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Archive for the ‘Beachcombing’ Category

It really is time I started getting some of my lovely beachcombed finds out of boxes and into the light of day and with the discovery of some findings I spent a lovely day the other week sorting through all my sea glass and pottery and choosing pieces not only that would make pretty earrings and pendants but that I could bear to part with!

First the pendants:

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I love blue and white pottery anyway, but even more so when it’s been faded by the sea.

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And this piece is just fun!

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Love the depth and richness of this blue glass.

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This piece of old bottle has the letter K embossed on the tip.

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And this is my biggest piece of Victorian Seaham glass.

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Then earrings, all in frosted white glass:

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The nuno felt made a very appropriate background!

I’ve made another section in my Etsy shop for this beachcombed jewellery. The big willow pattern pendant sold the same day as I listed it and is heading for Switzerland!

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I will confess to using something I already had for the Travelling Book this month, but when I leafed through Eileen’s book and saw how much of it was inspired by gardens and the natural world, I immediately thought of the meadow grasses piece I stitched based on a piece of work from a Folio our branch of the Embroiderers’ Guild borrowed from headquarters a couple of years ago.

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I photocopied the page from my sketch book with all the inspiration detail on it…

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And then tidied up the finished piece to go on the facing page.

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It’s really nice to be able to find a home for something you’ve stitched and love but have no immediate use for and also to have a bit of room to breathe this month rather than frantically stitching at the last moment!

I’ve also been enjoying upcycling jewellery. Each piece is different and I love looking at these broken down bits and working out how to make them wearable again.

The soft creamy rose pinks and faded greens of these patchwork and vintage lace covered earrings is so much nicer than the brash plastic cabochon I started off with.

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And it was lovely to sort through my sea glass collection to find some matching aqua coloured pieces to repair a bib necklace where some of the plastic decorative elements were missing. I didn’t realise quite how much I had amassed as it’s in different places according to where I collected it from!

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The central piece is from Polperro in Cornwall and most of the other pieces are from Seaham. It’s so nice to be able to showcase some of this beautiful glass. They’re both now in my Etsy shop and I hope they find new leases of life very soon!

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I’ve been looking forward to the January meeting of our branch of the Embroiderers’ Guild as it’s the start of our travelling books project. I’ve always been interested in the idea of round robins and I’m really looking forward to not only getting my own book back in 6 months time, but also to stretching my creative practice by working in other people’s books within their rules.

We’ve all started with a spiral bound A5 sketchbook to which I need to add a cover, especially as I managed to drop some chutney on it from my lunch… I’m going to have a welcome and guidelines page on the back of the front endpaper and then there was a spare page facing, so I’ve started to put my name and quick contact details there in Zentangle style. (There are full contact details on the inside of the back cover)

Contact details page

Then I started on my first piece. I’ve decided that I’d like a theme to my travelling book and so have chosen one close to my heart – the sea. This of course, led to play-time with the bagful of glass I beachcombed from Polperro last summer.

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I’m sure you’ve noticed that there’s something a little odd about some of the nuggets in the photo above. If you look closer…

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…there are imposters…

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…in hand dyed silk and indigo shibori cotton.

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The background fabric is a lovely natural coloured scrim and I plan to use pulled thread work around the pieces of ‘sea glass’ and ‘pottery’ to give the impression of them being scattered in the sand of the beach.

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This is the other playing piece I started on holiday, combining the rusty ironmongery that I love to ‘streetcomb’ with the sea glass I love to beachcomb.

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As with so many of these pieces, the story is layered in there. I found the rusty washer on the quayside at Charlestown, where we had our holiday cottage this year. We last visited Charlestown on a wet August day in 2006 and I bought 4 tubes of mixed Japanese seed beads from a gorgeous bead shop which isn’t there any more. It was coincidentally one of those tubes of beads which I used to embellish the washer.

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The base fabric was a scrap of crinkled satin left over from one of my sea glass canvases but I wanted something semi-transparent to layer over it, and the answer came from a charity shop in Looe, where I bought a floaty scarf to cut up and use in just the right tones of rust and grey-green.

