Christa Wilm’s roots lie in Augsburg, Germany. Her creative soul is rooted in Florence, Italy. And her life experience (she’s been a press secretary in Washington DC, completed graduate work in archaeology at Harvard University and conducted research in the Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania) is as varied and unique as the shell art she creates. But it was only after she moved from Boston to Palm Beach and opened a fine antiques store on Antique Row in West Palm Beach in 1993 that she started creating the art she’s become known for.
It happened when Christa and a friend were rained out from going to the beach. Undeterred, and in a fit of inspiration, they bought some shells and decorated a small mirror instead. Christa’s mirror was a big hit and soon she’d decorated two more mirrors with all white shells. Within a week Slatkin & Co. bought the pair. And the rest, as they say is history. Her shell creations became so popular that she stopped carrying antiques altogether.
In fact, Christa has created her one-of-a-kind objects for The Breakers Hotel on Palm Beach, Faena Hotel on Miami Beach, and retail stores like Saks Fifth Avenue and Faena Bazaar. In the past she’s also designed a collection of shell encrusted of evening bags for a Ralph Lauren Paris runway collection, and made mirrors for the rich and famous in Los Angeles, Maine, the Caribbean, Europe and beyond.
These days when she’s not working on a shell encrusted Nymphaeum for a mansion on Bellevue Avenue in Newport, RI owned by the renowned sculptor Ron Fleming she can still be found at Her Atelier in West Palm Beach where she has developed a unique line of jewelry and small pieces that she sells to high-end shops along the East Coast.