Origin: The Portuguese period embraces the secret behind the origin of sea shell craft. Historians opine that shell craft was one of the prominent industries during the Harappan period
Sea creatures are protected with a solid outer covering called shells. These shells are available in plenty on sea shores. For civilizations, these shells have been used to craft musical, jewellery and utility items such as drinking cups, necklaces etc. A particular variety of shells such as Giant clam, Green mussel and Oyster support have been used for generations to make edible shell fishery. Another variety of shells such as Scallops, Clams and Cockles are burnt to generate edible lime.
Just like most handicraft items, shell craft is also linked with religious and social significances.
Present Day: Goa beautifully embraces the shell craft. The artisans residing in this gorgeous place convert these pieces into an art. Shells of contrasting colours, shapes and shades are married to give birth to craft and utility items such as necklaces, rings, bracelets, brooches, ashtrays, lampshades, coasters, chandeliers, curtains, pot hangers, tablemats, clocks and mirror frame.
Today, this age old craft has generated curiosity across the globe. It is loved by foreigners visiting India. These masks are a great export item and are demanded by different countries. A large number of masks are exported to USA every year. These are also exported to many other countries like UAE, UK, France, Germany etc.
Procedure: The tools and raw materials required in the making of seashell craft are natural seashells such as clamshells, cone shaped shells, small snail shells etc., adhesive, plywood, reflective glass sheet, mud pot, glue, thermocol, tooth picks, handsaw, oil based colours, scallops etc.
The first step is to cut the plywood sheet using handsaw. This is done keeping in mind the desired design. This step is followed by gluing plywood sheet to the pre-cut and shaped glass sheet.
The plywood surface is painted with a thick layer of Fevicol. Now, each and every shell is dipped in adhesive to glue clamshells. To add up the fashion quotient coloured shells are added in between. This step is followed keep in mind the design structure. To enhance the crafts appeal, varied decorative items are added to the shells. LED lights, bells, flowers etc become part of this craft.
Bring Home the Shell Craft of Goa: These sea shell craft items can be found at different markets across Goa and are also found at different festivals and fairs in Goa.