Tuesday, March 6, 2012

My Biggest Critic

Coffee Cup Cam
I’ve been a jewelry artist for over a decade. I’ve taken group classes, invested in private tutoring sessions and spent countless hours in my own studio. Yet, I still find myself disappointingly thinking that the jewelry I make is fairly lackluster. In fact, I’ve created pieces convinced that it would never sell only to have someone fall totally in love with it.

I am, by far, my biggest critic; and have often been reprimanded by friends for saying something like, “Oh, I’m really not an artist.” Or, “I’m not that good at making jewelry.” After such a long time, I still rarely find myself pleased with one of my own creations.

Except, when it comes to the sailboats. Our sailboat line has been the most fun! I love sitting down with piles of glass, trying to pair up pieces. I’ve really enjoyed the whole process of sawing, torching, and sanding. Slowly, the piece comes to life as I work, and with each finished product I'm certain that I've just made my favorite sailboat.

Finished Sailboats

Some final outcomes are more abstract than others, but I’ve found that is all part of the allure. The ocean doesn’t always send me perfect pieces to work with, but sometimes customers prefer the imperfect. Kim returned a sailboat that her husband bought her so she could get one that was less picture-perfect. Yah, she thought my jewelry was too perfect.

It also doesn’t hurt my confidence that the sailboats tend to sell right away (or sail away, cheesy pun totally intended). It’s wonderful to hear stories of others who are falling in love with the sailboats, too. Like, the woman who bought one for her daughter… Then one for herself. And I just shipped her a third sailboat pendant for her other daughter.
Contact: Lindsay at West Coast Sea Glass

I’d love to be able to spend my day just making sailboats, and you can support my efforts. Feel free to email me your favorite pairing (at right) so I can get started on your one-of-a-kind sailboat.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

And, The Winner Is....

My family did the drawing today before the Super Bowl game. They were at my Aunt Carolyn &  Uncle Jerry's house with a bunch of witnesses people around. The winner of the $500 raffle is Chris Landers who went to high school with Jim's wife, Brandy. Brandy let her know that she was the winner. Even though she said she had never won anything before in her life, she chose to give the money to Jim & Brandy. People have been awesome and the fundraiser was a great success. I know it means a lot to Jim and Brandy (and to us) that so many people have supported them and are praying for them. God bless each & everyone of you!!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

In Love With Sea Glass

Sea glass tumbled and carried by the ocean's tidal movements, waves and wind is sculpted smooth and beautiful.
To find a once broken and sharp shard, now frosted smooth by the elements is considered a treasure.
One of the most common shapes that a shard of sea glass is found in is a tranglular shape.
This has everything to do with the angles which discarded bottle and plate glass most often break into.

Though a heart shaped piece of sea glass is an extremely rare find, (not to mention incredibly romantic) it really is just a more intricate relative of the triangle.

At West Coast Sea Glass we would venture to guestimate that for every 3,000 to 5,000 pieces of sea glass we find, one might be a true, sea-smoothed heart.
Most of them are saved, cherished and gazed at for years.  But occasionally, we do chose to invest time and artistry into setting the piece in a classic keepsake piece of jewelry.
And some of our finest pieces are made available as heirloom Valentine's Day gifts.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Sea Glass and Sterling Silver; Stamping, Patterns, Making A Unique Mark

We've been asked to create some beautiful pieces over the years.... Sea Glass Earrings, Necklaces, Bracelets and more.  When time allows, we enjoy moving our creativity outside of the box.  And this year we are happy to be sharing our world class collection of sea glass in some new  silver designs fresh from the studio.

Recently West Coast Sea Glass was invited to be a featured artist at the Tucson, AZ Bead Show.  While there, we made sure we took the time to purchase some fabulous new silversmith tools to enhance our sea glass and sterling silver designs.  The results; some new hammered creations.

These circular, sterling silver back plates make a wonderful setting to represent the circuituous, oceanic cycle that sea glass has journeyed upon.

At left (below), our 1.5" rounded, hammered "half moon" pattern creates a handsome ring setting.

At right (above) a hand hammered, lined pattern in the backplates hallmarks a pair of cornflower blue, sea glass gems.  The sea glass was beachcombed by hand from Pacific Ocean beaches and paired together in these original West Coast Sea Glass earrings.

At right a well hammered focal pendant features a naturally shaped, aqua blue sea glass triangle.  All pieces are bezel set in fine .999 sterling silver.

Check out more genuine beachcombed sea glass and sea glass jewelry here:  West Coast Sea Glass

As always, the West Coast Sea Glass pieces that are made in the silver studio are marked with our signature "sea star" stamp.  This ensures your piece is authentic, and hand crafted by us.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

It's All About The Sea Glass Jewelry

Teal Sea Glass Cuff Bracelet
There are constants in life like the regularity of the tide and the beckoning with which the ocean calls out to some of us. There is also the need to create which runs strong and unwaveringly for some.

