Sunday, December 4, 2011

She Sells Sea Shells

We have been to St. Augustine beach quite a bit this year, enjoying the surf and collecting sea shells.

We are collecting them for a few reasons, one of them being we are trying to put together a presentation of Native Pre contact living and we need certain shells for utility and adornment.

Natives used shells for everything, and they were traded as far North as Canada.

The other reason we collect sea shells is that we are both Beach Bums from way back. I grew up on the shores of Lake Superior and Doyle grew up on the Little Cedar River, so we have an extensive back round in filling our pockets with treasure.

We were agate pickers mostly, which are scarce and hard to find for the most part, so imagine our joy when we discovered that one of the few benefits from Hurricane Irene was that it is a bountiful year for picking shells!

We probably overdid it, but we do have projects and shells do pack down nicely and weigh less than most times one collects on the road. the entire lot of shells above fit easily into one plastic tote.

Every shell was sorted, cleaned in Muratic acid, oiled with almond oil, and then packed according to type and future use. I guess I take my organization a bit too far, but it makes it easier for when it's time to pull them out and use them.

Here is one of Doyles first projects, this is a recreation of an ornament, (Gorget), from a mound site in Alabama.

He used stone age tools to create it and I must say, it's very nice.

I plan on gifting many of my finds as well as putting together a complete set to dishes and utility tools for my re enacting.

I especially like strange and odd finds, shells that have worn away and pieces of shell oddities.

Doyle likes them perfect, so lets just say I have way many more shells than he does!

My favorites are conch or whelk shells that have worn away to become what I call "roses". Just the center spiral remains and the tip worn off to create what looks like a flower.

I am not alone in my fondness for these nature made sculptures, ancient cultures not only used these for tools, they were a coveted and favorite ornament.

We did find some beautiful perfect type specimens. but I find myself hovering nearer to the shells that show both time and wear.

I like to image the original occupant of this ocean mobile house, sliding across the floor of the sea, seeking love and adventure while gorging on shellfish. Such a unique creature of antiquity, the first true Full Time RVer!

2 comments:

Chuck and Anneke's RV travels said...

That is a lot of shells. where do you store them all?

Doyle and Terri Johnson said...

Actually they all nest very nicely inside of each other, all of these shells fit into one 20x12x15 tote with a few we decorated our living area with.

We don't do a lot of collecting and this was an unusual situation as a storm had left an abundance of treasure.

I will be sending many out for Christmas presents, so this will cut down on the clutter too.

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