“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”- Meg Carter – Made by Meg

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 Meg Carter with Made by Meg

NASGA: How long have you been a member of NASGA?
Since 2014, but I have participated as a vendor in the NASGA Festival for 4 years.

NASGA: Can you share your “personal sea glass story” (how and when you became interested in sea glass)?
I have always been a collector.  At a young age my Mom introduced me to the art of collecting by sharing her rock collection from her childhood.  I was impressed by the organization and labeling of each specimen.  I always found myself picking up rocks or shells when at the beach.  Growing up in inland Connecticut, trips to the beach were usually based around visits to my grandparents in Florida.  I would collect all sorts of beach treasures on those trips.  It was on a trip to Maine with a friend at the age of 9 that I found my first piece of sea glass.  It was not just any piece of glass, it was the top of a spice container which still had in place the top with holes.  Sea glass became a favorite to find from then on.  It was not until I started my jewelry business many years later that trips and expeditions to search for sea glass really made my collection thrive.

Meg at a North American Sea Glass Festival
                  Meg at a North American Sea Glass Festival

NASGA: Please tell us about your particular craft and when you formed your business or began practicing your skill.
My interest in the jewelry industry was fueled by working in sales for one of the major jewelry chains during college.  My art degree and a childhood of crafts and art projects developed my art skills.  My passion for collecting beach treasures started from a young age.  All of these factors came together when I was commissioned to make some sea glass jewelry.  After then making some sea glass jewelry for myself, friends and family it soon became apparent that I might have a business. So in November of 2008, I created Made By Meg.   After a few years my business was thriving and it was necessary to leave my 8-5 job to run Made By Meg full time.  I now have a full studio in my home where I make wire wrapped sea glass jewelry, bezel set sea glass jewelry and specialize in sea glass and diamond engagement rings.

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?
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina  is not known for sea glass and with good reason.  It is a good day if I find two semi frosted pieces of sea glass and that is with a trained eye.  For me to keep my business going it requires me to go on trips to replenish my supply.  When those trips do happen they are very exciting and I really look forward to them.  I have always been partial to the sea foam shades of sea glass, but there’s something about white sea glass that I think most collectors overlook.  The pureness and soft look of a well frosted white piece really calls to me for some reason.

Meg enjoying the beach and beautiful sunset
Meg enjoying the beach and beautiful sunset

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? 
I keep my sea glass collection very organized.  I have divided my collection by quality, then color, then size.  Over the years I have tried different methods of storing my collection, but have found the most convenient and accessible way to store it is in removable drawers.  I have my best quality pieces for engagement rings in individual gem display holders for easy viewing and to keep them safe.  My most unique finds are in a basket on my work table so I can view and enjoy them on a daily bases.  I am also very attached to unique pieces that have designs or clues to the pieces original state.  Pieces that really call to me are special and often kept in my own personal collection.

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)?
Wire wrapping is an obvious place to start with sea glass jewelry and is where my craft started.  My style of wrapping is more organic than ornate and makes the sea glass more of the focus than the wrapping style.  I enjoy the way the piece of glass almost has a way of determining the design.  I am completely self taught in wire wrapping and have always found it fun and therapeutic.  Before starting my business I had done an apprenticeship under a local jeweler where I learned the basics of using a torch and soldering.  After a few years in business I decided to dabble in using a torch again.  I went back to the same jeweler and purchased the equipment I had learned on.  I had to reteach myself as it had been so long since I learned.  After a lot of trial and error and patience I was able to figure out how to bezel set sea glass.   It was not long after this, I was commissioned to do my first sea glass and diamond engagement ring.  After that first one was complete it snowballed quickly. Now, at any given time, I am working on 3-4 sea glass engagement rings. They are my passion and my favorite pieces to make.  Working directly with the customer to design and create a unique ring that is so special is so exciting.  Getting an email from a customer saying “she said YES!!!!” and knowing that customer intends to wear a piece of my artwork and jewelry everyday for the rest of their life is truly an amazing feeling. I have also grown my wholesale business providing jewelry for many retail locations.  I have lots of goals and plans for the future when it comes to expanding my jewelry line.  Also being a stay at home mom, time is limited to reach these goals, but I am so excited about the future and the possibilities.

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)?
Still new to being a member of the association, I have not held an active roll or board member title, but I look forward to the opportunity in the future.

