Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Why Sea Glass Jewelry?

Why did my sister and I choose to work with sea glass in creating our jewelry? First, we love sea glass - we love the look of it, the feel of it and the collecting of it.

Authentic sea glass looks almost frosty, muted because it has been in the ocean. Some pieces look frostier than others and some even look like rocks. The longer a piece of sea glass is in the water the frostier and sometimes darker it becomes. Water leeches out the lime and soda in the original piece of glass leaving sea glass with a pitted effect on the surface and the formation of tiny crystals - the frost. The leeching or hydration process is a long, slow process which is why when hunting for sea glass you will find all sorts of glass in varying stages of hydration (some pieces of glass have been in the water longer than others.) Often, when searching for sea glass you will find it sparkling in the light like a treasure waiting to be found. In this necklace there are three small sea glass stones that come from the North Coast of England. These sea glass stones are dense in color and have been in the sea for many, many years. Note how the glass is frosty and a bit pitted and so unlike the clear piece of glass it was originally.

Fake sea glass or glass that has been made to look like sea glass usually comes from a rock tumbler. You can spot fake sea glass because of the look and feel. It is has a smooth satiny feel to the touch and it does not have the little "c" shaped patterns on the surface of the glass. Sometimes, people make fake sea glass by soaking the glass in acid and then tumbling in a rock tumbler, but it still looks different from real sea glass. No one has been able to duplicate the process glass undergoes in the ocean as it tumbles in the sand and waves over time - which makes authentic sea glass so special.
Sea glass comes in a limited palette of colors because they are pieces of glass that ususally come from broken bottles. The very common colors are - white, green, brown and they can be found on beaches throughout the world. Unique colors are green, brown, and white glass that show age in that they are thick or have patterning. A little harder to find sea glass is in the colors of sea green, cobalt blue, lavender, light aqua, amber. And even harder to find are the light blue-cornflower blue, lime green, red, orange, yellow, gray, teal, pink, aqua, opaque Glass. You might also find if you're lucky pieces of glass so unique that they truly are treasure liks pattern glass, bottle stoppers, marbles, old glass tiles. I haven't been there, but I've heard on the Northern California beaches you can find rare colors because years ago glass blowers used to throw their unwanted creations in the ocean and now those mistakes are washing up on the beaches as lovely sea glass.

Collecting sea glass is so much fun. You need a beach where shells, rocks and sea glass wash up on the shore - so you need some wave activity. How will you know if a particular beach is a good place to hunt for sea glass? Most times, you won't know until you explore the beach at low tide, but there are some sites on the web that list good beaches for collecting sea glass. There is even a couple in San Francisco that will take you to hard to reach beaches that are known for their sea glass bounty. My sister Shirley and I check out every beach we visit on the West Coast and we dream of exploring European beaches. Right now, our best finds have come from the beaches in Mazatlan, Mexico. My sister has a condo on the beach in Mazatlan so we go there a few times a year and spend hours on the beach. Here are a few shots of us and our husbands scouring the beaches for sea glass. It really is like a treasure hunt.

There is no way to look pretty or graceful while collecting sea glass. Your head is down and your bottom is in the air. You will attract people who are curious as to what you are doing - it goes with the territory. Often, we found strangers starting to search for sea glass too and then giving us their finds. (Maybe, I've hit on something here for single women looking for a mate - try searching for sea glass in a bikini on a beach where there are good looking men. Okay, not a great idea, but there are stranger ways for people to meet.) Exploring for sea glass is a great exercise - the time flies by and you don't notice that you've just spent two hours walking and walking and walking (I never feel that way at the gym). Exercise and being outdoors are just two of the side benefits of collecting sea glass. There is also an almost zen like quality that comes over you as you concentrate on finding sparkling jewels in the sand - all your worries and cares are pushed from your mind.

The uniqueness of sea glass, its beauty and its mystery captured our imagination which in turn led us to think about creating sea glass jewelry as a way of preserving our memories of the sea - the romance and the mystery. Please visit our store at etsy.com to see our unique - one of a kind sea glass creations. http://sistersjewelrydesign.etsy.com/

Friday, November 13, 2009

Medford, Oregon - Sisters Jewelry Design Sale

Sisters - who make up Sisters Jewelry Design - left - Susannah, right - Shirley.
A little slow in getting this blog going again after summer. And here we are in November. Okay, I'm going to back track to August. We went up to Medford, Oregon where my sister Shirley lives - Shirley is the other part of Sisters Jewelry Design. We combined a visit, a vacation and a sale at her home of our combined jewelry.

Here is Shirley working hard to get ready for our jewelry show. She loves to do sterling wire wrapping around the lovely sea glass we find on the beaches of Mexico. Just two of Shirley's many sea glass wire wrapped pendants. Check out SistersJewelryDesign on Etsy.com to see more of her original designs.
Two of Shirley's friends, Mary Lou and Dottie wearing Shirley's necklace pendants of sea glass.

As you can see we have quite an assortment of sea glass pieces and styles. Each piece of sea glass is unique and created with attention to detail and an eye to fashion.

A few pictures of the lovely women who attended our first Oregon showing of our sea glass designs.
Not all of our vacation was spent selling jewelry, we also attended a small craft fair at Jack and Nancy Day's winery where we enjoyed their RoxyAnn Wine - grown and bottled in Medford, Oregon. There are a lot of vineyards and wineries in Oregon, but we think Jack and Nancy's is one of the best. Here are a few shots from the fun time at the winery and craft fair. Nancy and Jack Day.

Shirley checking out crafts - competition?

Old barn now used as a winery.

Bottles of RoxyAnn wine.
We left Shirley and Pat's house and headed up to Bend, Oregon where Steve fished and I thought about designs and wished I was at the beach. The cabin on the Rogue River is a fun place to go - too bad there is no sea glass there to collect, but hey, I shouldn't be obsessed, right?

Pictures on the Rogue River in Oregon -

Steve fishing. He'll go anywhere if he can fish. We did find a little lake with a sandy beach, but alas no sea glass. This is a shot of Twin Lakes in Oregon.
While we were at the cabin, we decided to have a jewelry show at my niece Alison's house in Bend. Only a few people came to the show, but we sold a few pieces and had a lot of fun visiting my niece and nephew Adam shown here with his fiancee Joanna. Alison is in the picture to the right at the end.

We hit up all the relatives for jewelry shows on this vacation. Even Mom, in Tigard, Oregon got roped into inviting a lot of her friends over for wine and jewelry viewing. Mom is 84 and still going strong. And yes, we gave her a necklace as a thank you for having the jewelry sale and for just being her. And a picture of Mom's garden - her pride and joy.

The Oregon trip was a success and we had a good time. What is so fun about designing jewelry is not only the creative aspect, but also the people you meet and the places you go in marketing your jewelry. We look forward to more road trips and making new friends along the way. Here are some new designs in necklaces -

Next time, we venture to Malibu, California to a friend's home for a little autumn get together and another jewelry sale.