MICA: Celebrate seashells at the show

Single Sailor Valentine.


Single Sailor Valentine.

Left-handed crown conch.


Left-handed crown conch.

For those of us who have walked Residents’ Beach, our fascination with seashells is almost universal. Think how many children hold shells to their ears to hear the ocean!

The Marco Island Shell Club is celebrating seashells at its 29th annual Shell Show this week. Held at the Marco Presbyterian Church, 875 West Elkcam Circle, the show provides an opportunity to learn about shells in their natural state, and to see them put to use in all kinds of arts and crafts.

Opening day for the show was Thursday, and it continues through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Admission and parking are free.

The Marco Island Shell Club is a friendly and enthusiastic 501(c)(3) non-profit organization for shell enthusiasts at all levels of interest and expertise. Each year, the club funds grants and scholarships for the study of marine biology and/or environmental sciences. The club supports local students who are studying ways to improve the Gulf Coast of Southwest Florida, including the Ten Thousand Islands. The Shell Show is the primary fundraiser for the Shell Club.

This is a juried show, and the judges this year are Robert Lipe (Seminole) and Dr. Gary Schmelz (Naples) for the scientific division, and Phyllis Gray (Orlando) and Betty Lipe (Seminole) for artistic. Among the show’s highlights are outstanding examples of shell art competing for prizes in 36 categories. These include shells combined to make magnificent sailor’s valentines and to replicate beautiful floral arrangements.

In the scientific competition, there are wonderful natural specimens in “single shell” as well as “shell collection” categories, which include local shells and others from around the world. These exhibits are appraised for their quality and scientific accuracy.

Every Tuesday during season, the Marco Island Shell Club artists meet to make shell arts and crafts, including shell jewelry. Club members will be selling these at the show, along with local seashells and sand dollars. Once again, there are some wonderful prizes for the raffle drawing!

There is a lovely solid wood glass-topped display stand with beautiful specimen shells under the glass lid. For relaxing on cool Florida evenings, there is a shell-themed throw and pillow. Also, the Shell Club’s own Carole Stavenas has created a variety of stunning shell art pieces, including floral arrangements, a cake, a Christmas tree in a lovely ceramic pot, a big basket of gorgeous shells, a shell-filled hurricane glass with lid, and a glass fish filled with shells.

This show promises to be one of Marco Island’s best events. Bring your family and friends — you don’t want to miss these amazing treasures of the sea!

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