‘Blessed by the Island’: T-shirts featuring beloved Pawleys Island Shell now at Original Hammock Shop
For decades, visitors and residents of Pawleys Island have been intrigued by the Pawleys Island Shell, a rare and beautiful shell with distinct markings.
Now for those who love this unique shell, the Original Hammock Shop on the Pawleys mainland has created a new exclusive T-shirt design. It features a Pawleys Island Shell, also known as the Imperial Venus Clam shell, painted in watercolor by local artist Vida Miller.
Although this shell can be found in other areas, it is predominately found — and definitely beloved – on Pawleys Island.
“Finding a Pawleys Island Shell means you are blessed by the island,” she said. “I am so excited that one of my many paintings of this special shell was chosen for this T-shirt and that the public has a new way to appreciate it.”
Alora Baver, general manager of the Original Hammock Shop, said that working with Miller to create this new T-shirt was fun.
“We are so excited to offer this new T-shirt design for all those who love the Pawleys Island Shell,” she said.
A signature design
The signature design for the T-shirt includes a rope outline and palmetto trees around the shell. T-shirts, which are printed on high-quality Comfort Colors T-shirts, are available in a variety of colors and sizes.
“We knew that we needed to do something, at least around the shell, to give it a little bit more,” Baver said. “We didn’t want to go too heavy because we didn’t want to take away from the artwork.”
The design also includes palmetto trees, the state tree of South Carolina. The rope represents a little bit about the Original Hammock Shop, she said, since the authentic rope hammocks have made been made for generations in Pawleys and rope is part of the shop’s logo. Each shirt includes information about Vida Miller and her comments about the Pawleys Island Shell.
Baver said she came up with the idea for the T-shirts while reflecting on sales.
“While reviewing some of our T-shirt sales, I was asked what was missing, what was something in the area that we were not featuring that customers might be interested in,” Baver said. “I thought of Vida’s watercolor paintings of the Pawleys Island Shell, which sell very well.”
She said when she asked Miller what she thought about using her artwork for the T-shirt, Miller said yes right away.
“I was just so excited,” Miller said. “I told her I was definitely honored, and we sat down and talked about how we would go about doing it.”
Miller, a former state representative for the area who formerly owned the Grayman Gallery in Pawleys Island for 40 years, is a founding member of the Waccamaw Neck Arts Alliance and serves on the South Carolina Arts Foundation Board. She has displayed and sold her artwork in the Original Hammock Shop for more than 20 years.
“Who wouldn’t be thrilled to have their work at the Original Hammock Shop in any way shape or form?” she said.
A fun symbol of Pawleys
Miller said the Pawleys Island Shell has meant a lot to her over the years and she has painted it in oil, acrylic, and watercolor.
“It is just a fun symbol of Pawleys Island,” Miller said.
She said searching for the Pawleys Island Shell on the island’s four miles of beach is like an Easter egg hunt.
“The Pawleys Island Shell is something everyone can relate to, and people have fun looking for them,” Miller said. “It makes you feel good when you find one.”
She’s found a few herself over the years.
“They are not usually right there out in the open for you to pick up,” she said. “Sometimes they are, but that is rare.”
Baver said she hopes the Pawleys Island Shell T-shirts will become collector’s items. The ones that are currently in the shop for 2024 will be sold through next December when a new design will be released for 2025. Continuing in 2026 and 2027, there will be four designs over the next four years and the fifth year, 2028, a T-shirt will feature all four designs together.
“We have a five-year plan,” Baver said. “We are also looking into using the T-shirt design on some other gift items, but right now we are just focusing on the T-shirts.”
Baver said if the Original Hammock Shop decides to offer other collector’s items with the Pawleys Island Shell design, she will make an announcement in summer 2024. If so, those items will add to the wide variety of gift items and local art that the shop offers in its Local Artists’ Corner.
Tiffany Ward, sales manager for the Original Hammock Shop, can attest to the popularity of the new design.
“We have had an overwhelming response,” she said. “They make a great gift.”
The Original Hammock Shop is located at 10880 Ocean Hwy, Pawleys Island. For more information, call (843) 237-9122 or visit the website here.
By Clayton Stairs / tourism manager for the Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce