Show Notes

Send us a Text Message.

Today’s episode is a conversation I had recently with Jessie King Regunberg, author of the book SEARCHING FOR SEASHELLS: An Artist’s Guide to Treasures on the Beach 

It’s all about the enchanting world of seashells and how they have touched our lives and sparked our curiosity. 

Jessie’s book is a testament to her passion for shells, art, and history. It’s filled with 200 hand-painted illustrations, intriguing facts, and interesting stories about shells you might already have in your collection (I know you have one!) and shells you dream of finding—perhaps along a magical moonlit shore or on a sparkly beach at sunrise. 

Now, as you’re admiring all your beautiful shells - ask yourself, what one speaks to your soul? If it could talk, what stories would it tell? 

The beach says, “Like seashells, you are beautiful and unique. Each one has a story to tell - and I’m listening.!”

Poem by: E. E. Cummings (1983). “Hist Whist: And Other Poems for Children”, p.13, W. W. Norton & Company


Jessie King Regunberg is an artist and writer in Washington, DC, living with her husband and three children. She trained as a historian at the University of Pennsylvania, and her knowledge of the past informs all her work. Her projects include fiction and nonfiction, and she feels lucky to be making a career out of the things she loves most.


Searching for Seashells: An Artist's Guide to Treasures on the Beach
By Jessie King Regunberg
Available anywhere you purchase books. Be sure to support your local indie bookseller!

Follow Jessie on Instagram: @jessie.regunberg.paints


Show Transcript

Paige  [00:00:09]:

Hello friends and fellow lovers of all things beachy. Welcome to The Beach Speaks, the podcast that shares stories about the beach and our connection to it. I'm your host and beach lover, Paige Friend, helping you reconnect with the beach, return to your soul, and reimagine your life. Prescription. So grab a cool drink, relax in your beach chair, stick your toes in the sand, and enjoy this episode of The Beach.


Paige  [00:01:09]:

Maggie and Millie and Molly and May went down to the beach to play one day,And Maggie discovered a shell that sang so sweetly, she couldn't remember her troubles.And Millie befriended a stranded star whose rays 5 languid fingers were.And Molly was chased by a horrible thing which raced sideways while blowing bubbles.And May came home with a smooth rounded stone as small as a world and as big as alone.For whatever we lose, like a you or a me,iIt s always ourselves we find in the sea. ~ E. E. Cummings.


Paige  [00:02:07]:

Hey, beach lover. Today's episode is a conversation I had recently with Jesse King Regunberg, author of the book, Searching for Seashells, an artist's guide to treasures on the beach. It's all about the enchanting world of seashells and how they've touched our lives and sparked our curiosity. Jesse's book is a testament to her passion for shells, art, and history, and it's filled with 200 hand painted illustrations, intriguing facts, and interesting stories about shells that you might already have in your collection. I know you have one, and shells that you dream of finding, perhaps along a magical moonlit shore or a sparkly beach at sunrise. So let's go on a beach walk. Close your eyes, and imagine the sand between your toes as you walk barefoot, beach bucket in hand, out onto a quiet remote beach, stopping at the edge of the water where the waves meet the shore. Take a deep breath of that warm salty air, in and out.


Paige  [00:03:37]:

And listen as Jesse and I share our stories of shells, these beautiful gems of the sea. Hey, Jesse. Welcome to the podcast.


Jessie  [00:04:17]:

Hi, Paige. Thank you so much for having me.


Paige  [00:04:20]:

Oh, I I am so delighted to have you. When your publisher reached out to me and told me that you had a book about shells, I thought, oh, this is super cool. And then when I learned that you had illustrated and said shells, I thought this is even better. I'm so interested in hearing the whole story behind this book. But the first thing I think we'll start off with, which is what I start off with every cast, is how is the beach speaking to you today?


Jessie  [00:04:48]:

So I would say when I'm at the beach, I like to think of the history in the beach. I I'm a trained historian and so you'll find a lot of little tidbits about history and shells in the book. But not just big age history, but also my own family history. My grandmother who, sadly passed away 2 years ago, we were extremely close and she was a very, very busy mother of 4 girls who worked at different times also throughout their young lives. And she's she was high strung and, prone to anxiety as I am. But the beach, specifically the ocean in Montauk, was the only place where she could really let go and relax. And she would just sit in her chair and listen to the waves and watch the sunset. And that was her happy place.