The act of collecting sea glass provides us with a reason to escape to the beach but it also provides fodder for that compelling drive to see the potential in creating something beautiful with that which we have gathered.

And then it really becomes all about the sea glass jewelry. That's how it is at West Coast Sea Glass.  And honestly, it's been that way for years.

This blog has generally been our place to share the joy of the hunt, the beauty of our surroundings and to tell the sea glass story.  But in this blog post, we unapologetically display some of the created, handmade pieces; the sea glass jewelry.

Magenta Swirled Sea Glass Ring
Bright, Limey UV Green
Cobalt Blue Teardrop
Sailboat Necklace
Vibrant Lime Green Ring
Rare Turquoise Blue Ring
Honey Amber Ring
Aqua Blue Disc Ring
Triple Pastels Necklace
From a lifetime collection of Pacific Ocean rarities, each sea glass piece is chosen for it's symmetry, frostiness and color.  

We artistically hand craft the jewelry around the ocean sculpted artifact, creating a one of a kind work of art.

Hours of training in metal and silversmith techniques paired with multiple work studios have enabled us to gain the experience needed to set our sea glass rarities into their jewelry forms.

See more of our lifetime collection of sea glass and sea glass jewelry here:
West Coast Sea Glass.

Join our Facebook fan page to see more of our journeys, our sea glass collection and colorful creations.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

West Coast Sea Glass - Jewelry Designing with Inspiration

As serious sea glass collectors and full time jewelry designers our art is about more than just putting out a product. It's about desinging with inspiration, a purpose and a story. Here's how and why we do it.

The beach view from the front of the West Coast Sea Glass studio

It's a daily choice to surround ourselves with beautiful things. Why? Because when there are orders to fill and bills to keep up on, the "creative juices" can easily get squished into the corner in light of the more pressing "responsibities" to running a full-time business. That's why at West Coast Sea Glass we take the inspirational and designing side of our job quite seriously.

Regular beach treks and excursions are on our calendar specifically for the purpose of staying close to the ocean and for the purpose of discovering something new and beachy.

On one of our day treks in northern Washington state

Though it's getting more elusive to find, we've searched shores around the world to find these rare, colorful treasures. After decades of tumbling at sea each has been on an individual journey and no two are exactly alike. That's why we go out of our way to catalog each shard in baskets by color, by condition and by which ocean it was found along. We make this story available to each and every customer that buys a West Coast Sea Glass piece.
As trained silversmiths, we make sure we quality check each piece and scrutinize for creativity, uniqueness and sturdiness. We work hard to keep our pioneering spirit in our designs and in the way we run our business.

Lindsay solders a sterling silver ring.

The sea star is our silver stamp on
each custom bezel jewelry creation.
A group of deep purple sea stars.

OUR CREATIVE MARK:  The ocean's beauty is all around us giving us daily reminders of nature's color and resilliance. This is reflected often in our work.  Like the journey of sea glass, the sea star is a symbol of regeneration.  We stamp it on each custom bezel piece of our jewelry.
UNIQUE SEA GLASS JEWELRY: Below: A rich, cobalt blue piece of vintage medicine bottle glass is smoothed by years along a rugged Pacific ocean shore. It has been beach combed by the artist then finely bezel set into a sterling silver toggle necklace.

Rare, cobalt blue medicine bottle glass in a sterling silver necklace.

All images and content: © http://www.westcoastseaglass.com/

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Sea Glass and the Passage of Time - By West Coast Sea Glass

"But the sea is a mighty soul, forever moaning of some great, unshareable sorrow, which shuts it up into itself for all eternity.”  L. Montgomery
Sea glass... 'Tis been said that it won't last forever.  Sigh....Does anything good and beautiful really last forever?  Anything?  Not in this world at least.  My beach-trekking, driftwood-hopping knees are thankful for that. I get a new knee sometime this winter. Unfortunately, I've already been told that it - yes, the "new" knee won't last forever.

Sometimes when we must go through a personal change it can feel like a time-slowing endeavor.  We find ourselves being "constructed upon", then awaking, then recovering.  It can force us to sit still for a few moments - or a couple days and pause to think about great things like....eternity.
Thank goodness I have a big window and the amaranthine waves to gaze out apon while I recoup.

Most of us hope to be renewed and awakened during such times of thought or transformation.  As a mom of young twins, I will be happy with a couple days of peace and inactivity.

Sea glass reminds me of ungraspable eternity in some ways. Though its physical attributes cause it to be a temporal thing, the piece itself has been on the move from place to place for an infinity. It's gone from being broken, unwanted, then discarded and through a slow journey at sea for a lifetime (as some understand slowness to be).

But, wait!  If something's been broken then by definition doesn't that mean that it didn't or doesn't "last"?  Usually, the answer is "Yes!"

