“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.

 

“Meet the NASGA Members”- Surfside Sea Glass, Denise Troy

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.

Denise Troy, Surfside Sea Glass from East Hampton, New York.

Hello, Denise,

Denise beachcombing for treasures
Denise beachcombing for treasures

How long have you been a member of NASGA?

I am relatively new to NASGA. I have been a member for 8 months now. But, I have admired the organization and attended almost every show since its inception.

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

I started making jewelry about 7 years ago. It began as a hobby as most do. After people expressed an interest in purchasing pieces, I opened an online shop and my business grew from there!

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

Denise finds her first multi colored sea glass piece in
Denise finds her first multi colored sea glass piece in

I am an avid collector still to this day – to the extent that most of my vacations involved locations where I can collect sea glass. Recently, I was visiting a friend in the Arizona desert after participating in a sea glass festival in California and found myself searching the sand for sea glass! Yikes, After that, I decided a trip to the mountains might be the best idea for my next trip to clear my head – just for a little while anyway 🙂

 

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? 

Denise found this yellow sea glass marble in Puerto Rico...quite a find!
Denise found this yellow sea glass marble in Puerto Rico…quite a find!

I have private collections from England, California and Puerto Rico. Some pieces, I just cannot part with. Some pieces, I make into jewelry and feel sad when they sell. I have to tell myself that they are “going to a good home”. And, I am sure they are. My customers are amazing people.

 

 

 

 

How has your craft evolved over time ?

Creating is always a work in progress no matter which craft it is applied to. I keep a sketch pad of ideas that come to me that I have yet to get to. I do not think I will ever complete that pad, but I think that is a good thing.

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 not had the honor to be involved on the organizational level yet.

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

The greatest benefit of being a NASGA member thus far is the credibility it gives my work. We all know what issues man-made sea glass has created in recent years. I love the fact that I work with other artisans who have the same values as I do in regard to the integrity of the sea glass.

Puerto Rico sea glass hunting
Puerto Rico sea glass hunting

Is there a particular festival that stands out as your favorite, and can you a share a memorable experience associated with a previous NASGA festival?

Cape Cod was my favorite NASGA festival to date. I took a dear friend who knew nothing about sea glass despite the fact that she lived in Puerto Rico. She became a fan that weekend. And, we had a blast together!

English sea glass collection
English sea glass collection

 

What are some of your other interests or hobbies? If you could learn another skill, does not need to be art related, what would it be?

I was a ballet/modern dancer in my “previous life” so I like to take a class here and there and attend performances. In the future, I am hoping to get in a few cooking classes with my son.

 

Where can readers find out more about your craft or skill? Also, are readers welcome to contact you, and if so, what is the preferred method for them to reach you?

I am developing a blog about all things sea glass which can reached through my site – surfsideseaglass.com . I can be contacted through that site or at surfsideseaglass@yahoo.com .

What is your favorite beachcombing find?

Despite the fact that Bermuda is not known for its jewelry-grade sea glass, my favorite piece came from that lovely island. I was literally sifting through a 2 foot pile of sea glass one day many years ago, and came across the most amazing red! It was very old, thick and tumbled – about the size of a quarter. It was love at first sight. That is one piece I would never part with.

How have you helped strengthen and support the NASGA Mission? 

I would like to think that I strengthen the NASGA mission by helping to educate people about the differences between genuine sea glass and man-made. I hope to set an example by collecting in a responsible way as well.

“Meet the NASGA Members”- A Day at the Beach, Jane Claire McHenry

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.

Jane Claire McHenry, A Day at the Beach, from Islamorada in the Florida Keys.

Hello, Jane Claire

How long have you been a member of NASGA?

I have been a member of NASGA for 6 years now, since 2010 when I participated in my first NASGA Festival in Cape Cod.

Jane  Claire McHenry, A Day at the Beach
Jane Claire McHenry,                           A Day at the Beach

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

Wow! I’d have to go back a long way to remember when I first became interested in sea glass. It would have to be when I was 5 or 6 years old spending summer weeks with my grandparents in Wareham, Mass., near the Cape Cod Canal. My grandmother collected sea glass on her many beach walks and, of course, like all early sea glass collectors she had them displayed in a big vase in her sunniest kitchen window. I loved to play with the sea glass, look at all the beautiful colors and help add to her collection. Sure wish I knew what happened to that sea glass!

