My earliest memory of shells is walking along the beach with my big sister, searching for little treasures in the tide line. She'd tell me their names – common and formal – and always add some fun science trivia on whatever we found.
No doubt those were the founding seeds that eventually inspired this project, which was to make a nice, shell-themed book for my best friend's birthday.
In the end, it involved identifying and classifying dozens of shells, photographing each one, and finally producing the book itself.
It was definitely a labor of love.
At the time, my entire collection was stored in a broken-down old box that had lived in my closet for years. Inside, the specimens were loosely wrapped in newspaper and retro sandwich baggies.
Further, of the 78+ shells, only a handful had any useable information. The rest would require some serious data mining.
And I had a month to get it all done for the best friend's birthday.
It took me about a week to verify the correct information for every specimen. The photo shoot took another three days. Then a week more to meticulously hand mask and retouch each shell.
While not everything made it into the final book, that accurate information and the quality photos were essential in creating a sweet spreadsheet, color labels for every specimen and the ultimate re-org of my entire collection.
For this project I designed a unique folding jacket. Using one piece of black duck cloth I joined the 2 covers, spine and flap into a single unit. To keep the pages protected and the book closed, I fastened discreet velcro patches to the inside front cover and flap.