After graduating High School, I spent one glorious year on Catalina Island working as the Crafts Director at a YMCA camp. This was the perfect place for someone who enjoys the ocean, the creatures within, and the treasures that often wash ashore. Not to mention that it was a great place to think about what I wanted to do for the rest of my life!
Many of the bits and pieces in this neck-piece were gathered during that year. The most prominent shells are the “button shells” which are from the cowrie shell family. They are very rare, and only found in certain locations, one being at Button Shell Beach, which was the name of the cove where the camp was located.
Summers by the Sea was created with the free form peyote stitch in a pallet of soft colors provided by the sea, air and shore. Vintage and new glass seed beads and novelty shaped beads are stitched to simulate rivers and clusters of treasures washed up along with the sea foam. Other beads and items that I used were: fresh water pearls; “tiny” green abalone shells (these I purchased at a store in Avalon); brown muscle shell charms and beads; abalone shells and chips.
A few years ago my husband and I attended a Jazz festival held in the Casino ballroom. This was the first time that I had been back to the island in 32 years. I found the island still lovely, quiet and quaint, with some new growth which was to be expected. I still felt the old attractions of my longing for the sea, the shore and the solitude that I found here so many years ago. I have this necklace as a reminder and inspiration to never let go of my dreams!
Happy and Joyous Stitching! Christen