Nature Nurtures

Nature Nurtures

Inspiration for the Sea Shards Collection  ~  Designer’s Perspective

For me, the pandemic sparked an increased desire to be close to nature. When I rediscovered my childhood shell collection, stashed in an attic for decades, I found myself inspecting the shells with heightened delight. The scallops and conchs brought back memories of family vacations, each trip defined by the particular shell of that location.


Naturally, I considered incorporating the shells into my jewelry design. I dismissed the idea at first—it didn’t scream ‘modern’ or ‘bold’…coastal jewelry tends to be cutesy and delicate. But I kept coming back to the idea of using shells in a less recognizable way—and the possibility of designing on a grander scale.



Shells collected by my family, probably in the mid-80's.


I was drawn to the detail and interest that even the most ordinary shell could embody. Even when broken or grooved by parasites, these shells offered an ‘accidental beauty’ that was just as glorious as a perfect specimen.



After taking a trip to the Carolina coast, I solidified my design direction, collecting abstract bits that reminded me of pottery, paintings and sculpture. Now my studio is filled with rope, suede, fabric and other nautically nuanced items. It's a comforting diversion to my usual ultra modern style.


The pier at Wrightsville Beach, NC (August 2020)


The Sea Shards Collection finds beauty in the ordinary. And while these broken beauties aren’t considered precious material, they do showcase nature’s artistry without damaging the environment.

Most shells offered commercially are collected alive and then killed. And dredging in bulk damages ecosystems, which is why shells in this collection are gathered by hand, in limited quantities and over long periods of time (technically over 35 years!). Plus, by using sea shards we know we aren’t absconding with a potential hermit crab home.


During my recent trip to Wrightsville beach, the shore was covered with inch-deep swaths of shell shards (hog heaven for me!). A woman on the beach, noticing with my enthusiasm, said, “I’ve never seen anything like it! We don’t have WHOLE shells in California.”

“Whole shells” struck me as funny (she must be accustomed to fine sand), but then it struck me…

We have something special here in NC—a unique ecosystem, tides brimming with seashells.

Sometimes when you grow up with something you take it for granted.

After that comment, I felt a little extra pride rescuing my select sea fragments from their otherwise inevitable fate of becoming sand. And I will enjoy immortalizing them as keepsakes of the sea even more knowing they are truly Carolinian.

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