The 2017 Sanibel Shell Festival was spectacsheller!
Not only were we shellebrating 80 years of this shelltastic show….
It was the perfect place for me to share the shelling love with Shell Love Bug! Shelldazzled with over 20,000 local shells, Shell Love Bug is like a Sailors Valentine version patchwork quilt of the shelling community coming together … so what better place than the shell show?
So many beautiful pieces of shell art.
Jeff Oth’s vintage sea shell jewelry exhibit was shellsational.
So many gorgeous shell specimens like this exhibit of MORTONS EGG COCKLES by Rachel Fields…
If you look closely at some of the exhibits like this ATLANTIC THORNY OYSTER by Elliot Sudal, the stories are shellmazingly cool. He “caught” this shell in a narly ball of fishing line, weeds and debris while fishing in 70 feet of water.
What other fisherman would have realized this gorgeous shell was in the middle of all that crud.
Cutie Shellootie Debi McBroom knew she had something different when she found a DEPRESSED TOP SNAIL at Turner beach.
She won a Blue Ribbon for her exhibit of this unusual shell find.
What a smile! Now that’s some shellove for The Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum’s marine biologist Rebecca Mensch for her blue ribbon LEAFY JEWELBOX.
Congratshellations to Andrea and her husband Jay for their prized MULBERRY SHELLS from Muscat, Oman. Sending lots of Shellove and wishes to you both. Hope to see you both pulling up those HORSE CONCHS at the Lighthouse again real soon, okay?
The shellovely Andrea Schopf and her shellcrusted SEAHORSE won People Choice Award for the entire artistic category. Boom Shellalaka!
Michael Gilmore got to introduce his newest Sanibel sheller and future prize winner… sweet little Shellove Baby.
And then this happened…. the ultimate Shellove!
The Shell Museum’s marine biologist Stef Wolf was at the live MOLLUSK tank with her students educating the public about the lives of our favorite shells when…. her boyfriend Steve Plein got on bended knee and asked her to marry him (with a stunning ring from Congress Jewelers- my fave!). She said YES!
Best wishes to you both for a life full of good health and happiness.
ShellLove is in the air…
I love to learn about creatures that live in the sea and see some of their astonishing growth patterns that make up their shells like this frilly ORCHID MUREX. On the other hand, I love to see how human creative minds take those beautiful shells and build a feast for the eyes with yet another beautiful structure.
Beautiful beach treasures turned into beautiful works of art.
This is why I love to go to shell shows…. the scientific exhibits give us a looking glass to learn more about the life of mollusks and the history of our world through different aspects.
Then the artist in me can’t wait to see the creative inspirations made of shells and beach bling in the artistic exhibits. They are mind blowing beautiful so its the best of both worlds.
I’m proud to say that not only was I a judge this year in the Sarasota Shell Show for the artistic displays last weekend… but Clark was the second judge in the artistic categories! Yay Super Sheller Clark! It was an honor to judge next to him.
Both judges got to choose an exhibit for “Judge’s Special Merit Award” so my ribbon went to this spectacsheller “Paisley” by Caryl Renz
Clark gave his Judge’s Special Merit Award to “Ruby Slippers Redefined” by Heather O’Keefe.
There were so many fabshellous works of art for all to enjoy.
It was a treat to meet for the first time some of the artists who created these exceptional art exhibits… like Mary Ella Marra.
Donna Timmerman with her beautiful crochet necklace.
Suzanne Dietsch with her Sailors Valentine.
It was also so much fun to meet and hang out with other shellers like Lee Ann and Dale from Bradenten who were enjoying the exhibits just as much as we were.
And Eva and Chris from Palmetto. We all have so much in common.
It all starts with having the same love of the sea….
Thank you Donna, Nancy, Sally and the whole Sarasota Shell Club for inviting Clark and me to be a special part of your show- we both feel honored.
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.
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!