Shell artist to return to Sanibel Shell Festival after hiatus
After an eight-year hiatus, shell artist Goz Gosselin will return to the Sanibel Shell Festival on March 5-7 on Sanibel with 16 shell floral arrangements and shadow boxes, exhibited non-competitively.
Prior to arriving in Southwest Florida, Gosselin was a florist known for arrangements in the Hartford, Connecticut area. When he and his wife, Terri, retired, they moved to Sanibel and built a home. Terri Gosselin was not used to her husband being home 24/7 and when she saw the blurb in the newspaper about the Shell Crafters, she suggested that he might like to take part. The group meets weekly to learn, teach and create shell art, which is sold at the festival as a fundraiser for The Community House.
Gosselin’s visit to the Shell Crafters was the beginning of a love affair with shell art. He worked with and volunteered with the group for 26 years. Gosselin learned the basics of creating shell flowers from the group and soon developed his own style and techniques, using his floral arrangement experience. He was awarded blue ribbons and top awards during the 20-plus years he exhibited at the festival. He and his wife started Goz-Fine Shell Art and produced over 800 pieces during the eight years they ran it.
In 2012, Gosselin created his largest free standing work, titled “Shellabration,” which he and his wife subsequently donated to the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum. It is displayed with a brass plaque dedicating it to the memory of his wife, who passed away in 2013. Shellabration took 200 hours to complete, 16 of which were arranging the flowers in the container. The piece received numerous awards at the 75th show, including Best in Show, Special Judge’s Award and People’s Choice Award.
Another of his arrangements is on display at the Sanibel Public Library, titled “Millennium.”
Gosselin retired from shell art and donated his shells, supplies and samples to the Shell Crafters. While he has some of his work at his Shell Point apartment, he made the declaration that he did not have a single loose shell. In fact, he recently had to get shells from a fellow artist to repair one of his pieces.
For more information, visit www.sites.google.com/site/sanibelshellfestival.