Jessie  [00:05:48]:

And I think I have a similar relationship the The the relaxation aspect of the beach, I think skipped a generation, at least for my mother who has, I would say, it verges on a phobia of sand. She just really is not a sand person.


Paige  [00:06:16]:

I have never heard of anybody really having a phobia, but


Jessie  [00:06:20]:

I mean, I think that's how she would describe it. She just doesn't like getting Sandy. And so when I was probably 13 or 14, I went to her best friend who was living in New Jersey, had 2 little girls, and I sort of au pair for her. And we went to the Jersey Shore, and the my her friend, Julie, was getting in the sand and digging in the sand and letting it blanket her and and allowing her kids to do the same thing. And it was the first time I I realized that you were allowed to do that. Like nothing bad was going to happen. If, if you got a little Sandy,


Paige  [00:07:03]:

it wasn't like quicksand, you weren't going to disappear.


Jessie  [00:07:05]:

Yeah. So it was like this surreal awakening. And now I make sure to get down and dirty with my kids at the beach. But, you know, one thing that I think my mother did pass to me, she what she does like to do at the beach is beach comb. She's a collector of all things antique and art and, interesting and quirky. And she can just, you know, walk back and forth on the shore for hours. And that is, I'd say, with the wave the sound of the waves, looking down and looking for shells and other treasures is is really my happy place at the beach.


Paige  [00:07:49]:

Yeah. What beach do you normally go to?


Jessie  [00:07:51]:

So like I said, my family vacation in Montauk and Amagansett, sort of throughout my childhood. We've been all over the place. Most recently, I went with some girlfriends to Tulum, and we stayed at a really lovely resort. And it was so the the seashell collecting there was just so exciting because they're very colorful. You know, different parts of different oceans have different mollusks obviously and they're usually the they get their color from the surrounding water and the sorts of chemicals and salts and other things that are in that water. And so they're much more colorful in Mexico than they are, you know, on the East Coast of the United States.


Paige  [00:08:34]:

Oh, well, you're lucky. I didn't get to Tulum. We went to Mexico last year, and we actually skipped a day trip to Tulum and I really was a little disappointed in the beach where we were because it was seaweed season, as I call it. And so, beachcombing really wasn't the the nicest, shall we say, but that would have been spectacular to have the all those colorful shells because we here on the Atlantic coast, where I am at Jacksonville Beach, we have lovely shells but not nearly as colorful and everything and I learned a little bit about that in your book. Yeah. How those things happen. I I wanna kinda get back to your being a trained historian and and you're an artist. So how did you go from I think you had mentioned that you were in your PhD Yeah.


Paige  [00:09:28]:

Studies, and then you just kind of made a pivot


Jessie  [00:09:32]:



Paige  [00:09:33]:

And went to something else. Tell me how that happened.


Jessie  [00:09:36]:

So I will say I you know, throughout my adolescence, I studied art, and it was always what I love to do. It really calms me. I I took lots of classes at the Art Institute of Chicago, which is where I grew up in Chicago. When it was time to decide what I wanted to do, where I wanted to go to college, I didn't think that I wanted to just, you know, solely focus on art. So I chose a liberal arts college, and I'd always loved history in high school, actually, earlier than that even. But I really fell in love with my professors in my classes in college, and I ended up, going to Penn to get my PhD in early American history with a focus on women and race and gender. And I had a wonderful first three years of the program being in classes, learning, you know, with my cohort and my colleagues. I loved teaching.


Jessie  [00:10:33]:

I also I had been a high school teacher before I went back to get my PhD. So I love teaching at the college level. What happened was I got married, and I had my first child and then my second child. And it's not even that I lost momentum. I just, my priority shifted and I didn't love the idea of sort of being bubbled into the ivory towers and that that academic world. We had settled in DC and we had this lovely life and community and friends. And I didn't love being alone in the archives to do the dissertation work. I mean, I'm I have 4 or so chapters of this dissertation that I didn't finish.


