Sarah’s Reef shells provide healing for artist, others

Sarah Stewart

Sarah Stewart, the artist behind Sarah’s Reef, says the shells came at the perfect time for her as a way to find healing and to “share with people.”

Molly Mosher | The Sun
Published: Tuesday, January 1, 2013 at 08:00 AM.

Sarah Stewart sells seashells by the seashore, but these are not the kind an average shell seeker can pick up. To Stewart, the shells are “canvases from the sea.”

As a longtime collector, the idea to embellish shells came to Stewart as though in a dream.

“I first started collecting shells right after I moved here,” said the 14-year resident. “One day, I woke up and decided, I have all these shells, why don’t I put my art on them?”

And so Sarah’s Reef was formed and the Santa Rosa Beach artist began the process of enhancing the shells with a secret-recipe stain. Sarah’s Reef quickly grew to be more than a hobby for Stewart, and gave her a way of coping in the wake of a divorce.

“The idea came at the right time for me,” said the mother of three. Selling the shells helped her “bridge the gap financially,” as well as give her a “link to the outside world.”

“Some are just fun,” she said. Others, she added, are more divinely inspired, as if “God is inspiring me to share a message.”

As it turns out, others felt that way too. People connected with a simple saying or word of encouragement on a shell. They would approach Stewart to tell her: “I found the perfect shell for what I’m going through.”

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