“Meet the NASGA Members”- SeaGals Gallery of DE, Sue Lemmons and Cheryl Eashum

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 Members are Sue Lemmons and Cheryl Eashum from SeaGals Gallery of DE.  Sue answered the questions for the two of them.

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

We are new members this year, but have been following the organization and related links and members’ sites for several years.

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

Cheryl and Sue of SeaGals Gallery of Delaware
Cheryl and Sue of SeaGals Gallery of Delaware

Our sea glass journey began long ago. As sisters, we have always been very close. We grew up camping and doing all the things that do along with that, including beachcombing.  Our jewelry boxes were full of fossils, beach stone and sea glass from the Delaware coast. Over the years, we continued our beachcombing and collecting beachy things. As these things began to pile up, my husband, a neat freak (a real challenge for an artist…), asked me one day to either get rid of the piles or use them. So, of course, I chose option number 2, and I used them!  We started with a lot of shell and beach stone art.  It was Cheryl who came up thought to wrap beach stones into pendants.  They were quite popular.  Then we thought about the sea glass we had been collecting forever, wrapped it and quickly learned that there was there was an entire sea glass culture out there. We were hooked and have been making jewelry and sea glass art ever since. Lucky for us, our families have been very supportive of our venture.

NASGA:  Please tell us about your particular craft and when you formed your business or began practicing your skill. (For members who create jewelry, the questions would, of course, differ from those who design mosaics or authors).

sea gals Eight years ago, I assisted a Girl Scout troop with arts and crafts, of which many were beach themed items we invented, such as shell ornaments, soaps, etc.  We decided to create a business badge, which would incorporate learning basic business and marketing skills by selling their items at a local craft show. When unexpectedly asked the name of our business, we impulsively replied “SeaGals Gallery”, since we were all girls. The items we had were a huge success, and although the girls were pitifully bored, that moment rekindled my deep-down desire to create.  The next year, my sister, Cheryl, joined in and together, we have cultivated and grown SeaGals Gallery of DE. Although we started with ornamental decorative type things, we moved into sea glass jewerly world six years ago- and now- cannot imagine life without it!

seagalsNASGA:  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?

We are absolutely committed to finding and using the glass in the state in which it is found.  We like to find the pieces with words, letters, and unusual shapes, and of course, all the different colors.  We also use pottery, fossils and still at times, pretty beach stones. Cheryl is very creative with pieces that have markings or patterns, using them as a background to create pendants with tiny artistic scenes.

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?

We have quite an extensive collection, so we try to separate by color in organizers and jars. We have specific pieces that we are partial to and will probably never part with those pieces. These special pieces are the ones that we found on trips or were found by someone close to us and have sentimental value.  We also have jewelry that we made for ourselves that would be hard to part with, although we have sold jewelry right off our bodies before, at client’s insistence.  There was one piece that sold that way and although I was hesitant, I decided to do it, thinking I could make another for myself.  I haven’t been able to find the same elements since, so, I learned that lesson the hard way.

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)?

Cheryl at annual pirate festival
Cheryl at annual pirate festival

As mentioned, Cheryl started out wrapping beach stones and fossils and then we incorporated sea glass.  We initially sold some really old sea glass & good colors for next to nothing!  I do wish I had kept the large lavender one from my ‘old jewelry box’ though, but we live and learn!  It is interesting to look at pictures of our original work and see how far we have come in technique and style.  We make unique pieces for women, kids and men, but we really enjoy making Pirate and Wench bling the most!

 

 

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)?  

seagalsWe have never organized a sea glass festival, but we have organized several craft shows, and it is truly a challenging experience.  Those who have never set one up, most likely have little idea of how difficult it is. We did host classes for the first time last year, at the request of group hosting a week-long event. We initially committed to one class for about 15 people.  These slots quickly filled during event registration, so we opened up a second class, both for 20 people and quickly filled all 40 slots. During the classes we discussed what genuine sea glass is, where if comes from and how to learn more from the NASGA website and the festivals.  These folks were from all over the country and several from other countries, so it was really fun to share our passion and see their creative sides unfold. During the 2 hour class, each person were able to wrap at least 2 pieces,  not all expertly, but enough to get a fair try with guidance. However, some were quite good at it and to see the pride of accomplishment from each attendee was very rewarding. One lady even went sea glassing while she was here in the one of the worst places for bugs, and we were so excited that she found glass.  She wrapped it and did a nice job.

