There is a story told of a sailor aboard a whaling ship in the 1800`s creating a shell mosaic similar to the one pictured here. (Sailors Valentines by John Fondas published in 2002)
The story revolves around this one sailor collecting shells from foreign shores and arranging them inside a compass case. Using some of the shells he wrote the words “TO MY VALENTINE”, as pictured here in this Traditional Style Reproduction of 2010, http://www.sailors-valentine.com/. There are those who claim the story is true and others say it is a tale of folklore. For me we should never stray from this romantic story and for the moment imagine the size of the world in the early 1800`s. Your loved one is at sea in the pursuit of whales for their valuable oil. You know with luck he may be gone on average for four years and try your best not to think of the stories of men lost at sea. Each day you climb to your widows' walk with searching eyes over the vastness of the sea, at a loss as to what lies beyond the horizon and pray for his safe return. Then that long awaited prayerful day arrives with his return bearing gifts along with stories of foreign lands and an eight sided case that opens like a book. Inside protected under a layer of glass is an arrangement of the most colorful and beautiful shells ever seen, beyond anyone's wildest imagination, with three words spelled out in shells:“To My Valentine”. That moment must have been a breathtaking one filled with love and pride to say the least. As days went on the story went out “Did you get to see that sailor's Valentine gift”? So whether you wish to call it a Shell Mosaic or a Sailors Valentine is not important. The truth is it remains to this day one of the most precious and loving gifts one can ever create for another. I feel sure St. Valentine would agree.
VALENTINES from the 1800`s
Nancy P.Rosin Collection
Four Winds Craft Guild