NASGA: How has your membership in NASGA benefited you professionally and/or personally?
Being a part of the association has given me the opportunity to show my support for the sea glass community as a whole.  I believe that the world of sea glass is still in its infant stages and is quickly gaining momentum and interest throughout the world.  I find, especially in the area I live in, it is common to hear people ask me “what is sea glass?”  It seems like a strange question given the people I converse with on a regular bases, but there are still many people who have never even heard of sea glass.  It is exciting to be a part of things from the beginning stages.  For generations to come, sea glass is going to rise in popularity and be harder to find, so it will also be prized.

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 enjoyed all the festivals I have attended and participated in.  It is so exciting to meet and talk with so many people that share a passion for sea glass.  So many people with one common interest sharing stories, ideas, artwork and experiences is fun and inspiring.  Having the opportunity to meet my customers and share my artwork and jewelry with them is very rewarding for me.  I would have to say the Cape May 2014 festival sticks out to me because of two visitors I had at my booth.  I have made many sea glass engagement rings and all of them have been for customers all over the world and not one of them I have met in person, until the Cape May festival.  Two wonderful ladies had chosen me to make a ring for their engagement.  Their ring has always stood out to me because of the way I designed it.   They had mentioned writing poems to each other was something special between them.  They shared one of those poems with me as inspiration.  I used their poem and designed the ring around it.  It is one of my favorite designs (it is the Beaufort design in my portfolio).  When I was at the Cape May festival I was conversing with customers, as usual, when someone walked up to my booth put her hand out in front of me showing off a ring and said “recognize this?” I obviously did immediately.  They had driven for hours just to come to the show and meet me!  I was so touched by this I was almost in tears.  It will be a memory that will always be special to me.

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?
Although my business and making jewelry takes a majority of my time, I have joined in helping with my husband’s hobby in brewing craft beer.  We, both being artists, enjoy the creativity of trying new recipes that suit our tastes and sharing with friends, family and neighbors.

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?
Visit my website: www.madebymeg.net
Email: Meg@madebymeg.net
Phone: 843-424-1537
You can follow me on these social media sites:
Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/MadeByMeg
Instagram: https://instagram.com/madebymeg/ @madebymeg
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MadeByMegCarter @madebymegcarter

NASGA: What is your favorite beachcombing find?
My favorite find is surprisingly not sea glass.  Here in Myrtle Beach, SC there’s not much sea glass, When my head is down and looking at the surf, I am usually looking for shark teeth.  My husband and I have an extensive collection that we have found over the years.  In case you are not familiar with collecting shark teeth, most are surprised to learn that most of the teeth you will find are black or brown.  The teeth you find that are black are millions of years old.  If you find a white tooth it is not nearly as old and extremely rare.  In November of 2007, when my then boyfriend took me to the beach at sunrise for a beachcombing walk, he had something else in mind.  He proposed as you might have guessed.  I said “yes”, obviously, and after our excitement we proceeded to walk down the beach looking for shark teeth, as normal.  After only a few steps, I found a white shark tooth.  It was a special find for a very special day.

Carter Sea Glass Color Naming
Carter Sea Glass Color Naming

NASGA: How have you helped strengthen and support the NASGA Mission?
One of the NASGA Mission points is “Provide a forum and knowledge base for sea glass enthusiasts to communicate with other individuals who share their passion for genuine beach sea glass.”  I have helped strengthen this objective by creating the Carter Sea Glass Color and Rarity Guide.  Over the years I observed a need within the sea glass community.  While referring to colors and calling them names, nowhere was there an expanded standard for what each color should be called.  I found a need myself with this issue.  When customers would make an order for a custom piece they might say they would like “aqua” color sea glass, My opinion of what “aqua” was and what someone else’s opinion of “aqua” could be completely different.  I believed that for the community to communicate, a list of standard names needed to be created.  I went to my own collection and spent many hours to finally decide on 81 colors of sea glass which I then officially named.  I also found while doing this that a user friendly rarity scale would also be beneficial to the community.  Rating each color on a 1-10 rarity scale is an organized and simple way of discussing and classifying a rarity grade.  I compiled all of these names and rarity grades on a poster for display and use.  The colors are arranged in an artistic way making the guide not only a useful tool, but a work of art.  My hope is that going forward, the Carter Guide can be used as a go to standard name and rarity guide for all sea glass collectors. So far the community has had a very positive response to the guide and it is already being used by collectors all over the world.

 

 

“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!

 

“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”- 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.