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

Jane's collection of sea glass displayed beautifully in an abalone shell
Jane’s collection of sea glass displayed beautifully in an abalone shell

My sea glass business, A Day at the Beach Sea Glass Jewelry, was formed in 2009 after I retired from my publishing job of 25+ years. Even while I was still working I always dreamed of having my own business. So when I considered what kind of business to begin as my next “career” I remembered the advice I was always given, “explore your passion and do what you love to do.”

My husband and I were already avid beach combers and during our many island vacations had started our own sea glass collection. After working with the Center for Women and Enterprise in Providence to develop a business plan, “A Day at the Beach Sea Glass Jewelry” was born. After much trial and error, lots of jewelry classes and a long traverse along an even longer learning curve, we began selling our designs in early 2009, always amazed and a little thrilled when people actually purchased them!

Since then we have exhibited at over 100 Juried Art Shows, have many happy, regular wholesale customers and a successful online jewelry boutique. After being in business for 7 years I can say that one of the most rewarding takeaways has been our good fortune to meet wonderful people who we never would have met if not for the sea glass connection. Some of these people have become very close friends and we treasure them!

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?

Jane searching for Sea Glass Galway, Ireland
Jane searching for Sea Glass Galway, Ireland

Yes, we are still avid sea glass collectors and our “vacations” inevitably revolve around sea glass hunting. Even during our trip to Ireland last summer we were looking for glass during brief stops in small fishing villages. When we had a little extra time in Galway we finally found a beach where we were able to collect and we’re looking forward to finding more this year in Northern Ireland! I would love to travel to Spain, Sicily, Scotland, England, Greece and Japan to find sea glass, but I haven’t told my husband yet!

We are always interested in sea glass even if we can’t use it for our jewelry. We like to pass along what we don’t use to someone who may find a use for it! Favorite colors? Blues, aqua, sea foams. For me, personally, I am terribly fond of sea foam, one of the most underrated and beautiful sea glass colors. Favorite type of sea glass? A toss-up between bottle stoppers and marbles.

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? 

Jane's collection of pastel sea glass
Jane’s collection of pastel sea glass

We have a nice collection of our best beach finds displayed in a glass top table that my husband made for me for one of our wedding anniversaries. Some of our favorite pieces displayed are a collection of sea glass hearts, bottle stoppers, marbles and buttons.

We also have glass vases filled with small pieces of every sea glass color displayed in our living room windows, small sea glass filled vases on the mantle, a beautiful sea glass photo frame (made by my friend, Paula Fedele and NASGA Member, All About Sea Glass), two sea glass windows made by my friend, Robin Pierson.  Our children and grandchildren have already “reserved” certain collections so I don’t think we have to worry about parting with them as we are passing them on when we pass on!

How has your craft evolved over time ?

Thank goodness, our skills have improved over time. Experience is the ultimate teacher. I am the type of person who learns from my mistakes and sometimes I make the same mistake more than once. What I have also learned is to improve, you have to have the desire to expand your skills and your horizons. You can’t be complacent and comfortable. You always have to be slightly uncomfortable and that pushes you to be better, more careful, more meticulous. Another important lesson, one of the most difficult for me, is that everything takes longer than you think it will. So if you want to start a business, especially a sea glass business, be patient and plan ahead but above all be patient.

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 yet to have the opportunity to be active in the association but have offered my help with projects in the past and hope to be able to contribute assistance in the future.

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

Credibility: When you are a member of NASGA you agree to make the commitment to sell items that are designed with authentic sea glass. If you are in this business, credibility is key.

When you are selling real, beach found sea glass it has intrinsic value that cannot be replicated, especially by something that is man-made or altered to mimic its appearance. Real, surf- tumbled sea glass is 20-30+ years old, is not available in abundance and is not available in every color of the rainbow. The value of real sea glass is its story, its unique shape and color, its history and the effort required to find it.

