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Shell blogger’s photography to complement jewelry collection

By Staff | Mar 10, 2015

Pam Rambo (left) and Melissa Congress at the store's new exhibit. CRAIG GARRETT

Shell commerce continues to evolve.

Popular Sanibel blogger Pam Rambo will debut her “Shellography Photography” at the Congress Jewelers shop starting March 16. An afternoon raffle of her artwork is planned. Rambo’s work complements the store’s Sealife by Congress line of jewelry.

Restive to share a passion for shelling and travel, Rambo started her iLoveShelling.com in 2009. The blog shares travel, shelling and photo details. It also attracts thousands of shelling enthusiasts, many posting shelling selfies and beach tips. The blog earned Rambo a profile in the New York Times.

Rambo’s “Shell graphs” photography captures her shelling work on canvas, she said, in two framed sizes. The work is inscribed. She will raffle one of the pieces at 3 p.m. March 16. The art is priced at $60 and $125.

“The photos,” Rambo said, “capture the moments and the reasons why I started beach-combing. And it’s a great fit with Congress.”

This piece will be raffled March 16. CRAIG GARRETT

Having fun is easy for Rambo, who has developed relationships via her blog and has her own shell language. She has the ability to get to know visitors to southwest Florida who go on her shelling trips, in many cases, before they even step foot on the cruise boat. On each shelling trip, Sealife by Congress, the unique shell and nautical-themed jewelry line made by Congress Jewelers gives each cruiser a certificate for a special sterling silver shell they can wear.

“We love to direct our clients to her iLoveShelling blog so they can gain additional knowledge of all that is shells,” said Melissa Congress, co-owner of the jewelry shop in Sanibel. “Having Pam come to our store to debut her beautiful artwork and share her passion for the gifts of the sea is a truly special occasion.”

Rambo’s life is about blogging several times a week, reviewing travel spots, shell finds, mostly responding to queries and posts she gets from island visitors and enthusiasts from around the world. Shelling is a billion-dollar industry, with workshops, trade fairs and collectors counted in the millions. Sanibel’s Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum is considered one of the world’s finest and boasts an unequalled shell collection.

That she sort of stumbled on the idea of writing and responding to bloggers about shelling — what she terms “beach bling” — adds to the joy in her work, said Rambo, an artist by trade and former island merchant. She started the blog in 2009 to troll for interest in gift cards that she had made, with her art on the cards and whimsical inserts reading things like “Happy Hanu-Conch” and “Shell-om.”

She works mostly from a “Shell-abatory” in the bottom room of her Dunes home, collecting and sorting shells, urchins and egg casings. It is a fun and happy room, underlined by a life-sized cardboard Pam Rambo gifted by friends.

Rambo’s role in shelling over five years has evolved, she said, from the adventurer’s joy to serious advocacy. She preaches conservation in her blog, during the many encounters on beaches with her blogging fans in Sanibel and beyond.

Details about the debut and Congress Jewelers are at 472-4177.