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The sea glass came, if I remember rightly, from Talland Bay and Looe beach and is trapped under the scarf layer with collars of chain stitch in my favourite semi-metallic Madeira thread.

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It’s the first time I’ve worked chain stitch in this thread and I love the way it gives the impression of a neat cord.

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I plan to put spirals around the other nuggets of sea glass too.

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We’ve just returned home from our family holiday in Cornwall – south-east Cornwall this time, as it’s an area we’ve explored the least. After our recent excursions in the Lakes and the Peak District, we’ve developed a bit of a taste for walking and decided to do a section of the South-West Coastal Path from Talland Bay to Polperro.

Polperro is a typical Cornish fishing village; houses clinging to the sides of a steep inlet and a small harbour. The beach is small and just the other side of the harbour wall as you can see in the photo.

Polperro harbourBut it was another beachcombing revelation, very much like Whitby. I picked up nearly 200 pieces of sea glass and pottery in about 20 minutes and there was so much, I could be selective and go for interesting colours and shapes.

Pottery first.

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I’m a sucker for blue and white anyway and that soft wave-worn blue and white is just delicious.

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Then the glass.

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Such fascinating colours, textures and shapes.

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We visited seven beaches over the week, some only quite briefly, but I found at least two pieces of sea glass on every one. Yes, it’s official – I’m addicted!

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We had a lovely family day out in Whitby, North Yorkshire, last Sunday. Strolling along the pier, fish and chips for lunch,  walking up the 199 steps to to the church and the abbey, browsing the shops and a tub of cockles to fill up the corners. And of course, there had to be beachcombing.

Oh my goodness. The beach was small and quite unprepossessing, but as we reached the tideline, I was overwhelmed by more sea glass than I’d ever seen on a beach in my life, and that includes Seaham. The chunks were just that, big and chunky and for the first time in my beachcombing career, I became a sea glass snob – rejecting pieces that I would normally have pounced on, for only the biggest, the most unusual and beautiful.

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The penny shows how big most of these pieces are.

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As well as sea glass, I found several short sections of the stems of 17th/18th century clay pipes (my little one claimed those!) and there were pieces of pottery everywhere. I even found my very first ammonite, heavily weathered, but still an ammonite and a childhood goal achieved!

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I was just blown away – it was like catching fish in a barrel, and I think I’d have still been there if my little one hadn’t suddenly needed the loo in a hurry, necessitating a swift exit from the beach and return to the town.

These are no ordinary pieces of sea glass. The colour, particularly the tendency to aqua, the thickness, the size of some of the rim shards and the markings as well as the amount of other odds and ends (I forgot to mention the broken ‘bone’ knife handle) all suggest these may have come from the dumps of household rubbish that Victorian cottages had at the end of their gardens and that are now fallen into the sea.

That’s so exciting – I can’t wait to go back!!!

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A trip to Suffolk would not be complete these days without a visit to Southwold Pier and a nice comb along the beach. As I’ve said before, the massive loss of coastline north of Southwold makes the beach a wonderful spot for sea glass and other bits and pieces. We went on my birthday (Christmas Eve) and although it was bitterly cold and the tide was coming in, I still managed a bit of a trawl through the shingle and came away happy with these little beauties.

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I can’t resist a nice ring pull and my husband spotted the wonderfully soft, fuzzy piece of pottery. But this was the prize, the bottom of a slender glass bottle.

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I’m sure, looking at the diameter and also that the glass rises straight from the base, that it’s old. It certainly looks like some bottles I have from Victorian dumps.  Southwold never disappoints!

On Boxing Day we took my youngest for a run on Gorleston beach. Gorleston is just south of Great Yarmouth and a real hidden gem. The beach is wide, flat and sandy with ridges of shingle and proved to be another excellent sea glass hunting ground!

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(I put the ring pull in to show sizes.) Some lovely little nuggets there and a couple of less weathered pieces including the bottle neck which I took off the beach for safety.  A lot of dogs and children use the beach so I wasn’t going to leave sharp glass around.

I particularly like the pale lime green and the aqua pieces.

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Now all I need is the time to do something with them!

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