On this final day of 2012, I would just like to say, "Good Riddance!"
Life here on the Jersey Shore has not been the same since Hurricane Sandy.
For me, personally, one effect difficult to deal with is that many of our favorite beaches are still unaccessible. The place of my daily walks, Sandy Hook (Gateway National Park), may be closed until May 2013.
The neighboring beach at Sea Bright, NJ is beautiful and open. Driving through town, though, is sobering. Barely any business or homes are inhabited. The recovery does go on though. In the daylight hours there is a constant buzz of construction workers rebuilding.
So, it is time for all of us to rebuild! May 2013 be lucky, joyful and profitable to all! May we enjoy the beauty of the beach and sea once again!
Here in New Jersey, the colors of Fall are just beginning. Yesterday was warm and I went for a walk on Sandy Hook beach. I thought you might enjoy seeing some pictures.
The Fall never fails to inspire my creativity. There's something in the colors and textures that remind me of Van Gogh's best work, the swirls of light and thick layers of short, mad brush strokes.
I hope you enjoyed the pictures. Come back tomorrow and I will show you something else I found.
I had a very busy weekend, but on Sunday morning my husband pointed out to me there was a Sea Glass Festival going on in Long Branch. I dropped everything and zoomed down there. I am so glad I did.
The festival was put on by the North American Sea Glass Association. They put on a festival each year, in different coastal towns across North America. Previous festivals have been in Santa Cruz, CA and Hyannis, MA. I wonder where the next will be? I definitely plan on attending.
I couldn't believe what I saw when I got there. A hundred vendors were selling creations made of beach glass. There was a ton of jewelry, plus stained glass, wreaths, ornaments and more. There were photographers with notecards and calendars of beachglass finds. There were also sellers of beach glass and beach pottery.
Besides selling their pieces, most of the vendors also had displays of their special treasures - not for sale - but just to share. It was fascinating to see the different finds from different places. Certain colors are found more in one place than the other. Also, beach pottery was shown as well.
Another area held tables where members of the club showed their finds too. They were not for sale, just to share.
Members of the local Antique Bottle Collectors Club had a table where they helped identify the origins of different shards and finds. There was a long line, but very happy collectors who finally got their answers.
The best part of the show was an area where anyone attending could enter their own beach finds into the Shard of the Year contest. There were hundreds of super interesting pieces displayed together. Attendees could view the finds. I didn't stay for the final judging, but last years first place winner received $1000. I wish I had brought one of my finds there. I'll have to do it next year.
Everyone I spoke to, both vendors and attendees, were so friendly and enthusiastic. Everyone there was addicted to beachcombing, as much as I am. I'm going to join the association today and look forward to becoming a part of the next show. How about you? Do you want to join me?
I love reading about local history of my area. Henry Hudson came here, to Sandy Hook, NJ in 1609. In the ships log is this observation about the Lenape Native Americans.
"This day many of the people came aboard, some in mantles of feathers, and some in skins of diverse sorts of good furs. Some women also came to us with hemp. They had red copper tobacco pipes, and other things of copper they did wear about their necks."
When I find shells on the beach, I just want to wear them. I think it's an ancient instinct within all of us. Here is a shell I found on Sandy Hook, made into a simple pendant of pure copper, to wear about your neck.
This pendant is available for purchase on my website in the Beach Walk Treasures Collection.
My walk on the beach today was much more pleasant than it has been in several weeks. It was warmer and much of the ice and snow are melted. I found some beach glass and purple wampum shells. That's always a good sign. Can Spring be far behind? I hope not.
So, here are three new beachglass pendants for you. The first is a refreshing spring green. I also have a frosted white and a pale aqua. I've textured the sterling silver backs with 3 different designs.
These all include silk cords. You can replace them with your own sterling silver chains or a leather cord. The rings are extra wide to allow for thick chains. I've also soldered them for extra security. You can purchase my beach glass pendants here in the Beach Walk Treasures Collection page.
On most mornings, I take a walk on the beach. I pick up treasures as I find them. Shells with nature made holes are great finds. Purple bits of clam shells, that I call wampum are also special.
I couldn't create a collection of these in one day. I just add to it, little by little.
That's how it is creating a jewelry collection, too. A little at a time, piece by piece.
Here, I've begun to create a ship's wheel in brass. I'm going to carve it from the thick metal. First I draw a sketch, then transfer that to tracing paper.
It would be easier, of course, to use a charm from a commercial jewelry suppply house. Many jewelers do that. But that has no appeal to me. If I put my name on it, I want it to be from my own hands.
It takes longer, this way. I work on a new piece a little bit, day by day. Eventually, I'll have a collection.
The Sea transforms them and then throws them onto the beach, for us to collect. Some people call it beach glass and some call it sea glass. By any name, everyone seems attracted to it.
Frosty Green Beach Glass Pendant
I sometimes wonder why it is, that on a beach full of beautiful shells, I am most often attracted to the man-made bits - not just the glass, but other items too. Is it because they become more precious by their scarcity on the beach? Could it be because they show the combined efforts of man and nature? Or is it the mystery of wonder - how long did the sea toss this, what person once held this?
These are the types of questions I ask myself while I make jewelry using beach glass I find on my morning walks.
Please let me know if you have a piece of glass you've found and would like made into a custom pendant. I think it's so much more meaningful when the wearer discovered the "gem" themselves. If you wear it, let me know if you figure out the answer to the question - what makes beach glass so appealing?
Many of my pieces begin with a walk on the beach. Here's a view of what I focus on. Can you guess which shell will become the next piece of jewelry?
I empty my pockets onto the jeweler bench. Just a few treasures today.
From Shell to Jewel
The chosen one. Wrapped in silver. Now I need to file the silver closer to the uneven height of the shell.The transformation has begun.
Mary Lu Wason
is a studio jeweler. Here she shares the inspirations, discoveries and process of creating her art jewelry collections.
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