Jessie  [00:11:18]:

So I was like halfway there and it took a really long time and a lot of hard conversations with myself to decide that I wanted to do something else. But I'm so glad I did. And it really during the pandemic is when I really, really started focusing on painting and my own personal writing. And I think it was just sort of, you know, I was with my 3 children 247. My husband was working like crazy, and it was the way that I could channel all of my emotions and, frustrations. And it really was a a nice outlet.


Paige  [00:12:01]:

Yeah. And what type of art do you typically do?


Jessie  [00:12:07]:

I have a blog, which is like pen line drawing, black and white line drawing, sort of a a funny it's like musings, cartoons, but then my more, I would say, serious art, I usually use gouache, which is like a more pigmented form of watercolor. And so that's what I did the book. The book's, illustrations are all gouache which I would actually then touch up on my iPad in Procreate, which is just the best tool for artists that, you know, people didn't have 10 years ago. But if I work for 10 hours on a painting and I mess up, I can scan it in, put it on my iPad, and fix the error. So it really gives you a lot of flexibility.


Paige  [00:12:57]:

Wow. I never heard of that before. Yeah. Oh, that's so helpful because we we're prone to make a little mistake here, here and there. I was gonna ask you about those illustrations. Now they are kind of small in the book. Yeah. Are they much larger like painting size? Because I was thinking, man, that's really detailed if you had to make them as small as they are.


Jessie  [00:13:23]:

Well, I actually I tend to work pretty small. Like, I've I do a lot of kind of collections of miniatures. So these are not they're not done in miniature, but they are relatively close, I'd say, to the size. They're a little bit bigger than they they are printed in the book, but I'd often do several on, you know, a 9 by 12 piece of watercolor paper, not even necessarily all from the same shell family. I would just quickly label it with pencil. And that's also the beauty of the of the iPad because then I was able to scan in the illustrations and and move things around and lay things out how I wanted. Mhmm. And that, you know, I think it gave this nice sort of, collection feel to to the book.


Paige  [00:14:09]:

Yeah. Yeah. And as I'm looking at it, a lot of the illustrations, almost all really of the shelves themselves are somewhat like what you would find the the size and and all of that. So it's almost like beachcombing through the book and you're finding those particular shells. And that was kind of fun for me because you say in the book, and you can speak more to this about how many shells there are in the world. And I mean, you know, you have this so well broken down into, like, the scientific portion of the living creature within the shell and then the history and the you know, an evolution and, of course, art where the shells appear. And then at the end, you have a little advice on how to collect and all that stuff. But I want I have questions about all those things, but I don't know where you wanna start with shells in general.


Paige  [00:14:55]:

What do we need to know?


Jessie  [00:14:56]:

Well, I didn't know much about the science of the mollusk before I started this book. I just kind of liked shells as, like, the beautiful thing that they were for collecting and for art. I was, like, so pleasantly surprised by how interesting this animal is. There's over 200,000 species of mollusk. I mean, they are incredibly diverse. There's there's 5 main, classes. There's the gastropod, which is, you know, if you think of sort of a snail, that sort of animal, and then bivalves, which if you think of like a scallop or a clam with the 2 valves, that close over the the soft tissue of the animal. There are tusk shells, which you don't see as much.


Jessie  [00:15:43]:

They literally look like teeth. Sometimes large, sometimes very small. There are chitons, which, I don't know if you've seen, they sort of look like tiny little turtle shells. They're kind of ovals, and they have almost an armor that goes over them. And then there are cephalopods, which are the weirdest family because most of them don't even have shells. So an octopus, is a cephalopod, as is a nautilus shell, which is probably the most famous of cephalopods. But, that just kinda blew my mind when I first learned about it.


Paige  [00:16:23]:

Yeah. Yeah. So we're familiar with the shells we see today, and I don't think we think about how far back they go in in our world's evolution and what part they played in certain times of our lives. And


Jessie  [00:16:45]:



Paige  [00:16:45]:

What was interesting that you found out about that?


