Chris Nietert is native to East Cooper area of Charleston - Isle of Palms and Mt. Pleasant - and worked as a potter on the Isle of Palms for nearly 20 years before becoming an Occupational Therapist. Her lifelong joy is a walk on the beach and collecting shells. Chris began making the oyster shell crèches as gifts for family and friends after seeing an old manger scene with shells propped up to replace the missing characters at a church oyster roast. The response to the crèches has been an important factor in her efforts, and they uniquely suit her passion for the beach, her creativity in selecting and placing the characters in their particular "stables", the importance of the "mother's gaze", and her spiritual understanding that God is present to us in all things, including the oyster shell. The organic shapes and markings of the shells seem to convey the sense of awe, reverence, and curiosity at the nativity. Chris gives special tribute to St. Francis who is credited with the tradition of nativity scenes and to Celtic Christianity for helping us "see" God everywhere. Chris and her husband Jack live in Beaufort, SC where she works on the Adult Mental Health Unit and as the Healing Arts coordinator at Beaufort Memorial Hospital. Jack is a retired clergyman and graciously shares his woodshop with Chris. They are fortunate to have most of their family in the Charleston area and visit often.