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Turning Seashells into Found Fashion

Bristol-based artist Melonie Massa turns to local shores to create her line of Mermaid's Baubles

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Bristol native Melonie Massa of Mermaid’s Baubles uses seashells gathered from local shores, creating flowers and jewelry aplenty, brooches and boxes galore. You want thing-a-ma-bobs? She’s got thing-a-ma-baubles. Melonie turns the shells of clams, coquinas and tellins into “petals,” fashioning them first into shell-flowers and then into a variety of accessories such as earrings, hair combs, rings, bracelets, pendants and cuff links. In addition to shell-flowers, she creates Sailor’s Valentines modeled after the “love tokens from the sea” given by sailors in the 1800s to their loved ones after returning home from ocean voyages.

Melonie’s ultimate mer-cessories are her seashell tiaras. For those with an inner mermaid princess, bohemian merman or not-so-secret obsession with any 1980s mermaid-centric blockbuster, her tiaras can be customized to fit your mer-soul.

Melonie’s love for seashells began when she was just a little mermaid – er, girl – with seven siblings, collecting them to use during craft time. During a field trip to the New Bedford Whaling Museum at age ten, she saw a vintage Sailor’s Valentine for the first time and experienced a tidal wave of inspiration. Her passion for recreating this maritime art has grown ever since, and now she teaches it to her own daughters. Melonie’s designs are available on MermaidsBaubles.com and The Sea Star in Bristol