Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Beach Combing

Seashell,  hard exoskeleton of marine mollusks such as snails, bivalves, and chitons that serves to protect and support their bodies. It is composed largely of calcium carbonate secreted by the mantle, a skinlike tissue in the mollusk’s body wall. Seashells are usually made up of several layers of distinct microstructures that have differing mechanical properties. The shell layers are secreted by different parts of the mantle, although incremental growth takes place only at the shell margin. Seashells may be univalved (as in snails) or bivalved (as in clams), or they may be composed of a series of plates (as in chitons). 

 Shells are frequently ornamented with complex arrangements of spines, folia, ribs, cords, and grooves, which in some species provide protection against predators, give added strength, or assist in burrowing.  Many seashells are brightly coloured in complicated designs by a variety of pigments secreted by special cells in the edge of the mantle. In some cases there is an obvious camouflage function, but in most others the significance of the colours is unclear.

Seashells are collected all over the world because of their endless diversity, elegance of form, and bright colours. They also have been used to make jewelry, buttons, inlays, and other decorative items throughout history. In ancient times certain varieties, such as tooth shells and cowrie shells, were even used as money. (Above article is taken from Encyclopedia Brittanica, photos are mine)

After several months of collecting, we've started to clean, sort and think of what to do with all these treasures from the sea. We recently found a small art supply store that has good prices on canvas, so we will pick up a couple and start playing with some art projects.

The process of sorting began, not quite finished yet, looking to get some plastic bins to keep them in, keep them clean and organized. Have been having a rough time trying to find out what my shells are called, who knew there were so many?! I have found some posters with pictures and names, but the wording is so small I can't read the names, maybe on a larger computer screen you can read them.

So I see I've got some Limpets, turkey wings, and Chinese hats. More to come, we were out combing again today for about an hour when the Internet went down. Stay tuned...the shell finding adventure continues!

1 comment:

  1. I have been doing the same thing. Sorting shells. Just bought a dremel tool to put holes in them to string them into windchimes and jewelry. I sorted into baggies