Jessie  [00:16:47]:

Well, you know, wherever we decide history starts, meaning when humans have kind of recorded their history, when we have evidence of that, there have been mollusks and there have been shells, and humans have been using them since the beginning, for inspiration, but also for their various properties. So the cowrie shell I mean, this is probably not the best example because it's not the earliest, but it's the first thing that came to my mind has been used as a currency in various civilizations for 1000 of years. And then once, kind of Western European colonization began, it became part of the worldwide trade. And the actually the Chinese, the classical Chinese character for money is a picture of a cowrie shell.


Paige  [00:17:39]:

Really? Yeah. Wow. Wow. That's funny that you talk about shelves as currency because when I was talking about moving to the beach, people would say, well, what are you going to do? First of all, they say, well, where are you gonna move to? And I say, I don't know. Some beach. Yeah. I'd say, okay. Once you get there, what are you gonna do? Where are you gonna work? And I said, I don't know.


Paige  [00:17:59]:

I'm sure there'll be a couple of palm trees. I can string a hammock and I'll just sell seashell jewelry. And I'm thinking, well, now I could have like traded in shells if I had been.


Jessie  [00:18:09]:

Totally. And shell jewelry. I mean, I have examples in the book in ancient Egypt. They it was also usually cowrie shells. They would make these fertility belts for women that were supposed to enhance fertility or protect the baby while the mother was pregnant. In North America the indigenous people traded in wampum beads which you know I think we a lot of us have heard that word in you know our history textbooks or whatever in high school, but wampum is a bead made from shells. So they have been widely used. In fact, there's evidence that people used to grind up shells and then as, like, an abrasive to use on their teeth, like toothpaste.


Jessie  [00:18:54]:

And it this the calcium carbonate in shells is not necessarily in shells, but calcium carbonate, it's the same compound that is used in our toothpaste today. So they were onto something all those years ago.


Paige  [00:19:05]:

Oh my goodness. That's ingenious. Yeah. I was interested in the Gullah tradition. Tell me more about that and what how they use the shells.


Jessie  [00:19:16]:

Yeah. So I quote a proverb, in the book, in the section on shells and slavery because cowrie shells, especially, were, as I said, they were part of the currency and trade. And at the beginning, especially with the Portuguese, enslaved people were actually, like, traded for cowrie shells. And so I have, like, a not, you know, not super accurate, more kind of artistic map of the world showing just, like, where cowrie shells were traveling as were enslaved peoples. But the Gullah proverb that you just brought up, there's some evidence that, enslaved peoples, especially near the water, brought with them a lot of the traditions from various West African cultures, which included having grave markers or ornamentation when they buried their dead. So, you know, important things from the the various cultures that they would they would mark the graves with. And because so I'll just read this, the the proverb. It says the sea brought us, the sea shall take us back.


Jessie  [00:20:20]:

So the shells upon our graves stand for water, the means of glory, and the land of demise. So there is evidence of burial grounds where enslaved peoples would bury their their family, and they were decorated often with seashells on the top, both as probably a reminder of where they've come from, where they wish to return.


Paige  [00:20:42]:

Well, you know, knowing the history behind a lot of these shells and things really gives me pause when I'm thinking about my own beachcombing experience. And when you pick up something and you look at it and think, oh, this is beautiful in its own right, but that there's a certain kind of history behind it and you can think about those people that used it. Is there a particular shell or story behind the shell that really sticks out with you?


Jessie  [00:21:10]:

Yeah. I mean, I was I was thinking about this because I thought you would ask me what my favorite shell was. And I really I'm having a lot of trouble deciding. I guess I'd say aesthetically, I'm really drawn to star shells, which I've never seen in real life just from the pictures I use for reference. I hope to someday see them, but they're just so glorious. I mean, they look like stars with the kind of radiating out from the center. But there's a cone shell that is commonly referred to as the glory of the sea. And in the 17th around 17th century, it was, like, the most valuable shell that there was.


Jessie  [00:21:52]:

It's found at the bottom of the Indian Ocean. And so it's, like, hard to get to, Indian and Pacific Ocean. And you've probably heard of the tulip bubble in the Netherlands. Around the same time and the same place, they also had conclamania, which was the same thing. I mean, in theory, it was the same idea. People, you know, because in these Western European countries, with all the trade and the colonization and imperialism, there were all these new forms of shells and species that were being introduced that no one had ever seen. And people got real excited about them. And, there was I don't remember the exact date.


