Danielle at the NASGA Cape May, NJ Sea Glass Festival

“Meet the NASGA Members”- Jewelry by Danielle Renee

The North American Sea Glass Association (NASGA) has been working towards integrating NASGA‘s online presence, including the NASGA website, NASGA’s Facebook pages, the NASGA‘s NING social networking site, the Shorelines Newsletter, as well as our blog, to strengthen NASGA’s mission and increase NASGA’s presence within the sea glass community.

Each member of NASGA will have the opportunity to share their involvement with NASGA and the NASGA Mission, and “introduce” themselves as members of the North American Sea Glass Association. We’re calling this the “Meet the NASGA Members” blog series. We’re excited to share our next member with you.

Our next NASGA Member is Danielle Renee with Jewelry by Danielle Renee

NASGA:  Can you share your “personal sea glass story” (how and when you became interested in sea glass)? 

Danielle sea glass hunting in Gloucester, MA

My love of sea glass stems from being an old beach bum at heart.  I am a lifelong sea glass collector and full time sea glass artisan. While growing up in Massachusetts, my family owned beach property along the New England Coast. My interest in sea glass collecting started in the 1960’s. Sea glass hunting was a passion I shared with my grandmother “Mimi” since childhood.  Her summer home in the early 1990’s was a little water front cottage at Salisbury Beach in Massachusetts where I continued to stroll the beach with eyes fixed on the shore line in search of our sea glass gems.  Each piece of sea glass that I could surrender to Mimi at the door step of the cottage brought joy to both of us.  One day Mimi turned to me and handed me our collection of sea glass.  She said out of everyone she knew I would appreciate her collection the most.  A few months later she passed on.  Even now, when I stumble upon a special piece of sea glass while strolling along the shoreline I say “Thank you Mimi”.

 

Sea glass hunting with friends
Sea glass hunting with friends

NASGA:  Please tell us about your particular craft and when you formed your business or began practicing your skill.

It had been ten years since Mimi gave me our sea glass collection. For ten years I kept dusting off the large crystal container that contained the best of Mimi’s and my sea glass. Every time I did this, I would get lost in thought at these beauties from the sea and knew I had to make something beautiful with them. Where do I begin? It became my passion

It was autumn of 2005. It was a Sunday and I was out for a joy ride spending quality time with my dad. While driving along taking in the fall foliage, I notice a yellow sign that stuck out that said “BEADS”. It was closed, but the sign said they offered jewelry making classes.

The next day after work, I ventured back with a few of my sea glass gems in my pocket.  They offered an array of jewelry making classes with beading designs and wire wrapping. The owner was delightful and though not ever known of sea glass said I should sign up for a basic wire wrap lesson and I did!  I practiced for several weeks daily until I perfected my first design, making what I learned “my own” with my first sea bracelet design.

My designs quickly became popular with the locals.  I would wear them to work and ladies and gents offered to purchase them from me.  The writing was on the wall.  I launched a website and I have been in business for 10 years.  Although wire wrapping was my forte initially it wasn’t long before I enrolled in jewelry making classes which I attended for four years learning, perfecting and creating designs with metal smith techniques.  Nature is full of inspiration and I draw my creativity from nature especially the sea!

I continue to grow as an artist daily.  The creation process is the most exhilarating part of my sea glass journey only second to finding a piece of red!

NASGA:  Are you also an avid sea glass collector (or do you solely enjoy working on your craft or skill), and are you partial to a certain type or color of sea glass? 

Sea glass hunting at Spectacle Island, Boston
Sea glass hunting at Spectacle Island, Boston with the North East Sea Glass Society

Yes, I am an avid sea glass collector and started a sea glass hunters group in New England in 2009!  We have over 1000 members and many friendships have spawned from our sea glass outings.  We are the “North East Sea Glass Society” and can be found on Facebook.

I am not partial to any particular color of sea glass, however, I am interested in rare colors of high quality, vintage with a history that I can use in my art.

