Karine was introduced to the world of seashells as a child during her family’s summer vacations at the seaside on the coast of Black Sea. It never occurred to her then that seashells could be used to create Wonderful Works of Art, or that her childhood pastime would evolve into an art form and hobby years later.
In 1996, Karine moved from Armenia to Southern California. Despite having an engineer background, she first started out making sugar flowers and bouquets for wedding cakes, which turned out to be a useful ability for making flowers from seashells. The drawing and drafting skills she has developed as an engineer would come in handy later when trying to come up with more complex and intricate designs and patterns for my shell art. It was an episode of the Martha Stewart Show about shell shows and Sailor’s Valentines which inspired her to start making shell art in 2008. It’s funny how a simple TV show could change one’s life so radically. That happened when she first heard about the Sanibel Shell Show. After doing some research and buying a book about the history of Sailor’s Valentines, Karine attempted to try making a piece of Art. She was determined to put her own spin on things and develop her own style, so started out by making contemporary, non-traditional valentines in rectangular boxes instead of octagonal ones. She drew a pattern and just jumped right into the work, mastering while progressing from one work to another.
In March 2009, Karine Almir participated in the Sanibel Shell Show for the first time, where all three of the demonstrated works at showcase were awarded ribbons. Since then she has won awards at different shows every single year, and has expanded her works collection to include other kinds of home décor, such as mosaics, mirrors, and picture frames.
Karine enjoy working with seashells because they are pieces of natural beauty. The designs in her works depict the individual beauty of each shell, and, accordingly, the combination of those shells creates beautiful designs. Citing Karine: “I don’t want my work to be the kind that people simply glance at and pass on by, I try to create complex patterns so that not only the work as a whole will captivate viewers, but so their eyes will also be drawn to little intricate details in different parts of the work.”
“What I love the most about being a shell artist is that I never quite know how the work will turn out at the end. My curiosity to see the end result motivates me to keep working and fuels my creativity. Everyone hopes to leave their mark on the world, and this is how I want to leave mine – my art will be my legacy.”