Thanks to my rock-hound great-aunt Ruth I used to tumble rocks as a kid. I had the plastic toy-version rock tumbler that was so loud we’d keep it shut away in the netherquarters of my parents’ house for weeks as the grit slowly polished the rocks. Then I’d have a bowl full of semi-precious pebbles and no way to show them off. They were polished so well that my glued-on bails wouldn’t stay, so the alternative was to create some sort of setting. I had a bunch of copper wire and I would borrow my dad’s little pliers he bought for working on model trains. Unfortunately I don’t have examples of my early wirework to show you the progression, but learning on rounded, slippery rocks helped me get a feel for what settings would stay on and which rocks were just better left in the bowl.
When we moved to Delaware, Steve and I let our puppy wade in the Delaware River near our house (and then she got a bath, don’t worry!) Meanwhile we started finding sea glass on the beach and quickly had enough to fill a bowl. I think you have to be part monkey to fully enjoy looking for the stuff; after all it is just shards of glass, someone else’s trash, and it’s not always easy to find. (Bright green is pretty common — think Heineken, partly because it shows up well on the sand and a lot of people party on the beach and then throw the bottles in the river). Most collectors put sea glass in a jar by the window, but I wanted to do something more with it. So I tapped into my tumbled-rock-wrapping skills and made it into jewelry. (That was back before AnneMade, so jewelry wasn’t what I thought of every moment of the day. I collected the stuff for several months before doing anything with it). And now I go in spurts where I make a whole bunch of it, and then set it aside for other things. I just posted some pendants and a bracelet on my website (and another one on Etsy) because I figure people might want a souvenir from their beach vacation, something other than a t-shirt from Wings.