Contemporary Sailors’ Valentines Exhibit

The Mattapoisett Library, located at 7 Barstow Street, is presenting an exhibit from September 15 – October 14 of Sailors’ Valentines created by Marion artist Barbara Anderson. Anderson’s interest in sailors’ valentines stemmed from her love of flowers. She has researched and educated herself about this unique medium and is entirely self-taught. Her one-of-a-kind work has won first-place awards in local juried shows.

            Sailors’ valentines became popular with whalemen who brought them home as gifts for loved ones. While there is a romantic myth that the sailors created them during downtimes on the whaling ships, it is most likely the majority were created by women on Barbados and purchased by the sailors on their way home. It can take Anderson up to a few months to create just one of these beautiful works, made with shells including vintage white-cup, squilla claws, chula shells, dove, rose cups, tusk, and apple blossoms.

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