Monday, October 10, 2011


Pictured here is a Sailors Valentine I entered in the 2011 Philly Shell Club Art Show this past weekend and I could not be prouder.  As you can see it won first place and a “Judge’s Special Award”!  Now some of you may think that I could not get home fast enough to gloat about this in my blog but you would be very wrong. Take a look at the blue card in the picture and you will see my name is not Anna, but I did enter it in the show at least give me credit for that.
So who is this award winning artist Anna Fastenau who created this Sailors Valentine at the age of 12 !!!!!  Yes, that’s what I said “twelve” years old! Well if you think that is surprising believe me it only gets better.
During the summer of 2010 I would meet with Anna at her home on Monday afternoons and spend 2 to 3 hours showing her how I go about creating a Sailors Valentine.  We then moved on to “Pocket Watch Pendants”. The following picture is her first creation inside an old pocket watch case after the movement was removed.
I did supply her with the case and some of the shells as well as the Cameo removed from an old pair of ear rings. I showed her how to set up the watch using tools and devices  I have devised over time to do this type of shell art.
Now the one point I want to make perfectly clear is that all the shell work inside the case was her own work. I would show her how to go about installing the shells on one Monday and on the following Monday I would review her work. Now the only work I did on this watch was to set the Cameo in place and nothing more. Yes there were times of trial and error and in the beginning stages I would say to her “if at any time you feel you do not want to continue just let me know”, but she stuck with it to the end.
Now you might think that’s the end of the story as I did, but it just so happens it is not.
About a month ago I gave Anna’s mother a call and told her I would be entering the Shell Art Show in Philly and if Anna would like I would be happy to enter her Valentine and Pocket Watch Pendant in the Show. So about a week before the show I stopped by to pick up both items and of course Anna was now a “LOT OLDER” 13 to be exact lol. When I entered their  home they both stood in the door way in front of me and said “we have a surprise for you”, and what a surprise it was.
I could not believe what I was seeing. Anna had created this new Pocket Watch Pendant “completely” on her own. The last lesson I had given her was in the early fall of 2010 and at times during the summer of 2011 I wondered if all the time I had spent with her was of value. Well there was my answer staring me in the face. I still can hardly believe what she accomplished.  There are many rewarding experiences in the world of shell art.  But the greatest ones for me do not always show up in the form of Blue Ribbons for myself but in the Blue Ribbons of others like Anna.
First Place for her Sailors Valentine and First Place for her Pocket Watch Pendant! I could not be more proud of her accomplishments!
Now there is one small concern I do have about all of this. In the following picture Anna does have an adoring little smile and looking at it makes me wonder if her next goal in Shell Art is to put me in second place, it could happen! But even if she did  I will always be grateful knowing I played a small role in her success.
So time will tell. You will just have to come and see her entries in the 2012 Sanibel Show the first week in March to find out who wins the most Blue Ribbons. See you then!

1 comment:

  1. Along with you, Bill, I am very proud of Anna. I remember the day she came to me and said she was interested in making shell flowers. We did a class in my basement and I realized she was serious. She has advanced, with her talent as an artist and with your persistent help.