Jessie  [00:22:32]:

It's in the book. But at one point, this glory of the seashell was actually sold for more than a Vermeer painting was back in the day. So there were really serious collectors, and this was like a a huge status thing. And I just I just think that's you know, now it's not as hard to find this particular type of cone. We have technology that can help us get, to the to dive and and find the shells. But I just think that's interesting and sort of funny to think about.


Paige  [00:23:03]:

Wow. Yeah. Thinking of, like, that era of people coming back from Europe with these big collections of shells and, you know, like the Carnegies and the Astors and stuff, you know, and putting them in their grand homes. And I mean, it was probably earlier than that. But that's just in my mind. I'm thinking this aristocracy. Right. When people coming instead of showing off, oh, this is my premiere, they're like, oh, this is my story.


Paige  [00:23:30]:

It's a Rochelle.


Jessie  [00:23:31]:

Yeah. People had I mean, it was it was slightly earlier, but people had, these they call them cabinets of curiosities. And it was, again, like, kind of this idea of displaying your wealth by displaying all these curiosities and quotations that you know, from all over the world. And often there were lots of different, seashells in these cabinets.


Paige  [00:23:53]:

Yeah. Yeah. That that kinda gets me to 2 questions. 1, when you are searching for shells, when you're shelling, you have a you do briefly talk about if you find one that looks like it still has something living in it. Yeah. You know, let's just leave it alone. Right? What happens when you find one I, for instance, when I walk along the Gulf coast or along one of my favorite beaches, near Clearwater, Indian Rocks Beach, there are times when the conch shells, well, what I would call them, they're they're not they may be the size of your palm.


Jessie  [00:24:32]:



Paige  [00:24:32]:

You know, not very large, And I'm always kind of looking for one that's relatively intact, and there would be a number of them washed up on the shore, and you you think, oh, this is perfect. And you pick it up and you realize, oh, there's somebody still living in it. I know. It's so disappointing. What well, what do I do with it? Do I like toss it back? Because I thought, well, maybe it's stranded here on the do I help it get back into the water? And and I did kind of gently kind of toss 1 in and then I thought I probably wasn't supposed to do that.


Jessie  [00:25:05]:

It was probably okay with being tossed in. They're probably pretty used to waves and whatnot moving them a lot, but the different different types have different places where they live. So some are like in the intertidal zone. There are deep sea snails, which some of them are absolutely, like, insane. The, the temperatures that they can survive. And there's one type that actually, like, makes its own, like, iron armor to keep itself safe. And then my favorite, someday I wanna see in real life, there's these purple snails, which secrete, a substance that then sort of hardens and and creates a float. And they just float along the the surface of the water their whole lives.


Paige  [00:25:49]:

Where is that?


Jessie  [00:25:51]:

I can't actually remember where they are.


Paige  [00:25:54]:

Probably somewhere in Australia or, but,


Jessie  [00:25:56]:

you know, where they have it in the near future. I don't think. But, I just think that that sounds great.


Paige  [00:26:05]:

What a lovely life. I know. Have you been deep sea diving for shells or anything like that?


Jessie  [00:26:11]:

I have not. I'm actually pretty afraid of the idea of scuba diving. I love snorkeling, but I don't think I'll be deep sea diving anytime soon. However, if I could get over that fear, I would for sure want to find shells.


Paige  [00:26:27]:

Yeah. Yeah. Well, you know, you could start off with the deep end of a pool and kind of, you know, swim around there and you see what it's like. I love the scuba. It really does kind of open up a whole new world and it can be a little disconcerting when you're under there and then you kind of look up at the surface of the water and think, wow, I'm pretty far down here.


Jessie  [00:26:49]:

No, it's totally amazing.


Paige  [00:26:51]:

Yeah. How about your kids? Are they super into collecting shells? And are they into this as much as you are? Or they're kinda like, mom.