But who can fathom the depths of such a journey? And who can say how long has it traveled... does anyone really know?  Does "broken" really mean it didn't last?  Perhaps    "broken" could possibly mean repurposed.
To most of us, sea glass represents something of a past that's been resurrected.  It is timeless, nostalgic and archaeologically historic.  It comes full circle and back to us after a journey of completeness.

No, it won't last forever as nothing temporal really ever does.  To me, that's a good thing.
Sea glass also reminds us that this here-and-now isn't all there is, but that there are bigger things and histories that went before us and will complete themselves after us.

All rights and photos copyright: WestCoastSeaGlass.com

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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Specimens of Beauty - A Sea Glass Album

When does a piece of sea glass become a treasure or gem?  As with every lifelong hobby or art collection, the beauty is of course in the eye of the beholder.  Some of the most common or "industrial" glass shards can be sculpted beautiful by sand, wind and a rugged shoreline. And some are unique because they are highly uncommon in shape, stunning in color and a rarity to find.  Here we've compiled some of our favorite Specimens of Beauty simply because we love to share.  All photos copyright: WestCoastSeaGlass.com
This rainbow stack consists of Pacific Ocean pieces that have been in our collection for decades.  We've hiked, kayaked, scaled steep cliffs and hiked some more to gather these rarities.  This stack represents finds that are of like symmetry, similar size and thickness and they represent a fine example of pristine weathering and conditioning. After years of studying the history and rarity of sea glass color we have learned that true orange (not beer bottle amber) is one of, if not the rarest color of sea glass.
Red is highly coveted.  Some even call it the "holy grail" of sea glass. But this little delicacy is likely our most valuable find.  Why?  It's a vintage bottle stopper top first of all; probably from a victorian style perfume vial. It's old, historically nostalgic and flawlessly surfaced without chips or cracks.  Here it is photographed on an untouched beach in Hawaii.
There are several kinds of multi colored or swirled glass.  We'll define three here.  Bonfire sea glass is glass that's been incinerated and the heat melts multiple vessels of varying colors together.  Another type of multi hued glass is flash glass.  This is not bonfire glass.  Flash glass is manufactured to have multiple colors usually of a base layer with a thin contrasting layer of another color flashed or fused to the surface.  The third kind of multi colored sea glass simply originates from refuse glass originally made by a manufacturer or blower. Above: The residual molten pieces were mixed together once various colored work projects were finished. They coalesced together in clumps, pieces or globs, then were "pitched" into the sea.  The surf tumbled the colorful shards smooth.
Blues seem to catch the eye of the beach lovers and the romantics. Mirroring the color of the sea, these cobalt colored jewels most likely originate from medicine or even historic poison bottles.  It's nice to know that something as caustic as a bottle of poison has been recycled into something pure and soothing.  The pieces above have each been tumbling naturally from as many as forty to one hundred years.  Blue sea glass is one of the most popular colors that artists make jewelry with.  See Sea Glass Jewelry Here.
Sea glass marbles are a true catch.  Just like a bottle stopper or vintage glass button, marbles once served a particular purpose at a particular place in time.  The sea didn't make them into marbles, they started out that way to begin with then somehow found themselves along the shore. The sea has rolled them around and pitted them for years.  We wrote an entire blog post about marbles and how they end up on the beach.  See Sea Glass Marbles Here

Thanks for sharing our love for sea glass, The collector/artists at:

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Creating Sea Glass Jewelry - A Day in the West Coast Sea Glass Studio


The West Coast Sea Glass studio is a haven of color and creativity. We started out traversing the shores of the Pacific ocean decades ago. We've found rare pieces in every color over the course of our lifetimes. At left: A remote beach on Vancouver Island, Canada.

Our collection is decades old and most people have never seen a collection with as much color, history and variety. So we work hard to explain that ours is not average. It's an older collection, pieced together, one gem at a time, over decades.

Once back at the studio, we always place our pieces in baskets by color category and according to which body of water it was found along. At right: Baskets by color. More about color HERE.

When it's time to design a jewelry creation, just the right piece of sea glass is chosen. Today a very rare, true turquoise piece at left is chosen. The silver is measured, fitted around the piece, cut, soldered and sanded all by hand in our silver studio. No two pieces of sea glass are exactly the same, so the metal smithing process takes time and care.  Some days, we can spend eight hours at the bench grinder, sanding metal into shapes that fit the sea glass pieces.

After all the designing and fitting, the jewelry is polished with special tools, then polished again by hand with jewelry papers or cloth to make either a brushed finish to the metal or a silky, smooth shine.

Each creation is stamped with our signature "sea Star" mark on the back. This ensures its authenticity and workmanship and guarantees you it's a high qualiiy, West Coast Sea Glass piece. 

Left: A sterling silver and sea glass ring, hand made at our metal working station.