When we meet people and talk about sea glass we always tell them that we are members of the NASGA and that we, and all NASGA members, pledge to sell only authentic sea glass. Most of the time our audience is truly impressed that a national organization dedicated to educating people about sea glass even exists!

 Friendships: We feel fortunate to have developed so many wonderful friendships through our NASGA Membership and Festival participation. I am in awe of the talent that is displayed at the Festivals and always impressed by how much camaraderie and support there is among participants. I consider this one of the best benefits of a NASGA membership.

Is there a particular festival that stands out as your favorite, and can you a share a memorable experience associated with a previous NASGA festival?

I would have to say that my most memorable festival was my very first one in Hyannis on Cape Cod. I remember being very nervous before the doors opened because I didn’t know what to expect and didn’t think I was ready. Then I heard Roxann’s announcement countdown to the doors opening “5, 4, 3, 2, 1” and I thought I would pass out! I did survive, and have survived five festivals since and look forward to  NASGA Sea Glass Festival in Ocean City Maryland, August 29 and 30th, 2015. But Roxann, can you dispense with the countdown? (Just kidding!)

What are some of your other interests or hobbies? If you could learn another skill (does not need to be art related) what would it be?

Oh my. Where would I begin? I am sure that most of my friends and family consider sea glass collecting and jewelry design as a hobby when it is my full time job with no time for hobbies! If I had to give it up for some reason I would improve my photography and writing skills. I’d love to write a children’s book about sea glass and life lessons.  Maybe (just maybe) I’d even travel to places where there isn’t a chance to find sea glass.

Where can readers find out more about your craft or skill? Also, are readers welcome to contact you, and if so, what is the preferred method for them to reach you?

I would love to hear from readers who are interested in sea glass and sea glass jewelry. I have an online sea glass jewelry boutique, www.seaglassjewelrybyjane.com. I am also on Facebook  and Pinterest  and welcome emails at shopping@seaglassjewelrybyjane.com

What is your favorite beachcombing find?

Sea glass bottle stopper found by  Jane's Grandaughter in Bermuda
Sea glass bottle stopper found by Jane’s Grandaughter in Bermuda

You know, years ago I found a large, thick piece of pink sea glass in Bermuda. I saw it on the beach while I was still on the street walking towards it. I was so afraid someone else was going to arrive at the beach and pick it up!   But I’ll have to say that my favorite find is actually my granddaughter’s favorite find (so far), also in Bermuda! She and my husband were snorkeling right along the water line and she found a beautiful aqua, flawless bottle stopper. She was so proud and I was so happy to think that this could be the beginning of a new generation of sea glass hunters.

How have you helped strengthen and support the NASGA Mission? 

By always trying to educate the public about the value of real sea glass; about what it is, how it is formed, where it is found, why some pieces are priced more than others and about the differences between real sea glass and artificial sea glass. The members of NASGA are like an Army, spreading the word about this wonderful creation of man and nature.

“Meet the NASGA Members” – Out of the Blue Sea Glass Jewelry, Lisl Armstrong

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 introduce our first “Meet the NASGA Member”, Lisl Armstrong from Out of the Blue Sea Glass Jewelry, Florida.

Hello, Lisl!   Thank you for being the first member in our “Meet the NASGA Member” series.   Since you’re on the NASGA Communications Committee, and helped with the inception of this new series, and the fact that you’ve been involved with NASGA since 2007, we thought you’d be the perfect choice!  We look forward to reading how you started your love of sea glass.

NASGA:  How long have you been a member of NASGA? 

Lisl:  I have been a member of the NASGA since 2007

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

Red sea glass collected in Puerto Rico
Red sea glass collected in Puerto Rico

Lisl:  I was living in New York City in 1987 and needed a break from the cold. My grandmother who was from Puerto Rico gave me a two week vacation trip to the island as a gift. While walking on a beach in Rincon during a giant swell the surf literally threw a piece of sea glass at me. I watched it fly through the air and hit the hard wet sand. It was a cobalt blue bottle rim. The experience was otherworldly. Everything around me slowed down and there was a silence and I heard an enchanting, chiming gong like sound in my mind. A few days later the swell died down leaving behind piles of sea glass and seashells. I became addicted to collecting sea glass and my return ticket back to the states expired. I lived in Puerto Rico for the next fifteen years all because of sea glass!

