’ve had our best luck finding shells no matter which direction we comb the beach. Clark had an eye for the cutie mini shells this time. As soon as he found that little DUSKY CONE (on the tips of the horsies/candy/candy corn/mac n cheese…. errrr… those juvie HORSE CONCHS) I remembered that on one of my latest shelling adventure cruises I tried to show how one can tell the difference between those and the ALPHABETS and FLORIDA CONES.
So let me try to show the difference of the shells to you too. Here is a handful of the DUSKY CONES to show you how big they are and the different colors and patterns. Also, check out that each one of them has spiral ribs along the body of the shell. If you run your thumb over the shell, it won’t be smooth, you will feel all of the the little ridges.
Here’s the difference between a random ALPHABET CONE, FLORIDA CONE and the DUSKY that I pulled from our collection of Sanibel shells to see the different patterns and the normal adult size of each.
In this view, you can really see those ribs on the DUSKY compared to the other two that are mostly smooth. Cool, huh?
So next time you find a small little cone shell, look a little closer to see which one you’ve found. Maybe it will be a DUSKY CONE like Deseray found years ago that I showed in my post Rainbow Of Miniature Shells that we compared to her sweet little ALPHIE.
UPDATE: Ive had a few people ask about the difference between the Duskys, Stearns and Jasper Cones. I used to call some of them Jasper Cones but I was corrected a few years ago (can’t remember who told me- MurexKen maybe?) that the Shell Museum says that Jaspers and Stearns aren’t found in our area- only Dusky Cones. So I guess Ive gotta go with with that too unless they add them to the list. Im def no scientist ;0
Just a few steps from the Sanibel Lighthouse, oodles of seashells were being washed up near the shoreline yesterday.
I overheard Kathy and Karen (Wisconsin) getting very excited about the shells they were finding in the water…
Yes there were! In ankle deep water along the surf line, I saw one shell after another so I quickly got out my video and started filming. This video is uncut and I was continuously filming so you can see how I had to keep working the same area to find all of these shells. Each wave uncovered more shells so I had to be patient. More CYBERSHELLING to the rescue!
As you can see, the shells weren’t obvious since they were buried and filled with sand so I had to keep stooping for better scoops. Sisters Diane (Illinois) and Nancy (Missouri) couldn’t believe how many they found in that one area.
In the video, you briefly see Penny (Wisconsin) stooping in the water a little further out. I think I mumbled something like I hoped she was finding shells out there too. Any way, I ended up meeting Penny and her husband Brian a few minutes afterwards.
We figured out that just around the same time I was filming her out in the water, she found this FLORIDA CONE.
I also drove up to Blind Pass Captiva but that new sand bar in the pass is mostly just sand now but there are still some sweet minis. The Sanibel side of Blind Pass is still producing shells but the tides have been fickle so its been a hit or miss. It’s almost like if you don’t see shells there, just wait 4 more hours and they should be rolling in. I was just so happy to find such goodies at my old fave stomping ground- The Sanibel Lighthouse Beach.
shelling adventures trips by pam
I have said countless times that the beaches of Southwest Florida change every day and by the hour so finding shells becomes a fascinating treasure hunt. So I would say Tam Tam from Michigan has had quite a treasure hunt this week! She found so many shells that aren’t found on our beaches all that often like that sweet baby LIONS PAW (top left), a CABRITS MUREX (middle), a LONG SPINED SEA URCHIN (okay, thats not a shell but its just so beautiful and big for that type of URCHIN) and a THORNY OYSTER (bottom). The ALPHABET CONE isn’t rare at all but it is just dang gorgeous…. and same for that BABY’S EAR. And of course you see she found a JUNONIA too!
Tammy found her LIONS PAW along West Gulf Drive and found her JUNONIA and CABRITS at BLIND PASS SANIBEL. Her friend Barb from Virginia found a CABRITS MUREX at Blind Pass Sanibel too!
I think this is the tiniest, cutest CABRITS MUREX Ive ever seen. Wow!
Oh but hold on there’s more… Sue found a LIONS PAW as well!
Her LIONS PAW is soooo pretty, right? The CONE is just as spectacshellar and both were found off West Gulf Drive. That is a very dark rich color variation of a FLORIDA CONE. Shellicious!
Lisa and Derek from Kansas were very happy to be finding such a variety of shells at Blind Pass Sanibel.
They are very new to shelling but as you can see, they already have a great eye for such pretty shells. They found out about all the seashells on Sanibel from Derek’s dad Darrell who caught the shelling bug about 5 years ago on his first visit to Sanibel. Hey Darrell! Thanks for spreading the shelling love on to your kids- Derek and Lisa cracked me up!
Lisa could identify most of their other shells but she showed me this little mini shell and asked me what it was. Its a PITTED MUREX! I don’t find these all that often but I loved that even as new shellers, they both were so interested in this tiny shell that turned out to be not all that common in our area.
Every day is a new adventure on Sanibel, Captiva and all of the beaches in southwest Florida. What I find even more rare than these shells that my lucky shelling friends found, is that our islands are filled with so many friendly, smiling folks that enjoy every gift from the sea whether its rare or not. (oh…and the view aint half bad either ;) )
For 5 days now, the shelling in SouthWest Florida as been has been outrageous! It doesn’t get more outrageous that finding your very first JUNONIA after 20 years of searching… then 2 days later, finding JUNONIA #2! Jill from Miami was livin’ the good life this weekend finding those trophies plus two ALPHABET CONES to boot. Shellzam! Congratshellations, Jill- so happy for you!
But wait.. the outrageousness continued! Wouldn’t you love to find a huge empty HORSE CONCH like this with a bright orange interior?