Jessie  [00:27:00]:

No. I mean, I kinda feel like what kids aren't into collecting shells. I mean, that's what I did at the beach with my brother. Like speaking of snorkeling, we would, we would take our little snorkeling masks and just kind of along the the shore, look for seashells, and my kids love to do the same thing. It's funny. When I got this book job, I was more serious about my my beach combing and and they were trying to help me, but children, they're not as discerning about what may be an a nice shell to take home and what is just sort of a broken piece of maybe not even shell. But they're very serious about wanting to help and wanting to take all of those pieces home. So, we do we have quite a collection of not great seashells.


Jessie  [00:27:47]:

Yeah. Well,


Paige  [00:27:49]:

yeah, their beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but just I think, yeah, when you're at a certain age and you see this and it just, especially when it just washed up on in the water and it's all shiny and it Yeah. Yeah. It just I know, our kids are the same way. I am the same way too. I wanna take every shell I see.


Jessie  [00:28:10]:

I know. I know. It's hard. Last summer, we went to visit my husband's family, and they live in Olympia, Washington, and they live right on the ocean. And, you know, it's a totally different type of beach, very rocky, and we found these giant moon snails. Moon snails. Wow. Yeah.


Jessie  [00:28:31]:

Really big, like twice the size of my fist, I'd say. And that was really fun. And then they have just, like, really big clams and scallops. And what is fun now that I I know a little bit more, I mean, I still wouldn't call it even though I wrote this book on shells. I'm no, like, scientist. I'm not a shell expert, but it's fun for my kid when we see a a shell that has you probably have noticed they have a lot of times these little holes, like perfect circular little holes when you find a shell. That's actually that's because we find the shell because they have the the animal has died because a different mollusk has used its radula which is sort of like a tongue like appendage, that they secrete an acid to first soften the shell of their victim, and then they they drill through it to get to the meat. So that's why we often have those.


Jessie  [00:29:26]:

And the little, the little holes are often perfect for jewelry making.


Paige  [00:29:30]:

I was just going to say we have so many of those shells with that perfect hole. Yeah. And I thought, well, maybe that's, a valve where they breathe or when they when they leave the shell, they I don't know. They sneak out this hole or whatever. I did notice that it seemed to be like a natural phenomenon. But


Jessie  [00:29:50]:

Yeah. No. That was their downfall.


Paige  [00:29:53]:

Well, what do you do with all the shells? I mean, I know when you were you were a kid, I I collected shells whenever I could get to the beach and I remember one time I had so many and they, they looked so beautiful when they were wet and, you know, just washed up on the shore. And I took them home and I convinced my mother that she was, of course, you can't keep all of these shells. And I said, I have to. I'll I'll make something. And I painted each one with, nail clear nail polish to make them look really, you know, like they were under the water and all that. And I had them drying on paper towels, and I was very proud of myself until I went to get them off the paper towels, and they were all stuck to the paper towels, And I was devastated. Well, I was able to to get a few, and that was I thought, well, what am I gonna do? They're all stuck to this paper towel.


Jessie  [00:30:53]:

That's so clever though. The clear nail polish. I mean, in terms of, like, real collecting, that would probably not be good for you know, it would degrade the the shell. But so for a real collector. But, I had never thought of that because it is so disappointing once you get them home and they dry you know, they're all dried out and they don't have that shine anymore. The the big moon's snails that I was just talking about, I was doing all the things that you're supposed to. Like, I soaked them in just some water and then I soaked them in a little bit of soap and water too because they were very smelly. They smelled like the sea and dead mollusk.


Jessie  [00:31:31]:

And I I had purchased the mineral oil that I was gonna use to to shine them because that's how I mean, mostly, you know, when people are selling them or you see them in stores or whatever, they are very shiny. They've been off. I mean, there are some that are just naturally they have that sort of porcelain like texture, but often they've been sanded and shined with some sort of oil to, like, bring that out.


Paige  [00:31:56]:

Oh, okay. Okay. Well, what do you do then with your shells when when you've collected them? Do you have them just in jars around the house? Or


Jessie  [00:32:08]:

Yeah. I wish I could take you around right now. I have, yes. I have lots of jars of shells is actually how I do it just because I like the whole mason jar sort of look.


