collecting beach wood

I've been in need of some driftwood...

Photographing my jewelry has become one of my favorite parts of the jewelry making process. In the beginning, I was quite overwhelmed by it, which was funny, because I love taking pictures. I took photography classes as part of getting my Bachelors of Fine Arts, and I read up about the importance of photographing your work in natural light in preparation for photographing my work. So after making my first few pieces, I got set up in the backyard... in the gray light of the great Northwest.... as more clouds rolled in... and then it started to rain. Living up here made photographing my work in natural light a frustrating endeavor. Even when it wasn't raining, the light would change too much within one short photo shoot. After a couple of attempts, it became clear that I would have to shell out some money for a light box, lights, tripod, etc. I didn't have the money for it, but I looked around anyway. I found a $400 package for $89! It had to be a sign! I really shouldn't have spent the money, but $89?! Come on!

So I made the purchase. And I've been having a grand time setting up little environments for my work ever since. I love collecting leaves, twigs, flowers and rocks that I bring home in the wicker basket that hangs off the front handlebars of my bicycle, Beatrice. My three Beauties, my husband and I now go on hikes, not just to enjoy the lush surroundings in which we live, but to collect props. My purse is full of bits of nature, always presnted to me by my little guy as he looks up at me with his big brown eyes, a bright smile and a sweet, "Here mama, this is for your jewey."

Which brings me back to the driftwood. I've become obsessed about collecting some for the pieces in my Laguna Beach collection, but that required a day trip to the beach. All I had to do was mention it to my Aunt Monique and Uncle Jack on our last visit with them up near Seattle and we were off to look for driftwood! We found our way to the shores of Fort Worden State Park, in Port Townsend. It was another gray day, but that makes for rich, saturated colors and some nice photographs. My favorite part of gathering natural props is that I am exploring nature with the ones I love most, and this spur of the moment adventure was a real treat. It was a good harvest all around.

The subtle wood grain texture on these pieces represents that place where the forest meets the ocean. The coarsely textured bark of a majestic pine is quieted and softened as the waves gently give it new form and the sun beats down to provide the final patina of beach wood.