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.
Oh how I love a good mystery….but even better I love a mystery that is solved! Back in November on our iLoveShelling shelling cruise to Cayo Costa, I met Ken and Candace from Missouri who showed me a piece of “BEACH BLING“.
They found it on the beach at the Island Inn on Sanibel where they were staying. After looking at the shape, the texture and by feeling the light weight of it, I told her I thought it was some sort of BRYOZOAN COLONY but those darker spots on it were throwing me off a little. Hmmmmm…. could it be a CORAL? Naaaaa….. but those spots. I’ve seen this type of piece before but I couldn’t place it.
Here’s the weird thing… Later that afternoon Trisha James posted this photo on iLoveShelling Facebook page saying she found this piece on Navarre Beach, Florida. OMG There it is again! But now I recognize that longer shape a little more because I saw a display of this very same thing in February at the Sarasota Shell Show. I also remembered there was a cool story that went along with piece of bling as well.
So I tore through all of my photos (I am soooo not an organized person so trust me, this is quite a task- ha!) to find this one picture of Doug Thompson’s TEXAS LONGHORN exhibit. Aha! That’s right! It’s a TEXAS LONGHORN!
And here is the story Doug Thompson added to his very cool exhibit…
“ This structure is built by a colony of tiny marine animals of the phylum Bryozoa, genus Hippoporidra, species (on our Atlantic coast) not known. Much as the coral polyps build large reefs, so these little bryozoa build the Longhorn, starting with a small deposit of calcareous material on a shell or shell fragment, and building in the coil outward until it is large enough to sustain the weight of the horns. After the horns are started, the whole building continues to grow, sometimes reaching an over-all span of six inches.
All this design and growth is not with purpose: the Texas Longhorn houses a small hermit crab whose full name isPylopagurus corallinus (Benedict). He differs from most other hermits in that his body lacks the twist to the left which makes it possible for other species to inhabit dead snails, most of which open to the right. Pylopagurus corallinus has a small, straight body because the spiral cavity he occupies is all on one plane. Like other hermits he has a shelly anterior and a soft, defenseless abdomen.”
You can read the rest of this fascinating information – CLICK HERE.
So the mystery was solved! But… then the holidays came along (and blah blah blah) and I never posted about them… so fast forward to this week when I saw all of the off the hook shells that Tam Tam from Michigan found. She also found a TEXAS LONGHORN! I knew exactly what it was but realized I never posted about it.
So I’m thrilled I saw Tam Tam’s cool bling and thank you Candace for showing me your TEXAS LONGHORN on our cruise together then sending photos. And thank you Trisha for posting your photos to jog my memory of the Sarasota Shell Show exhibit.
Now we know… TEXAS LONGHORNS. And have several more symbiotic relationships.
Join us for a Shelling Adventure!
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!
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).
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…
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.
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.
This was a lucky moment! I got June Bailey (on the left) and Nora Bevard together with her winning piece…
Phyllis picked this stunning miniature piece by Anni Ferretti for her Judges Special Merit Award…
There was a jewelry category as well. Sharlene Totten won for her lovely jewelry piece..
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!
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!
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…
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 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!
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!
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!
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!
PS- The 2013 76th Sanibel Shell Fair and Show will be coming up soon too March 7,8 and 9!