I went to the shell show

Today was the last day of the Sarasota Shell Show at the Municipal Auditorium. I went with a friend of mine, Catherine…a fellow birder and Hokie fan. There was an amazing array of shells from all over the world. In the center of the auditorium were displays. Along the side, vendors with their wares and in the back, on stage, entries to the competition.

Jewelry was not represented as much as I thought it would be and, although there was some, I was disappointed with what I saw. I suppose I rely on these shows to give me ideas more than I expect them to be a shopping experience. 

It seemed most vendors were selling shells (which I came for). There were several shell artists with shell decorated mirrors and picture frames.  Some had made flower arrangements with their colorful shells.  These amaze me because they’re so pretty.  I’d love to figure out how to make a flower.  I’d have to give it as a gift because I hate dusting and I’m sure they’d be great dust collectors. 

My favorite was the artful work of Silvia, whose business card was a signed clam shell. She had taken the shells that no one wants, broken shells and the old beach worn pieces, and glued them together to make incredible floral-looking displays. She had table center pieces, Christmas tree arrangements, book ends. From afar they looked dainty and fragile probably because of the holes from being pounded by surf, but up close they looked strong and beautiful. She would probably email you some pictures of her work if you’re interested. She also told us she does private classes. Her email address is allan.aga@gmail.com.

Another artist was Bill Jordan. Bill made Sailor’s Valentines and other miniature displays. His work was astonishing and I highly suggest going to his website, http://www.Sailors-Valentine.com. He showed us some of his tools for creating and pointed us to his DVD which shows, step-by-step, how to make a sailor’s valentine.

Although many artists had shell-decorated mirrors and picture frames, one in particular stood out.  Joyce Arms (Siesta Shell Sensations) had a very unique eye for them.  She took black to grey to white shells and designed a mirror frames and picture frames with them.  Black and White? you ask.  Well yes it was stunning, actually.  And in these picture frames were paintings, by her, of night-time ocean scenery in the grey/blue tones.  It was a really creative look.   We picked up a card and her number (in case you want to see these frames for yourself) is 941-349-5059.

I loved the trip to the shell show. It was inspiring, amazing and fun. I did spend some money; I bought several shells that I’ll either stick in a drawer or actually do something with. I’m very interested in taking a class from Silvia and perhaps I can interest enough friends to go with me. I have a ton of shells in my collection; most sitting in drawers and boxes. I have hundreds of sand dollars, too. I didn’t see anything, aside from a glazed and sparkled Christmas ornament, made from sand dollars. That’s surprising but perhaps its because they break so easily. I’ll have to come up with something to make using my sand dollars, other than a tree ornament.

If you missed the show this year, you had better go next year.  Don’t miss out.  The Sarasota Shell Club meets on the second Thursday of each month at Mote Marine Lab.  Meetings start at 7pm.  www.sarasotashellclub.com

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