Paige  [00:32:19]:



Jessie  [00:32:19]:

And I, besides painting the shells, I've been making, frames and selling some frames that go with some of the originals that I'm I mean, I have now, like, a studio full of paintings of seashells. So I'm kind of trying to offload some of them and sell them. But, yeah, I've made some cool some cool frames. But, yeah, they're so beautiful to just to display, especially in the summertime. I'm I mean, I I sort of I'm someone who has seasonal decor. So summertime, I can bring out all my my shell displays. I also have this tiny, tiny, little gridded display box that I've put all of my tiny little perfect Tulum shells in, which is a very cool way to to show them off.


Paige  [00:33:08]:

Yeah. That I saw something on Instagram similar to that. It was like a clear lucite.


Jessie  [00:33:13]:

That's it. That's the one I have.


Paige  [00:33:15]:

So you like it? I was thinking, I wonder because oftentimes I buy something off Instagram and I'm thinking Well,


Jessie  [00:33:21]:

it was a gamble and it did take


Paige  [00:33:22]:

a while to get


Jessie  [00:33:23]:

to me, but it is it's a good product. I have a question for you if that's okay.


Paige  [00:33:29]:



Jessie  [00:33:30]:

So in the book, I talk about the direction that shells open. So usually they open dextrally or to your right, but there are certain shells that open. It's called a synestral cell. They open to the left and Florida whelk shells always open to the left. And I'm wondering if you have come across any whelks.


Paige  [00:33:51]:

No. We I haven't. I don't think that we have any of those on the North Atlantic Coast where we are. I'm trying to think where those would be. I do know that there is somebody I follow on Instagram that finds welks up in the Cape Hatteras, North Carolina Sure. Okay.


Jessie  [00:34:10]:



Paige  [00:34:10]:

know, huge ones. But Yeah. I haven't I haven't seen any.


Jessie  [00:34:14]:

Yeah. I think that's so it's so interesting. I would love to see a Florida whelk that opens I mean, it would seem sort of backwards to what we're normal what we are used to.


Paige  [00:34:23]:

Right. So when you hold it up to listen to the sound, is that the kind you know, that's the kind you you


Jessie  [00:34:29]:

Yeah. It's I mean, a whelk is big. I mean, it's not a conch, but yeah. No. It's they can't, they can only mate with other mollusks that open in the same direction as them. So, like, if there's one that just so happens genetically, like, it was a fluke and they open to the left, it's gonna be hard for them to find a mate unless it's, you know, the specific species of the Florida welk who are all opening that direction.


Paige  [00:34:55]:

How interesting. That just another random fact that I read briefly in your book was the, like, the slime from the mollusc. And tell me about that. Are we are we putting that on our faces?


Jessie  [00:35:08]:

You might be. Check out the ingredients in your face products because within snail slime, there are a lot of things that we've determined are good for our skin, like collagen and hydrochloric acid peptides. And there's there are some very, very expensive face creams that are pretty much snail slime.


Paige  [00:35:33]:



Jessie  [00:35:34]:

And there, scientists are also, like, looking into the substance to try to create natural glues for surgeries because whatever the chemical makeup, it can be a very strong way of adhering something because that's the slime is actually used by the mollusks to, like, adhere to the rock or whatever.


Paige  [00:35:53]:

Yeah. Wow. That is interesting. We so beautiful. What would you like people to know about shells and why we're so interested in them?


Jessie  [00:36:05]:

I think it's easy to sort of ignore that the smaller, less in your face parts of nature and animals, especially. But you know, when you really look at these guys, they're doing amazing things and there's such diversity within the mollusk family. It's pretty mind blowing. You know? And like we were just talking about for face products and and surgical glues, scientists can also use shells to date evolution. Sort of like trees have rings and you count the rings to see how old they are. Like if you look at an oyster shell they sort of have similar type rings or layers and that is, has to do with their age And you can date one of the earlier parts of of the shell to tell you how much oxygen and carbon was in the ocean at the time that it was born, you know, and then see how different the amount of carbon and oxygen is at this point in time so you can trace the climate change or pollution happening.


Paige  [00:37:17]:

Wow. That's amazing. All along the shore as you're Yep. Taking this leisurely stroll and picking up these beautiful shells, we think about just how important they are to nature and to the the cycle of life. Yeah. And we often overlook those things, and thank you for pointing that out.