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

Lisl:  I needed to find a way to support my beach combing habit. I started making jewelry within weeks of finding my first piece of sea glass and learned as I went along. I use to sell my jewelry from a portable card table in front of a small hotel. I quickly became addicted to making sea glass jewelry. It is amazing to me that the sea has taken in something manmade that was meant to be forgotten and then returns it to us as a gem like treasure.

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?  

Collected shells and pottery from Florida's Gulf Coast
Collected shells and pottery from Florida’s Gulf Coast

Lisl:  Yes, I am still a collector. I live in Florida now and our beaches do not have a lot of sea glass. I go beach combing just about every day though and have found a few nice pieces here. I also love to collect seashells, ancient fossilized sharks teeth, driftwood etc. My husband and I travel the world looking for sea glass. I am fanatical about aquamarine and turquoise sea glass.

 

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? 

Lisl:  My collection consists of sea glass that we collected ourselves in Puerto Rico, England, Italy, Costa Rica and in the USA. I do not use sea glass that would be hard for me to part with in jewelry that I sell. Sea marbles are very special to me. After living several years in Puerto Rico I found only a few. When I met my husband we would go beach combing together and he would find sea marbles all of the time. I guess my eye does not see the round shapes. I have a special collection of sea marbles that I will never part with because they mean so much to me.

NASGA:  How has your craft evolved over time (how has experience helped you to perfect your craft and whether you were self-taught or took classes or had some other type of training, or whether you perhaps happened to discover your craft by accident or had an experience that shifted your focus from one type of craft/skill to another)?  

Collection of Lisl's red sea glass buttongs
Collection of Lisl’s red sea glass buttons

Lisl:  In the beginning I taught myself. Over the years I have taken a lot of jewelry classes. When I lived in Puerto Rico I went through several hurricanes and lost just about everything I owned during Hurricane Georges in 1998.  After that experience, along with living in an open air house in the tropics, made me yearn for things that did not rust or degrade. So my main focus in my art is to make very strong jewelry with unusually thick wire. I do not use anything that could degrade like plated metals, stringing materials or glue etc. I find that sea glass has an ancient beauty so I make jewelry that I imagine the ancients would have made with simple hand tools and thick wire. The wire methods I use were originated thousands of years ago by nomadic people that travelled the silk route. They did a lot with only a few tools. I strive to make jewelry that will still be around in a thousand years. It all comes from living in the tropics where things would rust, breakdown or mildew etc. right before your eyes.

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)?  

Lisl:  I have always devoted myself to the NASGA in some way whether it be in helping to organize the collectors area at the festival, serving on the board, moderating the Ning site etc. I have also lectured at some of the NASGA festivals.

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

Lisl, Cindy and Linda during  NASGA's Cape May festival in 2014
Lisl, Linda and Cindy during NASGA’s Cape May sea glass festival in 2014                                                Photo courtesy of Cindy Mullin

 

Lisl:  Being a NASGA member has benefitted me tremendously. I have made a lot of really good friends through the NASGA and have had a lot of good times at the festivals. Those of us that have sea glass businesses are always dealing with the hassles of those that present fake sea glass to the public as being real. I find the NASGA to be a sanctuary for those of us that work with authentic sea glass. NASGA protects the sea glass customer which is very important. There are still a lot of fakes out there but without the NASGA I think it would be a lot worse.

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)?

Lisl:  The first NASGA festival I attended was in Lewes, Delaware years ago. That was where I first met other sea glass enthusiasts. That festival was the Woodstock of sea glass. It was really crowded. It was warfare, lol. I gave a lecture on Sunday and I was really nervous. I had never lectured before and decided to just go for it. My lecture was written on several pieces of paper. In the beginning I was so nervous that my voice was shaking. At some point I just decided what the heck and threw my notes up in the air and the audience really liked that. I relaxed and was able to give my lecture.

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)?  

