5 Maine-Made Items That Celebrate Maine’s Sea Creatures

Well shucks, when it comes to seashell products, we’re hard-pressed to pick a favorite.

Maine-made shell products
By Sarah Stebbins
Photos by Tara Rice
From our May 2024 issue
shell and driftwood art by Michael Fleming of Designs Adrift

1. Art 

For 30 years, Phippsburg’s Michael Fleming has been turning driftwood into gnarled and knobby furnishings. A decade ago, the pearly undersides of mussel shells struck him as a perfect foil for sun-bleached wood, and another body of work was born. His art combines tightly aligned driftwood twigs that effect rippled sand with mussel shells arranged in loose whorls, like ocean eddies. Price available upon request. Designs Adrift.

mussel-shell ring dishes from Maine Salty Girl

2. Ring Dishes

The contents of the frame pack Cherie Herne fills on beachcombing trips become driftwood wreaths, beach-stone knobs, sand-filled glass orbs on jewelry, and more, in her Eliot studio. Recently, she added gilded, decoupaged mussel-shell ring dishes to the mix, ideal for corralling your own treasures. $28 each. Maine Salty Girl.

3. Napkin Rings

In 2020, Raymond’s Susan Clark eyed a pile of oyster shells and saw art. She gilded and decoupaged the shells to make dishes and salt cellars. Today, her calcareous creations also adorn woven napkin rings, bracelets, and purses. To replenish her primary material, Clark purchases 200 oysters at a time for shucking parties. $50 for 4. Gilded Maine Oysters.

oyster-adorned napkin rings from Gilded Maine Oysters
Maine Shellware coasters

4. Coasters

Since 2008, Bangor mother and daughter Michelle and Nicole Klam have been turning lobster, mussel, and clam shells destined for the trash at McLaughlin Seafood and other spots into all manner of treasures. The shells are thoroughly cleaned, then crushed and encased in cribbage boards, picture frames, and other giftware. Birch coasters showcase the range of a crustacean- and mollusk-derived palette. $16 each. Maine Shellware.

5. Necklace

While working on her now-husband’s lobsterboat, Rutherford Island’s Tenley Seiders saw detached claws in his traps. Not wanting the appendages to go to waste, she cooked them and ground their shells into ruby-red flecks. These are contained in glass pendants on her jewelry, which now also includes shells sourced from her 14-year-old lobsterman son. $50. Lobster Designs.

crushed lobster shell pendant by Lobster Designs
May 2024, Down East Magazine

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