Sunday, January 23, 2011
Confessions of a Shell Seeker
Seashells have always fascinated me. When I was young, my mother would take us to Folly Beach in South Carolina. All of us would come back sunburned, but my red shoulders and neck announced I’d spent the visit stooped over, collecting shells.
On the way to the beach, we stopped at a shell shop. The bounty astonished me, and I vowed I would search the shores until I found some of the cool shells on display. (I certainly couldn’t afford to buy them.)
Many years later, I realized those shells came from all over the world, and most were collected while “occupied.” That's not a good idea. Although I try to avoid picking up shells that are occupied, sometimes it happens. Once I put a bunch of seashells in the trunk of my car without boiling them first. (Boiling is a good way to make sure the shells are really empty.) After a couple of hours of driving, I needed something from the trunk. Whooooeee, what a smell! That was a lesson I've taken to heart.
I wish we'd had the internet back when I was a kid, because I could have learned how to clean and preserve shells from experts. This is a great resource: website.
Now I live six miles to one of the best shelling spots in the world, Blowing Rocks Nature Preserve. I’ve been visiting regularly, collecting glorious specimens. My absolute favorite are these orange scallops.
My sister Jane showed me a mirror that a friend made for her, all from shells he collected at Blowing Rocks. Today, I tried my hand at making my own shell mirror. The results are below.
To learn more about what I did, how I did it, what it cost, and what I wouldn’t do again, go to my personal blog.
How about you? Do you love seashells?