Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

She Crafts Sea Shell Art She Shows

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

She Crafts Sea Shell Art She Shows

Article excerpt

Byline: Susan D. Brandenburg

Appropriately for this year's chairwoman of the 40th annual Shell Show & Sale, Judy Blocker lives in Atlantic Beach's legendary Sand Castle House designed by architect Gerard Vermey.

"My six grandsons go shelling and build sand castles on the beach right in front of our house," Blocker said, "but their sand castles are on a much smaller scale." Blocker, a longtime member of the Jacksonville Shell Club, draws inspiration from her unique residence with its nautical theme, crafting lovely shell creations that have won prizes at previous Jacksonville Shell Shows. This year, she is again competing in the show's arts and crafts category.

"We're bringing the beach to town this year, holding our biggest shell show ever at the Morocco Shrine Auditorium on St. Johns Bluff Road," Blocker said.

To celebrate its 40th anniversary, coordinators expanded the show to include an interactive Shell Circus created by Tom Duhon of Mandarin, "which is a must-see for children of all ages," Blocker said. In addition, there will be displays of worldwide shells, arts and crafts and jewelry, an island flea market featuring unusual shell items for sale, a shell store and a special shell-decorated Christmas tree.

"We've got vendors coming from all over the Southeastern United States and some very prominent judges, including the director of the Sanibel Island Bailey Matthews Shell Museum, for our scientific shell collections as well as our arts and crafts entries," Blocker said.

The Jacksonville Shell Club was established in 1964 and has about 75 members. Monthly meetings are held on the fourth Thursday at the Pablo branch library on Beach Boulevard at 6:30 p.m. Dues are $15 per year.

Members enjoy several outings throughout the year.

"We go to places like Cumberland Island and Cedar Key, and in April we visited the new Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve and saw some magnificent shell displays, among them a display of local shells that we donated," Blocker said. …

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