It's my pleasure to share the first of many artisan spotlights in my 365 Days of Creativity - and introduce you to Korie from Seaglass Reinvented on Etsy.
Korie's shop is filled with an enchanting collection of sea glass jewelry designs, many of which are beautifully wire wrapped or embellished with the shimmer and elegance of sterling silver components.
I invited Korie to share a little bit about herself, her shop, and her work - and here's what she had to say!
Tell us a little bit about Seaglass Reinvented. How long have you been selling your gorgeous jewelry? What took it from being just a hobby to wanting to actually market your work?
I’ve been working on sea glass jewelry for about 4 months, so I’m just starting out. I fell in love with sea glass jewelry last year, but I felt like most of the jewelry was made with store bought charms and with very little personal attention to detail. Once I realized that California has such a beautiful supply of sea glass on the beaches, I decided that I would learn how to make my own jewelry with these beautiful surf tumbled gems. There is something really special knowing that you’re wearing a unique piece of sea glass that exists nowhere else. Each piece of sea glass has a history and traveled through the waters to make it into my hands. Usually it takes anywhere from 30 to 100 years for sea glass to become smooth from the surf and sand.
What is the special appeal of working with seaglass and metal?
I love the bright, shiny silver contrasted with the smooth but frosty surface of the sea glass. The flow and curves of the silver work remind me of the ocean waves that gave the sea glass its shape and beautiful surface. My sea glass jewelry has evolved even in the short time I’ve been making jewelry, but I’m constantly learning and growing as an artist. I’ve learned a lot about metalsmithing techniques like wire wrapping, forging/dapping, tumbling, shaping, and fusing. My next evolution will be creating more dynamic metalwork to pair with my sea glass using silver that has been soldered or fused to itself.
Do you use any social media sites to network? Which ones? Has it helped? Can you offer any advice to someone just starting out with social media?
I use many social media sites for networking. Facebook, Twitter, Blogspot, Flicker, Instagram, Pinterest, Wanelo and Stumbleupon are my main sites that I network on. Networking on those sites definitely helps drive traffic to my shop. My advice is to promote your work on as many sites as possible.
Share a little bit about your creative process - like how you decide exactly what the perfect wrap for a particular piece of glass is, or what helps you select exactly what pieces to take home with you from the beach?
First I have to acquire the sea glass, which usually means finding it myself. Finding sea glass can involve many hours of beach combing. Not all sea glass that I find can be used in my jewelry. Most sea glass I find hasn’t been tumbled long enough and has too many sharp edges or smooth surfaces that haven’t been frosted from the sea. In order for the sea glass to be considered grade “A” jewelry quality, the sea glass should have no nicks or marks, have smoothed, rounded edges, and have an overall frosty appearance. Some beaches will only yield a few pieces of jewelry grade sea glass per hour.
After my sea glass hunting adventures, I return home to wash, sort, and choose only the best pieces that can be made into jewelry. Next, I choose how I will set the sea glass. Usually I drill a small 1.5mm hole with a diamond tipped drill bit and a dremel drill. Then I decide how the jewelry will be worn. Often I already have an idea if it will be a pendant or earrings.
Next, I design the silver work that will accompany the sea glass. I rarely will start with sterling silver when I’m testing a new design, as silver is very expensive to make mistakes with. Instead I practice using craft wire that is made of cheaper metal to test the design. I usually will go through several drafts, changing the original design for practical reasons, or because the design naturally becomes something else. For example, once I had intended to make a flower, but the piece continually flowed and became a tree.
After the piece is made with the sterling silver, I will then forge the piece with a planishing hammer to make it flat and shiny. Finally, the silver is placed in a jewelry tumbler by itself (not the sea glass) to smooth any rough etches and harden the silver. Lastly, the silver work is attached to the sea glass and is ready to be set on a sterling silver chain or attached to an ear wire.
Name one thing that not many people know about you.
I’m pretty sure I was born to create. Focusing on a new creation is a meditative-like exercise that helps me remove myself from my stress and worries. Even though I have only been making jewelry for a short time, I’ve been involved in many creative endeavours throughout my life and I still am. I also write music, sing, play guitar, shoot amateur photography, and make cute fuzzy animals out of felt. Currently all my creative focus has been on my jewelry.
Your day job involves research to develop assistive technology for the blind. Do you ever find that any of the skills you use in that field actually help you in the creation of your jewelry designs?
I don’t think my day job has helped me with my jewelry making process yet, but it definitely helps pay for my jewelry supplies! Maybe I’ll learn how to stamp braille into the silver to make personalized jewelry.
If you entered a contest and won an all expense paid 2 week vacation to the dream spot of your choice - where would your travel agent be booking your accommodations?
Oh, I definitely would go on a sea glass hunting trip to a place like Puerto Rico, England, or Hawaii. They have really lovely, colourful sea glass you can’t find anywhere else!
Do you have a favorite inspirational quote or affirmation? Would you share it with us?
This quote by Thomas Edison inspires me: “I have not failed; I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Jewelry making can be a lot like inventing, you can read books and tutorials, but when it comes down to it, you really just have to experiment with what works for you and be willing to make a lot of mistakes.I'd like to thank Korie for participating in my 365 Days of Creativity, and I hope you all will take a few moments to visit SeaglassReinvented, as well as to visit these other places where you can follow Korie and her artisanry:
Korie's Blog | Facebook | Twitter
Have a creativity filled day!