Gail and Alicia not only found that one gorgeous shell, they found 3 more! … Plus a nice size LIGHTNING WHELK too. Over the long weekend, they were out every morning before sunrise and said there were hundreds of live HORSE CONCHS rolling in the surf on the beach near Island Inn but kept on looking to find ones that were empty.
So I’m sure you can image how happy they were to find those amazing large shells already…. then to find a SEAHORSE too? They found this guy in the afternoon just getting back out on the beach in the high tide wrack line. REally, after all of those trophy shells then a SEAHORSE….Outrageous! Congrats Gail and Alicia!
I found quite a variety on Island Inn beach as well but nothing compared to what they found of course…
I met Lea and her daughter Kristi from Omaha picking up the dried MILLIPEDE STARFISH in the high tide wrack line.
They asked me how to preserve these awesome SEASTARS so they can put them in shadowboxes when they get home. Honestly, I have never had luck with keeping them in tact because I guess I keep them outside or in my garage too long and the humidity gets to them so they break apart and start stinking -Ack! I’m doing something wrong so I never pick them up anymore- I don’t care how bone dry and perfect they are. But… My friend Moira makes beautiful shadowboxes with them as well as Kim who both live in Chicago- they have no problems so I hope they see this so they can explain in a comment how they get them home without breaking them and keeping them intact for a frame.
Fort Myers Beach was rocking with shells too! My friend Debbie’s dad Dennis from Kansas was in town for the holiday and they found lots of treasures…
Repeat… they found LOTS of treasures… LOL
Throughout the holiday weekend, I saw lots of shells at Lighthouse Beach, South Seas, Blind Pass, Island Inn, …. and my last stop for the weekend shelling was Gulfside City Park this morning for low tide. I found such a variety of shells again including a perfect ALPHABET CONE along with the best SHARK’S EYE I’ve found in a while. But my real favorites where violet colored FIGHTING CONCHS which I don’t think I’ve ever found colors in FIGHTING CONCHS like these before. Weird, because I even found another purple one at Island Inn beach the other day. So unusual.
This morning Karen from Orlando area was happy with her finds too…
She found a perfect ANGEL WING and a few SAND DOLLARS…
And these are just a few that were in her bag. Awesome.
There where so many live creatures as well. It’s always fascinating to see these beautiful living animals in their natural habitat like this beautiful live LIGHTNING WHELK. Since this shell was occupied, I dug a hole for him to wait it out until the higher tide came back in so he could scoot along wherever it wished.
One more thing…. I have a new online Art Gallery!
Over the years, I have shared many, many photos of my shelling adventures and have learned that… just as I love to collect a beautiful shell, I love to capture a beautiful moment or my beautiful surrounds with my lens just as much. I never could find the means to offer them as quality, affordable art on canvas, prints, cards and more…. until now! So I started an online Art Gallery for my photographs. It’s just the beginning so I haven’t added all of the photos that you’ve asked for in the past but at least this is a start. I’m heartfelt that you’ve asked for them and I’m proud that now I can offer them. Please stop by, take a browse, say “hi” and if you like one enough to buy it, I would be incredibly honored.
Don’t forget! We have an iLoveShelling Cruise to Cayo Costa on Friday December 6, 2013 at 9am. We can do some fun shelling together… so Join Us! CLICK HERE
As I walked onto the sand of Blind Pass Captiva towards the Gulf Of Mexico yesterday, I didn’t see much of a shell pile forming on the beach. But I did see Rena (Fort Myers) in the water about knee deep with her shelling backhoe filling up her bag. It was so much fun to see such much beautiful CORAL in her bag then she showed me her two FLORIDA CONES, GIANT BITTERSWEET and that sweet little orange candy.
There was one small string of shells that had come in at the high tide, that most of the shellers were picking through to find a treasure or two. Since this was on Captiva, you could say they were doing the Captiva Crouch instead of The Sanibel Stoop…. Oh yes… that would be a crouch!
After lots of people had already picked through this wrack line, Jay still found an amazing treasure. A perfect SCOTCH BONNET! Shellzam!
Brenda and Jay from St Louis were already happy with all of the other shells that they had found so the SCOTCH BONNET was just icing on the cake.
He was so surprised that it was in perfect condition with such great color just sitting in that shell line. You just never know!
Jamie from Ft Lauderdale was doing double time. After he threw out a fishing rod to catch a few fish, he couldn’t help but catch a few shells as well.
Beautiful OLIVES and CONCHS but I couldn’t take my eye off that gorgeous ROUGH SCALLOP right below the bucket.
Around 11am I felt so lucky to find a CARRIER SHELL! This is how I saw it….
I had to leave the beach around noon but came back to Blind Pass Captiva around 3:30pm just to see what the low tide had exposed. The beach hadn’t changed that much (actually, it looked pretty picked over by then) and didn’t see lots of shells in the water like the high tide had shown… BUT …. I saw another CARRIER SHELL! I may have missed it earlier since I don’t think the tide had brought in more shells after I left but this is exactly what it looked like sitting with the other shell. Click on this next photo. Would you have noticed it?
This is what it looks like from the side view. See how it collects other shell fragments and CORAL to cement them to its shell?
Here is another view of the one I found in the morning. I love that this shell is a shell collector too like us!
I love to find unusual shells so I was thrilled with my treasures. Other than the CARRIER SHELLS, I didn’t find many whole UNIVALVES like WHELKS or TULIPS in that line of shells but I did find a piece of a LIONS PAW and a piece of JUNONIA and some awesome CALICO SCALLOPS and CORAL.
The other shell above the piece of CORAL in my last photo is a FROND OYSTER. I wouldn’t say it was a rare shell, but I don’t find many of them in good condition like this one. I know, it’s not so pretty (like the CARRIER SHELL) but I gotta tell ya, these things make me so happy when I find them. It’s all about the little things in life.
Have a great weekend!