Kini & Kimi Visit the
67th Annual Sanibel
Shell Fair & Show

Sanibel, Florida 2004


How It All Began  ||  The 2004 Shell Show ||   Ribbons  || The Fair & Other Stories

As dictated by Kini....

How It All Began:

Many years ago, Amy's grandmother, Helen Coolidge Woodring or Nana, started doing shellwork. In 1963, she took her art work to the Sanibel Shell Fair & Show. She won two first-place blue ribbons.

Thirty-one years later and long after Nana's death, Amy decided to try her hand at doing the same kind of shellwork. Amy wanted to carry on Nana's unique style which incorporates animals, tapestry designs, and other fun creations, and is proud to use only natural colored shells and sea life just like Nana did.

Melissa Woodring Jager, Amy's mother, had inherited half of Nana's shell collection, the other half belonged Cooper Coolidge Woodring, Amy's uncle. Not too long ago, Uncle Cooper and Melissa bartered and traded allowing Nana's shell collection to be reunited in Virginia. 

Amy made a mini raid on her mom's house and started to plan out her first design. No sooner had she started than she realized that she needed some other colors and kinds of shells. So, in the summer of 2002, Amy, her mom, and Kimi and I headed off to Sanibel, Florida to search the beaches and the stores....

K & K on the car windshield at the
Sanibel Light House

K & K with mom at dawn
combing the beach for shells



K & K and mom
sorting and washing

K & K shopping for starfish



K & K looking at a strange palm tree

Beautiful pectins in all sorts of colors are displayed in the Sanibel Shell Museum. These brightly colored shells come from warm water oceans.



These are sailor's valentines in the Shell Museum. They are made completely out of shells and in the olden days they were given to sweethearts by sailors or tourists returning from the islands (mostly Barbados).

This is a wonderful example of how to make a sailor's valentine. It is also in the Sanibel Shell Museum. Paper edges and sections are made then shells are glued into place to form geometric designs.




The 2004 Shell Show:

Melissa, Amy, Kimi, and I packed up all the artwork and drove to Florida.
Jennifer (Amy's sister) flew down a few days later to be there for the award banquet
and to hunt for shells. Indeed, Jen took all the pictures and drove us all the way back - 16 hours!

And of course, Nana was with us always.

Below are some stories and pictures of the new friends we all met....

  Audrey Hostetter, Amy, and Kimi and I are standing next to Audrey's beautiful Hobbyist Master Class winning flower arrangement made out of a lot of fabulous shells. Even the flowers at the bottom are shells!

Audrey was sort of like Amy's mommy bird - Amy was a lost baby bird entering her first show, so Audrey took her under her wing. She helped Amy enter the show and introduced her to many wonderful new friends.

Audrey did a lot of work to help put this show together - and she still had time to help a first timer! Kimi and I heard Amy say that some day she would like to be as wonderful an artist and helpful a person as Audrey is now.

The first day we were shopping, Amy met Sandi Blanda. Sandi was on the floor of the Sanibel Seashell Industries shop sorting through a huge pile of colorful pectins (like in the picture at the museum). Amy sat down too & they started to talk & became friends.

This picture shows some of Sandi's sailor's valentines. Beautiful!


  We got to meet another Sandy, Sandy Moran. Sandy's work is also stunning & she is delightful. She helped show us around, told us stories about her work and shells, and introduced us to other artists.

Another great friend!

Goz Gosselin (on the left, sitting down) was another wonderful person we met. He used to be a florist, but then he found he could create flowers out of shells. He never looked back!

When he entered his first show as a new hobbyist, he entered 8 categories. Amy entered 7 this year.

Jack is in the white shirt standing up and Wanda is sitting on the right at the front of the picture.





It is cliché, but true: everyone who entered the show was a winner - even if they didn't walk away with any ribbons. Kimi and I decided we would never be a judge for artwork of any kind - it would be too hard. ALL the works were so beautiful and we know a few people's hearts were broken.
Art is a tricky thing to judge!

Before we see the photos of some of the winners works, Amy, Kimi, and I had a long talk about copyright laws and privacy on the Internet.

Kimi and I wanted to show all the winners' works and put their names on the net with pictures of their art. We thought everyone would love it. But then Amy, who works at the Dalton Intermediate School in Radford, VA, with 7th & 8th graders in the computer lab, said that it may not be such a good idea.

Basically, what Amy told us was that an artist, just like any other person, owns the rights to their art work and, of course, they own their name. They might not want their work and/or name plastered all over the Internet on other people's sites. So, Kimi and I decided not to post other people's names and art work on the net without their permission. We want to, but it just wouldn't be right! With that in mind, Amy is posting only what she entered in the show.

Hobbyist Category
# and Name
Name / Ribbon / or Trophy Photo

#30 Miniature Picture
small shells &/or other sea life
max. 6x8 in.
table top only

Dog & Bunny
Third Place Ribbon

#35 Holiday Decoration
Any holiday
max. 36Hx24W in.
table top only

All Creatures Great & Small
First Place Ribbon
(Easter Theme)
Bettie K. McGowan
Memorial Trophy
Best Holiday Exhibit

#39 Flower Picture
shells &/or other sea life
max. 36Hx24W in.
wall hung only

Spring Meadow
Second Place Ribbon

# 40 Picture or Mosaic other than Flowers
shells &/or other sea life
max. 36Hx24W in.
wall hung only

Winter's Gallop
No Ribbon

#44 Miscellaneous
not applicable to any other classes
max. 36Hx24W in.
wall hung only

No Ribbon

#43 Shell Table
must be a decorated shell or shell/sea life table

Lamb Table
Second Place Ribbon

#45 Novice Exhibit
has never entered a shell show exhibit anywhere
described in 25-44
table top &/or wall hung

Antique Deer
No Ribbon



The Fair & Other Stories:

Kimi and I were surprised to learn that there were many parts to this Sanibel event. The show part actually had two major categories; the art division (hobbyists & professionals) and the scientific division (bought & self-collected). The fair part was held outside and sold many many shell flower arrangements, animals, and other shell created objects. Some of the pictures are below...


Melissa took a picture of Amy, Jenny, Kimi, and me at the Island Cow Restaurant. Jen loves a late breakfast! We made her get up close to dawn every morning to go to the beach and then we made her wait while we rinsed and sorted shells. She was a one hungry puppy by the time we all got around to eating!


The show was so crowded every day that Amy decided it would be better for us to ride in her back pockets rather than risking us crawling on the floor or tables.

And yes, people did give us odd looks!
But, we enjoyed it.

 We have traveled a lot with Bob and Amy and some of their relatives and friends. But, when we were waiting for them to announce the winners of the show... well, it ranked right up there on the nerves scale with skydiving and the air race!

Remember to visit Bob & Amy's home page and read about them & our other adventures!



Home to Kini & Kimi's Webpage

A note from Amy: A special thanks goes out to Bob, my husband, who sent me off to my first show with love and pride - no matter what; who stayed at home continuing to trip over boxes of shells without complaint; and I think, was rather relieved not to have to spend hours in shell shops picking out broken seahorse tails from bins. Love you & thank you Bob!