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Posts Tagged ‘beachcombing’

At the end of March I went up to Seaham beach in County Durham to refresh my collection of sea glass, especially the special multis that Seaham is famous for. The beach is certainly a lot more picked over than the last time I went in 2013 and although I did find a few nice bits, there was an awful lot of hard hunting to get them.

Having spent a full day on the beach and driven home aching all over, I thought I was all beachcombed out for a while, and didn’t mind the (very) short spell I was allowed on Southwold beach at Easter, but then, it was a pretty good haul for ten minutes:

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A couple of weeks later we went to visit my middle one in Bangor, North Wales and happened to find ourselves mooching in Beaumaris on Anglesey with an hour to spare before our restaurant booking. Mooching on the seafront, specifically. I glanced idly at the beach and realised I had no real urge to go down and hunt. I was just telling my incredulous family this when my little one looked over the railing and announced that she could see a piece of beach pottery. Instantly refreshed, I positively scuttled down onto the beach to the accompaniment of much hilarity from my husband and daughters.

After they had finished teasing, they did at least come down and help me hunt and the hour passed happily and productively.

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The sea glass was more craft grade (I am spoilt by Seaham nuggets) but the pottery was fabulous.

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And my middle one even found me a rusty ‘thing’ which was very exciting.

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Time to turn my treasures into jewellery. First, I worked with two of my favourite pieces of the Beaumaris pottery. Beaumaris Blue:

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And Pretty Purple:

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This one has a lovely reverse side too.

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The final and very different pendant began with a piece of random organically shaped metal from somewhere which I had textured with a hammer to make a feature of the fact that the underlying copper was starting to show through. I played with arrangements of my beach treasures; pieces of wave-worn metal, pottery and glass until I found something which worked.

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‘Treasures!’ can be found here.

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Hopefully embroidery next time!

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Etc. first. I’ve finally completed all the seed stitch background for an embroidered print I started with Chris Gray in July 2016 and last blogged about eighteen months ago, where it looked like this:

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It currently looks like this:

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Not sure whether to seed stitch the inner circle as well…

I don’t think I’ve shown this piece of upcycling before. One of my mixed lots of junk/vintage jewellery contained a gorgeous brass spinning fob, to which I decided to add some embroidery based on knot gardens.

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It’s now got as far as this:

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French knot hedges and eyelet stitch flowers in variegated silk.

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Near enough to get on and finish now!

Brooches next. I loved the closed fly stitch falling leaves design I stitched for my friend Debbie’s necklace catch a few months ago and decided to do it again on two odd vintage stud earrings which were the same shape and size, but different colours. The initial plan was to make a pair of earrings by covering them with embroidered fabric.

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I stitched one and covered it and started on the second.

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But the second wasn’t close enough in design  – the leaves were further spaced out. Added to that, the gathered fabric and more crucially, the covered pelmet vilene backs, really made them too bulky to be successful as earrings.

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So the posts came off, were replaced with brooch backs and Plan B went into action.  I worked a beaded edging in pearlescent green and metallic copper beads to frame the design and am very pleased with the result which can be found here.

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The second one is still in production! Most of this stitching was done over the Easter weekend at my parents’ in Suffolk which had to include some beachcombing. I was only allowed a short spell under the pier at Southwold, but still managed to find three nice nuggets of sea glass, a piece of carnelian, a big chunk of tile which has weathered to a lovely faux Medieval feel…

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…and some small pieces of driftwood, including one which had a gently shaped front and a flat back perfect for turning into a brooch. I auditioned a fair few piece of broken jewellery to put with it, but when I found this single broken vintage clip on earring of a swallow, it was a perfect match. The plate of the clip was still attached and I used it to mount the swallow onto the driftwood so it stands slightly away from the base, which I like.

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I’ve called it One Swallow (in hope of some more to make a summer!) and put it into my Etsy shop here.

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I’ve been restocking and updating my Etsy shop with that December thing coming up fast on the horizon and although a lot of my pieces have involved sea glass, sea washed china and found objects, I did get inspired by another vintage brooch without a central stone.

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So I gathered some supplies and started to stitch a ribbon rose on some scraps of hand dyed silk.

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With a woven rose in the middle, split stitch curling stems either side and some french knot buds, it stitched up quite quickly.

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Then I layered three pieces of pelmet vilene, each slightly smaller than the other to create a domed shape, gathered the silk around the dome and pulled it up tight. A piece of the rust coloured background silk covered the gathering at the back and then I set it in the brooch.

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You can find it here.

I also created this flotsam assemblage pendant

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…from a piece of wave worn aluminium…

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…which I beachcombed ages ago and just love; a piece of tactile driftwood and a long nugget of sea glass which sat in the groove of that grain perfectly.

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A treasured oval piece of multicoloured Seaham sea glass went into a vintage pendant.

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And rich green oval nugget of sea glass went into another vintage pendant.

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In fact I managed to find and nearly match so many lovely green pieces that I was able to add a pair of upcycled vintage clip on earrings

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..and a bracelet.

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It’s lovely to be able to reuse some of these gorgeous pieces and bring broken jewellery back to life again.

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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’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)

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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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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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