Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Sea Shells

You no doubt know the old rhyme "She sells sea shells sitting by the seashore", a tongue twister. There is something about a shell gathering adventure along the shore that brings back pleasant childhood memories: summer camping trips by the seashore with days spent on the sandy shore and evenings around the campfire smelling of salt and smoke.

"A seashell or sea shell, also known simply as a shell, is a hard, protective outer layer created by an animal that lives in the sea. The shell is part of the body of the animal. Empty seashells are often found washed up on beaches by beachcombers. The shells are empty because the animal has died and the soft parts have been eaten by another animal or have rotted out.
The term seashell usually refers to the exoskeleton of an invertebrate (an animal without a backbone). Most shells that are found on beaches are the shells of marine mollusks, partly because many of these shells endure better than other seashells.
 Apart from mollusk shells, other shells that can be found on beaches are those of barnacles, horseshoe crabs and brachiopods. Marine annelid worms in the family Serpulidae create shells made of calcareous tubes cemented onto other surfaces. The shells of sea urchins are called tests, and the moulted shells of crabs and lobsters are called exuviae. While most seashells are external, some cephalopods have internal shells." (Wikipedia)

Shells have been used as "money" or a medium of exchange, as tools (because of their strength and useful shapes), as a source of calcium carbonate and calcium for gardens, and as musical instruments. Shells also have many uses as decorations and adornments, as charms, in crafts and in art  such as the Birth of Venus (Botticelli).

Also along the shore is a diverse selection of seaweed, algae and kelp.

Introduced products such as worn fragments of glass, creamics and metals (nails and pipes and discarded metal containers) also add colour and sometimes controversy.

And of course the rocks, pebbles and sand on the beach are colourful because they have been wet by the ocean and the colours enhanced by many small fragments of shell.


A worn dranage pipe adds interesting colour and shapes.

Here are a few bits of driftwood that excaped from the driftwood post a couple of weeks ago:

So to end here are the rest of the words to that old tongue twister:

"She sells sea-shells on the sea-shore.
The shells she sells are sea-shells, I'm sure.
For if she sells sea-shells on the sea-shore
Then I'm sure she sells sea-shore shells."

Here is a recently finished painting of sea shells, called "What goes around..". It is a watercolour.

This has been another scheduled post, I hope you have enjoyed this walk along the shore.

Thank you for dropping by, and happy Whimsy Wednesday, until next week .....


  1. oh, gillian, that painting is gorgeous! the color, the light! fabulous!!!

    and you're a woman after my own heart - i love exploring even the tiniest of things like pebbles and bits in the dirt. :) i'd be a mess if i lived near a shore.

  2. I, too, love the colours and light in your painting, Gillian.

    So many wonderful photos and information here. Some favourites? The shapes etched out in the worn drainage pipe, the second driftwood photo that seems to depict a vulnerable, alien creature and to my surprise, the nail shots against the wooden texture. And, thank you for inspiring me to google Botticelli's "Birth of Venus."

  3. The sea is full of treasures!

    And what a gorgeous watercolour! You're very talented.

  4. Seashells always remind me of a collection my nana had in her home, she'd get me to them up to my ear to 'hear the sea'.

  5. As always you find the textures and colours we might walk right by. I enjoy all your photos Gillian.

  6. You always post the most interesting, beautiful blogs filled with fascinating information and stunning images. One of my favorite things to do when visiting my parents in Florida is stroll the beach looking for lovely shells.

    Wonderful shell painting, as well! gorgeous colors.

  7. Gillian, beautiful post and images. I love to explore the beach looking for shells and seaglass. Your painting is just gorgeous. Hope you have a happy weekend.

  8. Another amazing painting. I really like how you organized your photography and grouped up the different shells, metals etc. It's always a treat to see how you'll put it all together into your final product. Wonderful! Have a good weekend!

  9. A plethora of information and sea shells. The watercolor is magnificent! Love the colors.

  10. I just love to look for sea shells on the seashore.. I have jars full of shell I have found. Although I have only ever found a few pieces of sea glass. I enjoyed your post and your painted is wonderful. You are so talented..


  11. Beautiful shells, and, your painting is out of this world, an artist within.

  12. In my high school days, a teacher of English language would teach the difference of pronunciations between s and sh by using “She sells sea shells・・・・・”. Sea shells reminds me of sweet memories in my childhood, and sound nostalgic!! All shells are so beautiful!
    Have a great week.

  13. While looking at your beautiful shots of sea and sand life, I was hoping to see a creative painting of shells and there it was. Gorgeous work!

  14. What a wonderful post Gillian... the images are all fantastic.
    I really must plan a trip to the seaside.

  15. What a beautiful array of shells and other items. The textures, colours and designs sure do please the eye. As does your lovely painting. Thanks for such a pretty post, Gillian.

  16. Nice photographs and I love the soft colors in the painting.

  17. Wonderful sea finds, always a joy to beach comb and make discoveries.