Well, after a week back at work, the end-of-holiday gloom has lifted and I am embracing the start of the new season. Although I am very happy to be edging into autumn, I have this week felt a yearning for the sea and for the chance to spend some time on a wild and windswept beach. This year we were very lucky to have some lovely summery day trips, but I have missed our annual summer holiday in Cornwall more than I thought. We usually head for somewhere either in or close to St Ives, right at the far end of Cornwall as there is something very special about being in such a far-flung part of Britain. It is very beautiful there, and I always find it very hard to say goodbye. Inspired by Hawthorn and Jaquie's glorious sea images, I took a look at last year's Cornish holiday snaps and reminisced about salty air, the scream of gulls and soft sand under my feet.
I imagined walking along the seashore looking for treasure. I have always been an incurable beach-comber, and spend more time looking down at the ground than up at the view. I have jars and boxes of shells, pebbles and beach finds at home, either displayed in my bathroom or waiting to be made into something. Limpets, whelks, mussels, winkles, cockle shells and other bi-valves: every time I go to the beach I come home with something.
And I love coastal colours, even on a dull day: aqua, grey, rust, white, green, blue, sand.
I can spend hours wandering along the shore searching for sea-treasure - shells, pebbles, seaweed, driftwood and, my favourite, sea glass. It has the most wonderful translucency, in soft shades of green, white, aqua, brown and, if you're very lucky, blue. The fact that all its straight edges have been worn smooth, and its surface is very like that of a pebble makes it very appealing. It's also intriguing to think of its possible age and history. Some pieces of sea-glass are Victorian, or even earlier, and others are much more recent. Unwanted, broken glass objects thrown into the sea as rubbish and returned by the sea to me as treasure.
Once home, I sort it by colour and size: I've got quite a collection from beach-visits over the years. Then I pick out pieces that will suit my purpose, smooth and fairly regularly shaped with a nice even appearance. I make my sea-glass into necklaces, wrapping them in twirly silver wire and hanging them on silver or blue cord, a little piece of the seashore which I can wear.
Sometimes I add little sea-coloured beads to the wire.
And experiment with how I twist the wire around the sea-glass in different patterns.
And I also make necklaces from the outer rings of limpet shells which I often find on the beach, entwining little glass chip beads around them.
When I wear one at work or going shopping I smile when I remember I'm wearing a bit of one of my holidays in Cornwall, Brighton, Wales, North Yorkshire, Dorset or France. Now that I've made some more sea-glass necklaces and looked back over my old holiday photos, I can almost smell the ozone and hear the gulls; it feels as if I've been on a little seaside trip without leaving the house.