Members of the Marco Island Shell Club have been very busy over the summer creating and perfecting crafted items for the Holiday Shell Art Sale. It will be held outdoors in the fresh air at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 1101 Collier Boulevard, on November 27th, and also on December 4th, from 9 AM – 2 PM.
Tables will be spaced out and volunteers will be wearing masks. They are requesting that the public also wear masks. Hand sanitizers and cleaning supplies will be readily available.
The Holiday Shell Art Sale will feature one of a kind holiday ornaments and decorations, jewelry, table flowers, hostess gifts, wall hangings and many more. According to Karen Caster, past President of the Shell Club, due to the abundance of inventory they have decided to hold a 2-day sale event.
According to Cindy Wesolowski, the current President, the Annual Shell Show & Exhibit was canceled in March 2020 due to COVID-19. It would have been their 40th Annual Show. The Club’s weekly workshops have also been postponed till January. They have about 130 members and throughout the year they would meet on a weekly basis and craft all kinds of unique items and members would take projects home over the summer.
This year members used their indoor time to be more creative and crafted mirrors and frames, stem flower arrangements that look just like the real flowers, and many worked with very tiny mini shells to produce jewelry and decorative items—all with shells from our local beaches.
The Marco Island Shell Club is a nonprofit organization and members meet on a weekly basis during season to produce works of art made from seashells and sea life. They usually will have 2-3 shows a year to sell those items. Cindy added that profits go into their education and scholarship funding. They are big proponents of marine biology and environmental studies and they also support educational programs here in the community.
Where They Get Their Shells?
According to member Becky Miller, they buy some of the shells such as the non-local exotic shells. They also get shells donated locally from their members and also receive donations from local residents. Over the years, residents who are moving or downsizing will donate their shell collection to the Shell Club.
Occasionally, the Shell Club will receive a rare or spectacular shell specimen. According to Becky Miller, during the Annual Shell Show they will sell specimen shells that they’ve set aside for this purpose.
If you are a casual seashell hunter, a trip to Marco’s beach is a great way to pass the time and hone your skills. You’ll meet others at the beach doing the same—looking down searching for a nautical treasure. For members of the Shell Club, a trip to the beach means they are looking for particular shells for their craft collection. They are collecting murex, which is pretty common, whelks, olives, jingle shells, colored scallops, shark’s eye and even a worm shell.
What Is the Rarest Local Shell?
Becky Miller emphatically replied, “JUNONIA!” She said that these are deep water shells and if you are very lucky, you might find a good specimen washed ashore after a storm. It is a once or twice in a lifetime encounter. The Junonia’s shell is usually creamy with distinctive dots and are between 1 and 4 inches.
Jackie Lynch also added that during the season, they have presentations about shells by qualified experts and the presentations are free and the public is always welcome. One such presentation was about “Where to Find the Rare Junonia.”
Club President Cindy Wesolowski has stated the Shell Club plans to resume its 40th Annual Shell Show in March 2021.