Treasured pieces from Danielle's collection
Treasured pieces from Danielle’s collection

NASGA:  If you are a collector, can you tell us about your collection and whether it may be difficult to part with some of your creations or incorporate your favorite pieces into projects?

My collection is vast with many extremely rare pieces of sea glass that have been collected by me and a few trusted and professional sea glass traders that I have partnered with over the last decade.  These collectors have access to some of the most remote parts of the world and will never share their locations even with me. Hence it is difficult for me to let go of some of pieces even for a price.  Over the years I have become increasingly aware of how my sea glass and art has defined me.  This has spurred me on to begin creating heirloom pieces for my loved ones.

NASGA:  Have you previously been (or are you currently) active in the association (have you had the opportunity to organize a festival, serve on the board, deliver a presentation, participate in educational-related events)?

 I have been a member of the NASGA since it started.  I have served as “Treasurer” and as an “Executive Board Member”.  I was instrumental in putting together the “Cape Cod Sea Glass Festival” in Hyannis, MA with the very talented and exuberant members of our sea glass hunters group “The North East Sea Glass Society” as the volunteers that worked so diligently and joyfully to make it a success.

Danielle Renee (right) with NASGA Member Lisl Armstrong
Danielle Renee (right) with NASGA Member Lisl Armstrong

NASGA:  How has your membership in NASGA benefited you professionally and/or personally?

 I considered myself very fortunate early on in my business when the NASGA was launched.  Most people did not understand what authentic sea glass was and the difference between real a fake. At this time only a handful of artists are engaged in professional sea glass collecting and selling their sea glass art.  The North American Sea Glass Association offered me the camaraderie that I sought.

 

NASGA:  Is there a particular NASGA festival that stands out as your favorite (if the member has participated in several, or more than one), and can you a share a memorable experience associated with a previous NASGA festival (whether sentimental, humorous, ironic)?

 I have participated in many of the NASGA Sea Glass Festivals, but the one that stands out most is the Lewes, DE Festival.  My husband had taken ill several months before the Festival.  Not knowing the outcome at that time I did not sign up as a vendor.  My husband healed well and a week before the Festival my devoted daughter decided we had to go there and volunteer to help*.  She knew I needed a break and I would be in my element.  She was right!  We had a ball.  I met so many people from all over the country that I had been in contact with through the internet and phone conversations.  We stepped in and rolled up our sleeves and helped out at several of the vendors booths.

(Editors side note: *Interested in Volunteering for the North American Sea Glass Festival in Ocean City, Maryland?  Find out more here)

Danielle at the NASGA Cape May, NJ Sea Glass Festival
Danielle at the NASGA Cape May, NJ Sea Glass Festival

NASGA:  Do you have any specific plans or goals for your craft or business (new designs or objects you wish to create or perhaps a desire to expand your business or change directions when you have more time at some point)?

 New designs are a constant with me.  I believe it will always be authentic and unaltered sea glass that I will use in my designs.  I have starting teaching workshops and held my first one in August of 2014 that was for a group of art teachers at a regional high school in MA in order for them to accrue credits.

NASGA:  What are some of your other interests or hobbies?

Always an athlete, I have found that this season of my life Kayaking suits me and I have been an avid Kayaker for the last several years.  I enjoy swimming, reading, walking the beach and mostly spending time with my loved ones and friends as well as private, quiet time renewing my spirit in meditation and prayer.

NASGA:  Where can readers find out more about your craft or skill, and if applicable, access information about your upcoming events or festivals? Also, are readers welcome to contact you, and if so, what is the preferred method for them to reach you?

 www.JewelrybyDanielleRenee.com is my website and my email address is Sales@JewelrybyDanielleRenee.com

NASGA:  How have you helped strengthen and support the NASGA Mission?

 Education!  Education! Education!  There is still much to be done in educating the public on the difference of real sea glass vs fake.  I always have a display at my booth of real vs fake whenever I participate at an event.  I do believe that I have supported the mission with my sea glass hunters group that has been a catalyst for bringing together sea glass collectors in the New England area.  I also will respectfully educate a shop owner if I see fake sea glass labeled as real.

 

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