Saturday, April 23, 2016

{Guest Post} Me, My Shells, and I: Crafting with Seashells Part 3

I'm happy to have Joanna Campbell Slan guest posting again today. You can find part two here.

Me, My Shells, and I:
Crafting with Seashells

By Joanna Campbell Slan

~ Part 3 ~

I have a large sea shell collection which I keep scattered on beaches all over the world. Maybe you've seen it. -- Steven Wright

Here in Florida, people joke about the “Sanibel Stoop.” That’s the name we’ve given to the bent-over position that shell seekers adopt as they hunt for treasure. To a shell seeker, the perfect seashell is just a few feet farther up the beach. Cara Mia Delgatto and her friends spend a lot of time combing the beaches on the east coast of Florida. Besides finding wondrous seashells, they also pick up garbage that is harmful to sea creatures. I urge you to do the same. A soda straw, a bit of plastic twine, a plastic bag, or a fishhook could prove lethal to an endangered sea turtle.

Of course, you need to stay safe, too. Be sure to wear a lot of sunscreen, especially on the back of your neck and the tops of your ears. Take a bottle of water and stay hydrated.

Here are my best shell seeking tips:

1. Low tide is the best time for collecting shells. Full moons are thought to be the best time of month, too.
2. Winter versus summer? I’ve heard it said that the best shells are on the beach in the winter, and I’m not sure about that. However, I can tell you that shells seem to be seasonal. You find different shells at different times of year, so don’t let the season discourage you.
3. After the storm, you find the most shells ever, bar none.
4. On public beaches, you’ll want to get out there early, before the crowd. On weekdays, when fewer people are off of work, you are more likely to find good shells on public beaches.
5. Location, location, location. Ask the locals where to find the best shells. Also, the farther you go from parking places, the better the shell selection.
6. There are three major places where you’ll want to search for shells: the wrack line, the water line, and the surf.
a. Wrack Line – Generally the debris left by the most recent high tide. To search for shells here, you need to move aside seaweed and clutter. The shells you’ll find will be dull looking, because they’ve dried out.
b. Water Line – As the waves recede, they leave behind shells. Sometimes you have to move quickly to grab a shell before the next wave comes up. I find that wearing sunglasses makes it harder to see because of the glare, so I usually wear a hat with a brim.
c. Surf Line – On occasion, you’ll find a spot where the topology of the ocean floor causes it to dump a lot of shells on a shelf in shallow water before washing things up on the sand.

Next I’ll tell you how to prep your shells and how to attach them to your projects.

~To be continued~

About the Author: As soon as she finishes her writing chores for the day, Joanna Campbell Slan hooks the leash onto her dog, Jax, and they go for a walk on the beach. Her most recent book—All Washed Up—is set on the Treasure Coast of Florida and features Cara Mia Delgatto, an entrepreneur who recycles, upcycles, and repurposes d├ęcor items with a coastal theme. You can see a few of Joanna’s favorite things at or contact her at You can read two of Joanna’s books free here: and

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