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

Formal membership demonstrates commitment to the cause of preserving genuine sea glass.

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)?

This year will be our first NASGA Sea Glass Festival, but we’ve participated in many over the past 6 years.   The first one in Lewes was most memorable. People loved our items, and we did very well. However, as the culture has grown, we’ve not been accepted into that show as often as we would have liked.

NASGA:  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?

Hobbies:  gardening, making jelly and canning. Other things I would do: Write mystery stories; rehab old houses, travel the world

Sue during craft festival
Sue during craft festival

NASGA:  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? 

We have a Facebook page and welcome contact via email seagalsgallery@ymail.com

 

NASGA:  What is your favorite beachcombing find?

I found a red marble very early on.  I sold it on an artsy seashell pin for $5.00.  Again, live and learn, right?  I’ve never found another.

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

By continuing to get the message out to others that using genuine sea glass in natural state as found is true sea glass.  We also throw back any sea glass pieces that are not totally ready yet, to secure future sea glass finds.  Also, researching the history of found sea glass.

 

“Meet the NASGA Members”- STBeachFinds, Steve Gladhill and Tammy Thatcher

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 Steve Gladhill and Tammy Thatcher of STBeachFinds from St. Leonard, Maryland.

NASGA: Hello, Steve and Tammy.   How long have you been a member of NASGA?

We’ve been a member of NASGA since April 2015

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

We have lived on the beach most of our lives.  We walk the beach to relax and enjoy nature.  In doing so you find all kinds of interesting things especially sea glass.

Some of ST Beach Finds sea glass collection
Some of ST Beach Finds sea glass collection

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

Our business started approximately 3 years ago.  Our collection had grown so much that we need a way to share it with people.  We both love to be creative and started by a lot of trial and error, along with online research and most of all going to festivals and talking to people.  We taught ourselves how to do wire wraps, drill glass and which glues work best.

Steve sorting sea glass for projects
Steve sorting sea glass for projects

 

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?

We are most definitely collectors.  Some of our most prized pieces decorate our home.  We have a few reds, yellows and many shades of blues.

 

 

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?

It is hard sometimes to part with that special piece but we ask ourselves, if someone else would enjoy it as much as we do and would another piece work as well in the project?  The piece usually ends up being used.  Of course we all have those pieces that we absolutely will not part with.

Tammy sorting sea glass
Tammy sorting sea glass

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)? 

We have definitely evolved over the last few years.  We look back now on some of the early photos and can see an improvement in the quality of our work.  We continue to research new techniques and talk to other crafts people to see what is working for them.  Exchanging information is the best way to help each other succeed.

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)?

We have not had the chance to do this yet, as we have only been members since April.

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

We are hoping being part of NASGA will help us network and build our business over the upcoming years.

Favorites from ST Beachfinds' sea glass collection
Favorites from ST Beachfinds’ sea glass collection

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)?

This will be the first festival in which we are participating.  We hope to come away with some wonderful memories that we might share next year.

NASGA: 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?

Steve: Become a Captain and pilot a boat to journey around the world.

NASGA: 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?

We always welcome contact with anyone interested in sea glass. Please feel free to use either our Facebook page, STBeachfinds or send us an email stbeachfinds@gmail.com

Small sea glass bottle stopper
Small sea glass bottle stopper

NASGA: What is your favorite beachcombing find?

We found a salt cellar, a stopper with a W engraved,  a stopper that is smaller than a dime and a few whole bottles.  Of course, any piece of red is a treasure.

 

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

We walk our local beaches and pick up trash others are leaving behind while always searching for sea glass.  When out in our boat we see things floating in the bay and stop to retrieve them if possible.  Sometimes these items are incorporated into crafts used in the other side of our business which deals with nautical designs.  We feel that by upcycling we are doing our part to help protect our beaches, waterways and the marine eco-system.

NASGA:  Thank you , we hope you enjoy your first NASGA Sea Glass Festival in Ocean City, Maryland, August 29th and 30th!

