Alluring Shells

Photo by Paul Brennan

Shells, another word for home where salt and fresh water mollusks dwell and land crabs and snails. Shells give the same protection as our homes do. Though, the critter that builds it's own home is constantly working, building it's home larger as the critter grows bigger. Never having the thought of how it looks or what colors it is creating. The critter is just doing it's thing. Doesn't even know or care that we humans treasure the house that they built.

And treasure we do. Our ancestors valued shells so much they used them as a form of currency. "Shell money usually consisted of whole or partial sea shells, often worked into beads or otherwise shaped. The use of shells in trade began as direct commodity exchange, the shells having value as body ornamentation." ( Wikipedia )

Money Cowry shells        Olive shells

The most common shells used around the ancient world was the cowry shell family. Across the world one can see the cowry shells used for ornaments and they were traded for food, household tools and material. Other shells held in high regard were clam, abalones for their rainbow of colors, whelks, olive, scallops (just to name a few) and especially the shells that had the color purple. Abalone shells were considered a luxury and were used in art forms such as jewelry, sculpture and inlay.

Lion Paw scallop shell and a small pink abalone shell.

Our love for shells was brought into our work with a sole concept of augmenting the beauty that nature had already created. The hardness of the shells we use makes them great for holding jewelry, treasures, candy, soap, potpourri and even some can hold dips and water. We leave that up to ones imagination. Plus their durability can handle the heat we use to form our metal designs. Incorporating other of the Earths treasure like gemstones and crystals, pearls, wood and bone.

Don and I love the process of collecting shells and other materials and then being inspired by them to see what we may create. Our biggest joy is the people who love them. Seeing the smiles of wonder and delight in the whimsical stories that each shell tells. We have seen frowns turn to smiles on thousands of faces over the many years and that's when we know we have served our purpose of bringing happiness.

shells collected on Sanibel Island, FL

Shells Don and I collected on Sanibel Island, FL in one day. Was truly a special and prosperous day at Blind Pass.

Shell Bowls


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  • Ann Marie Peterson on

    I love your beautiful work and I miss your beautiful smiles!

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