Lisl:  Yes, I am always striving to make things that are primitive and ancient looking.

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

Lisl:  Yoga, nature, ecology and the ancient world.

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? 

Lisl:  On my website naturalseaglass.com 

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

Lisl:  I do my best to participate in a broader sea glass community which is made up NASGA members as well as countless enthusiasts from all over the world through social networking. Social networking is an ideal modality for sea glass enthusiasts. There are various places on the internet where sea glass collectors congregate and empower each other. On any given day people are sharing information online with each other and helping to weed out the fakes. For those of us that have businesses I think it is important that we validate one another in terms of sea glass authenticity. This empowers the honest seller and helps protect consumers from getting ripped off.  While on the board I took on the task of organizing the collectors area for the festivals so there would be a display only component at the festivals. I have continued to help with this effort to some extent. Last year I helped the NASGA to create an informative card about the differences between real sea glass and artificial sea glass. After serving on the board, I know how much work it involves and how time consuming it is. So when asked by the NASGA to help,  I make it a point to say “Yes”, even if it is in only a small way. I think all members should keep in mind that NASGA is made up of volunteers and what little the rest of us can do to help makes a big difference in keeping NASGA and it’s mission going.

A collectors Interview – Lisa Crabtree – Florida

l&c-2

Credited to fate (and possibly, in part to a “Peace, Love, and Sandy Feet” tee shirt I wore while boarding a bus in St. George), I was extremely fortunate to cross paths with Lisa Crabtree, our featured collector in this issue of Shorelines. A Florida resident with a deep passion for sea glass, Lisa introduced me to some prime collecting sites in Bermuda, and in turn, I introduced her to NASGA!
By Ellie Mercier, member,
North American Sea Glass Assocation

 

NASGA: Hello again Lisa! First, thank you for teaching me that a profitable beachcombing trip is not necessarily limited to returning home with an abundance of gems from the sea, yet if Mother Nature’s timing is especially ideal, an unexpected encounter with a fellow collector could blossom into a meaningful new friendship! Can you share the circumstances surrounding your discovery of sea glass?  I was fortunate to have met the “right person” at the “right time.” My boys had just moved out of the house, and I was experiencing the empty nest syndrome and desperately needed a hobby after work. One day, a newly hired coworker had on a piece of sea glass jewelry, and I had never seen anything so beautiful that wasn’t an actual gemstone. My co-worker shared that her boyfriend had found the shard while walking on our local beach, and he was kind enough to share his knowledge of how to find these gorgeous gems with me. Once I found my first piece, I was hooked. It was “hello new hobby,” and “bye-bye empty nest syndrome!”

 

green sea glass
Special Green sea glass

NASGA: Since beachcombing is an ideal form of therapy for those experiencing the “empty nest syndrome,” I have a strong suspicion that the timing of your newfound hobby was not a coincidence! Do you have a special piece you can share with us?   I actually have several favorites, but the one that stands out is a Kelley-green patterned piece that I found when my oldest and dearest friend, who was intent on learning how to hunt for sea glass, came into town for a quick visit. Despite the fact that the weather on this particular day happened to be rainy and windy and the tide was exceptionally high with rough surf, I was optimistic we would find a piece in the shade of green that my friend desired. Still empty handed as the end of our walk neared, a strong wave rolled in, and as I looked down at the edge of the surf, I eyed a green piece and screamed out, “Green!” However, when I dove in to grab it, I missed, and my friend, who had been watching me intently, followed the piece and was able to scoop it up. Ironically, not only was the sea glass in the shade of green she had hoped for but it was a beautifully tumbled and patterned piece. I believe that my girlfriend’s mother was our “sea glass angel” that day and sent the beautiful gem our way from heaven. It remains the only patterned piece I’ve spotted on my local beach and was an amazing first find for my girlfriend.

NASGA: What is your definition of an “ideal” find?   My absolute favorite color is turquoise. Although the hue is extremely uncommon, particularly in Florida, I do have one small piece of turquoise sea glass in my collection that I found locally.