 

Marine debris, the silent killer of the ocean

As a mission of NASGA, we work to assist other non-profit organizations to protect and restore the nations shorelines and waterways.  Recent studies have shown that although progress is being made, there is still so much to be done.

Our beaches and waterways are littered with “stuff” that doesn’t belong in them. Marine debris comes in many forms, ranging from small plastic cigarette butts toMarine debris from underwater
4,000-pound derelict fishing nets. Plastic bags, glass, metal, Styrofoam, tires, derelict fishing gear, and abandoned vessels are all examples of debris that often ends up in our waterways.

 

How is the United States trying to help clean up the oceans, waterways and beaches we all love?

Marine Debris Poster (4) AI9 The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has monitored marine debris since the Marine Debris Act was signed by Congress in 2006, and started the Marine Debris Program.  Marine debris, known as flotsam and jetsam, follows the oceans movement, through currents, following tides and eventually makes landfall.

One of the main types of marine debris that you hear about today is plastic marine debris. In many places, it is the main type of debris that you will see as you walk along a beach.   As common as they are on our beaches and in our homes, how much do you really know about plastics?

As society has developed new uses for plastics, the variety and quantity of plastic items found in the marine environment has increased dramatically.  Plastics can enter into the marine environment a number of ways: through ineffective or improper waste management, intentional or accidental dumping and littering on shorelines or at sea, or through storm water runoff. Eventually, these plastics will degrade into smaller and smaller pieces.

Plastics are used in many aspects of daily life and are a big part of our waste stream. Many plastics are colorful and will float in water, which makes plastic debris a very visible part of the marine debris problem. However, an accurate estimate does not yet exist for how much debris is composed of plastic materials.

Coral is the rainforest of the sea, and marine debris, especially large and heavy debris, can crush and damage coral. In the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, which has one of the healthiest and least disturbed coral reef ecosystems in the United States,has an estimated 52 tons of derelict fishing nets accumulate every year.

 

FfE-LogoThe nets that drift there can be enormous, and when tangled together, weigh hundreds of pounds! Commercial or recreational fishers have been helping corals out by disposing of unwanted fishing gear through programs, such as National Fish and Wildlife Foundations Fishing for Energy.

 

NOAA recently published the Ten Things You Should Know About Marine Debris, that is not only informative, but also makes one think of ways to personally make a change to help the shorelines and marine environment.

A 3D rendering of the ocean cleanup array, a special device that 19-year old Dutch student, Boyan Slat, believes could clean up the world’s oceans, all while keeping plankton and fish safe from harm.

There have been many new inventive ideas, many from high school and college students, whom study Oceanography, Marine Technology and the like.  A few of these new inventions are being tested all around the world, with results that are hoping to help reduce the steady flow of debris floating around the Earth’s oceans. One of these new inventions is the The Ocean Clean Up, a spacecraft looking marine craft, motoring along the water collecting the debris.  The brainchild of a Aerospace Engineer student, Boyan Slat, the 19 year old wrote about his invention for a school paper in 2012, which won many accolades.  Boyan hopes his invention, which would cost about $30 million a year to operate, could remove 50 years worth of the ocean’s debris within 10 years.  Can it be done?  We certainly hope so!  Boyan is raising money to start the operation, and of this posting, has made the $2 million dollar goal, and will soon begin to make his dream a reality.  Although not a non-profit, his innovations will surely change the way we clean up our oceans.

So how can we, the beachcombing sea glass collectors help?  For starters, we can start at home.  If we reuse more, recycle more, and waste less, the amount of our trash making it to our oceans and waterways will decrease.

Another easy thing we can all do is to bring a separate bag for beach trash when we go hunting for sea glass!   Sounds easy enough, but do you do it?  We’d like to propose to all beachcombers everywhere to grab a bag before you go, and as you hunt for treasure, pick up the trash along the way.  Not only will it make us feel good for helping the environment, it’s a great workout (think of all those squats!) and it will also help fulfill our mission to restore the shorelines.

Lastly, join your local area beach clean-ups, there are many local, regional and national programs to help get your started!   Did you know that National Coastal Clean Up Day is the third Saturday in September every year?

As we start our new year, let’s make strides to help the environment every day, and don’t forget to mark your calendar, September 19, 2015 for next year’s Coastal Clean Up Day!