I saw my first Valentine in a museum in Cape Cod as a child and was always fascinated by them. In 2004, I decided to buy an old one. A collector of antiques I loved the history of the Valentine.
Sailors' Valentines were made between 1830 and 1890 by the native people of Barbados as a cottage industry, selling Valentines to the whaling ships. They are mosaic shell designs in an eight-sided box.
I went to an auction on the Cape where one sold for $21,000. I decided to make one for myself and I haven't stopped since. I have a whole house called the Shell Cottage, where I create and show my work. I make the Sailors' Valentines in the traditional way but create my own designs.
I love that Artist Open Studio, allows me to teach people about this craft.