Jessie  [00:37:35]:

Yeah. They a lot of them do really important filtration work in the water. Oysters can filter huge amounts of water every day. So they are you know, every little thing is integral to how this world works.


Paige  [00:37:50]:

Yeah. Thank you so much for coming on the podcast and talking about shells and shelling and the, the whole history behind it, and your book is wonderful. How can we how can we find it?


Jessie  [00:38:04]:

You can get it on Amazon, but you can also go to your local indie bookstore. And if they're not stocking it, I'm sure they can order it for you, but a lot of them do have it on hand.


Paige  [00:38:16]:

Yeah. Yeah. I'm going to go down to the bookseller on the beach and see if they they have a copy. And if they don't, I'm going to say, you need to have this.


Jessie  [00:38:26]:

Oh, great. Yes. Thank you. And any all word-of-mouth, all of that is very good. It all helps.


Paige  [00:38:32]:

And how are you selling your art?


Jessie  [00:38:34]:

Through my Instagram is probably the best way to contact me. It's at jessiregenbergpaints. I'm selling original shell paintings and shell frames, and I'm your go to artist for all things Shell.


Paige  [00:38:52]:

Oh, that's wonderful. Wonderful. Alright. We'll we'll have those links in the show notes too. So if you're listening there and you want to check out Jesse's art and the book, thanks again for for coming on the podcast. I really appreciate it.


Jessie  [00:39:06]:

I'm so happy to have have done this with you. Thank you for having me.


Paige  [00:39:10]:

Oh, you're welcome. You're welcome. The beach is speaking. Are you listening? Welcome back from our Beach Walk. Is your bucket full of seashells like mine? Now that you have this collection of treasures, the question is, what do you do with them now? I'm glad I have Jesse's book on hand because not only are there tips for collecting and storing your seashells, there's information about the different types of shells and their names, like Tabular Limpet and Pear Bonnet. And if you have an urge to shell dazzle something, she also has some ideas for creating shell crafts and home decor. Recently, I posted on my Facebook page, my collection of shells from recent visit to Venice Beach, and I asked for ideas for what to do with all those shells. And one of my Facebook friends and followers, Rhonda, suggested gluing them on a picture frame.


Paige  [00:40:31]:

Yes. I can do that. Another Facebook friend, Laura, said, Do a resin epoxy pour on an end table. I've seen those, and they're gorgeous, but I'm not sure I'm crafty enough to pull that one off, But I'd like to try. My podcast guest and ocean inspired jewelry artist, Amanda, said, Oh, send them to me. I have a new idea of what I want to create next. Okay, Amanda, shells are in the mail. And this is one from Anya Serra, a quantum healing practitioner and vocal and sound alchemist, and it's really inspiring.


Paige  [00:41:15]:

She said, I created a prayer healing board in my healing space. It's a magnetic board that I place requests on for healing for animals, loved ones, clients. I visualized natural elements for magnifying the energy and decided to bring home shells from the beach and placed tiny but strong magnets on them. I brought in quartz crystals, ammonites, and a few treasures to join in. So I have all natural healing elements that are supporting each healing request. I love that. Now, as you're admiring all your beautiful shells, ask yourself, what one speaks to your soul? If it could talk, what stories would it tell? The beach says, like seashells, you are beautiful and unique. Each one has a story to tell, and I'm listening.


Paige  [00:42:30]:

Thank you for tuning in to another episode of The Beach Speaks. If you enjoyed what you heard, please spread the beachy vibes and share it with a friend. Because, let's be honest, who doesn't want more beach in their lives? And if more beach is what you crave, go to the beachspeaks.com and sign up for my newsletter. It's an easy way to stay in the know, collect some tips and travel hacks for your next beach adventure, and find out what I'm doing at the beach. And if you want to dive deeper into the ocean of support, consider becoming a Beach Speaks Patreon member. Your contribution helps keep the podcast afloat and you'll enjoy some cool perks that only our patreon family gets to enjoy. The beach is speaking. Are you listening?


Jessie  [00:43:21]:

Have a sea turtle day!

Comments & Upvotes