Chasing A Number

The pressure is on to find and collect 2,511 seashells for my installation at Creative Pinellas in May. This week I decided to up my game and visited numerous beaches in search of shells. I searched high and low, as in Honeymoon Island all the way down to Fort De Soto. As luck would have it, Pennsylvania lucines just aren’t prevalent right now (this time last year there were tons). I previously mentioned there would be challenges along the way as I build this installation, and this is a biggie. The clock is ticking and I have to get these shells collected, cleaned, painted, glazed, stamped, glued, and hung. Um, that comes out to just over 15,000 steps between me and a completed installation. Yes, I’m a bit frustrated, but the view from my “office” lately is pretty fabulous:

Not to worry, because all of that beach exploring throughout Pinellas county yielded a solution: buttercup lucines! Every beach I visited featured these lovely cousins of my highly sought after Pennsylvania lucines, and visually they are pretty similar. The buttercups come with a bonus – they tend to be a larger shell, which means that much more area to occupy space in the installation. Buttercups are officially in! Decision made, challenge overcome, on to the next! Here is shot of the two types of shells next to one another:

Of course I was dying to get back out to collect my new buttercup shell friends, and then the big bad cold front arrived. I’m super dedicated to this project, but shelling in 38 degree weather is not for me. Fortunately we live in a beautiful, magical place where cold weather doesn’t last, and I was back at it in no time. I strolled out onto the sand this morning, excited to gather all those buttercup shells I had seen a few days back, and wouldn’t you know it – they’re gone! It’s as though a big cold front came through, kicked up some waves, and completely changed the beach landscape. Again, not to worry, because do you know what I found all over the freaking beach?… Pennsylvania lucines! LOL! Obviously I’m completely at the mercy of the ocean and I’m trusting in the journey and the process, and I seriously laughed out loud, alone on the beach, as I picked up close to 150 pristine Pennsylvania lucine shells in the span of about 30 minutes. Thanks, universe!

As of today, here is the current shell scoreboard:

Weather and ocean permitting, I intend to make a significant dent in that number between now and next week. I’ll take all the good vibes, good luck, and good juju you care to send my way!

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