NASGA: Is there a specific beach that you regularly frequent or do you generally comb in various areas?   I primarily search along Florida’s central east coast beaches and have been very lucky to find an array of sea glass in this region, including rare shades of black and yellow (as well as turquoise, of course)! I must comment that it requires a sharp eye to locate these beauties. Outside of Florida, I have combed on the Jersey shore and have had the opportunity to hunt in Bermuda twice last year (and my husband and I just made plans to return to Bermuda over the summer for a third visit)!

NASGA: Do you generally beachcomb alone, or do you have any designated “partners in crime” who accompany you on searches?   I comb with my husband the majority of the time, but lately, the activity has become a family affair. My youngest son, who never particularly enjoyed the beach, is now combing with us on a weekly basis. It’s the thrill of the hunt that brings us all together.

 NASGA: In addition to sea glass, do you scout the beaches for other nautical treasures?   My husband and I love to collect driftwood, buoys, and old lobster traps, many of which we find in the Keys. Some of these remnants have been repurposed into picture frames and yard art. One cool find was a piece of driftwood shaped like a whale.

NASGA: Aside from the obvious payoff of discovering nautical treasure, are there other benefits of the hobby that you revel in?   I revel in the simple beauty of the beach and everything it has to offer; it allows me to find peace, rejuvenate my soul, and occasionally, to find myself after getting lost from time to time in the daily shuffle of life.

NASGA: Your words of wisdom in response to the previous question beautifully capture some of the key advantages of the pastime! Do you have a memorable beachcombing experience you can share with us?   It would have to be the time I observed three baby sea turtles making their way to the ocean. If it were not for my new found love of beachcombing, I never would have witnessed this once-in-a-lifetime event since I used to spend my days ashore with my behind planted in a beach chair!

 NASGA: You mentioned previously that you create picture frames and yard art with your beach finds. Do you incorporate your discoveries into other projects and/or home décor as well?   This hobby has opened up many new doors for me and has especially allowed me to discover a creative side to myself that I never knew existed; I couldn’t be any happier. Most of my collected remnants are reserved for jewelry projects and shadow box art (yet it can be difficult to part with my creations since I develop a connection with each piece of sea glass I bring home). I also enjoy dividing my finds by color and displaying them in glass jars on windowsills throughout my home. Currently, my husband is working on a sea turtle mosaic with his Bermudan finds, so I am anxiously awaiting to see the finished project adorned on one of our walls!

NASGA: What are some of the beachcombing destinations included on your “bucket list”?   Many sea glass destinations remain on my “bucket list,” and I hope to cross them all off in this lifetime, but the beaches of Spain (where, as my intuition tells me, I would discover a nice sized shard of turquoise) absolutely top the list.

NASGA: Aside from collecting, what are some of your other interests or hobbies?  Before I discovered sea glass hunting, I enjoyed metal detecting, and although I never found anything of substantial monetary value, I did find an old matchbox helicopter buried in my yard that belonged to my son some twenty years earlier. Similar to sea glassing, those “thrill of the hunt” hobbies are what intrigue me the most. Every piece of found treasure tells a story.

NASGA: Many collectors would likely agree that the history associated with found remnants is certainly one of the main attractions of the pastime. To illustrate, for the past two decades, my Father and I have frequently combed along a specific section of the Chesapeake Bay, and every now and then, we discover a tiny, square, blue or maroon ceramic tile; not only do we continue to speculate about the original source of these tiles, but each time I happen to find such a specimen when combing alone, I immediately think about my Father and break into a smile, and vice versa. It is truly fascinating that a small, seemingly trivial, tangible object could represent a link to the past as well as initiate a connection between two individuals. Do you have any parting thoughts, or perhaps a helpful tip for fellow collectors?    Probably the most valuable advice is that I am often successful in finding rare shades of sea glass along the highest wrack line closest to the dunes, as some of the treasures that lay buried in the “sands of time” are eventually unearthed during high storm tides.

NASGA: Lisa, thank you for entertaining the sea glass community with your personal stories and wisdom and for pointing out that the pastime has allowed you to overcome the “Empty Nest Syndrome,’ which effectively demonstrates the intense passion and inspiration for the hobby shared by many collectors. And as always, “Peace, Love and Sandy Feet!”