James, Elder and Apostle

We Give Thanks for the Shellfish of God's Creation

Even though we believe the scallop or cockle shells sacred to James come from a very late (17th century) tradition, today is a good day to thank God for the most insignificant of his creations, the lowly shellfish.

The Jews believed that shellfish were ritually unclean and never ate them. But God told Peter in his vision that nothing God had created was unclean in his own eyes and that all things that are good to eat were created for our pleasure.

Any craft involving shells would be fun to make today (people on pilgrimage for St. James in Spain wear cockle shells on their hats), but we can make our own shells from clay and bake them in the oven.

Roll very small balls of white clay and bake according to package directions. (You may want to do this ahead of class.)

In class, roll out several shades of bakeable clay (white, ecru, pearl, taupe) and stack in random order. Pinch pieces off and shape into shells.

For pendants, poke a hole in the shell with a wooden skewer.

Insert balls into shells and again, bake according to package directions and let cool.

In the next class, draw pupils on the eyeballs (with black markers) in the finished shells, and add very fine detailing with markers if you desire. Provide lanyards for pendants and magnet strips for refrigerator magnets.

At home, you might want to make a meal featuring scallops, shrimp, or other shellfish.


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