Westport resident Lisa Givens is a self-proclaimed shell-o-holic. If you were to search the term on Google, Lisa's shell-centered blog would appear in the top spot of the results.
But what exactly is a shell-o-holic? It's someone who loves seashells, of course.
"I'm crazy about shells," said Lisa, a Long Island, N.Y., native. "I've collected them since I was a kid, maybe 5 years old."
Lisa is more than just a collector, though: She's a shell artist.
"I like to find things and shell them," she said. "I've always been crafty, and I always loved shells, so the two just came together naturally."
In 2009, Lisa, 43, took her passion for shell art to the next level when she entered the Sanibel Shell Show in Florida, an annual competition for shell artists, where she won a second place ribbon for her picture frame.
Though shell art wasn't new to her, the competition inspired Lisa to go beyond creating shell-tastic works for her friends and family. By the end of last year, she launched her website, Sea Shell Finery , her Fine Shell Art blog , and a virtual storefront on Etsy , a marketplace for all things handmade.
"I'm happy with the response I've gotten in a short amount of time," she said.
Shell-encrusted mirrors, boxes, trays and sandals are among the items Lisa creates, but shell-encrusted picture frames are her specialty. And if you think creating shell art is as easy as gluing a few shells to an existing item, think again.
"With big frames, I stop counting after 10 hours" of work, Lisa said. "It's all very time consuming because you work one piece at a time. And if something doesn't work, you break it down and start over again."
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