Hammers, Maine Beach Stones and Tools of the Trade

I love Hammers

I love Hammers

I am a collector of things. Yes I connect with many objects whether it be of natural origin or of antique and vintage aged items, they infatuate and inspire me. They all have a story to tell, through their lines and markings  and worn areas, you are left to wonder what journey they have been through in their previous existence?

Forging 4g Wire Flat

Forging 4g Wire Flat

Working on a New Design Forged 4g strips & 14g rings

Working on a New Design Forged 4g strips & 14g rings

Work in Progress Links Necklace

Work in Progress Links Necklace

The stones that I am a drawn to have been part of the earth for more years than I can even fathom. I am forever imagining the paths they have taken while being tumbled by the ocean and from the depths of where they have come, only to be transported to the beaches via the rolling and often times crashing waves. These beach stones, beach rocks or, amazing treasures of the sea as I like to call them, are my inspiration daily. In order to showcase them in the way that I envision them I start with simple things, tools of my trade you would say, most importantly my hammers.

I am fortunate enough to have some very meaningful sources for my tools, as with my stones the story of how they came to me is as important as the hammer itself.  Each time I reach for my treasured ball peen hammer I remember that it is a tool that hung amongst the throngs of well-worn tools from my Father’s work bench. This man who willed me his passion to attempt to try anything, this mechanic who spent his life fixing anything and everything he could get his hands on. I feel his energy with the blows of the hammer and revel in the feeling that he is always watching me from his place high above and guiding me through my processes with both pride and criticism, of which I deserve both.

I have been given the privilege to live across the street from my partner Pam’s Grandfather’s house for 9 years now. His workshop is filled with tools that were from his father and his grandfather and so on. These hardy Mainers from Cushing & Thomaston were seafaring folk and their tools have stories that even I can’t imagine being a part of. Bump, as Pam would call her Grandfather, had many jobs in his 96 years of life, a few were working at the Bath Iron Works and the crew that constructed Maine Yankee in Wiscasset. He came to be a caretaker here on Montsweag Rd for the “summer people”, so each and every tool had a journey through many lives. Several of these treasures are in my possession and when I grip their aged handles I am reminded of his steadfast spirit and once again he shared my fathers ability to attempt most of any project.

I feed my soul with a good  “find” while visiting the Montsweag Flea Market as well as yard sales and other great antique markets all year-long. These tools are those I know no stories about, but from markings on the faces and surfaces I understand that each worn handle was held with a need, a passion to complete the task at hand. I have created patterns in the faces of some of these hammers and it is with that hammer blow I achieve my own unique and one of a kind texture. This hammer blow and the pattern it leaves behind brings me the joy of a job well done and I feel guided by everyone before me who has held each hammer in their hand.  Whether it be a carpenter, ship builder, mechanic, cobbler, farrier, iron worker, plumber or a woman like me who hammers silver, the energy they left behind is with me guiding me through each strike.

Tools are what allowed these people to problem solve and fix what was broken and build the foundation for projects both small and large. These same tools are now the tools of my trade along with some new purchases and I hope that someday they will part of someone elses life, so that they too can feel the energy that I have added and the passion I feel for each one’s unique shape, weight, age and smooth worn handles.

Beach Stones and the Authentic Self

Creating the Vision

Creating the Vision

As with all blog posts I tried to organize my thoughts this morning while quietly drinking my tea.  I spent much time updating and making some much-needed changes to my blog. Much like this inspiring pile of beach stones, it takes time to choose which beach stone will be transformed with forged silver into what kind of focused piece of jewelry, it too takes time to choose images and words to convey the thoughts and emotions that best describe my work and the space I am in at the moment.

I had an amazing opportunity this past week to attend the #inbound13 marketing conference in Boston, thanks to my son-in-law who works for Hubspot. I got to witness the energy of the current technology boom in a way I never have. Noticing all the time that I was one of the few in the entire audience of 5300 that was gray-haired and over the age of 35. I got to listen to one of my favorite bloggers in the world of marketing, Seth Godin who brought to everyone’s attention that we all needed to, “Be one of a kind, own it and live it”. His call to being “remarkable” and to “delight” people with our stories was refreshing and inspiring. In a world where there is so much information in order to be recognized and be appreciated for what we do, give people the information of most value, what is it about what you do that is special?

I also listened closely  to  Arianna Huffington speak about the need to reconnect, recharge. Remove technology from your down time, stop living a life of hurry up and take note of ourselves.  Most notable was when she said that “life only makes sense when you are living it”. Well, in this world of day to day responsibilities I am learning from the words of these entrepreneurs, these people who are taking the world by storm and being authentic.

When I looked at this beautiful organization of beach stones that I collected and remember the feeling of being at one with the ocean and it’s offerings I realize that I am authentic, I am doing what I was meant to be doing. I am truly focused and my world makes sense and  my process takes me to a place of feeling connected to the earth, this I know is my calling in life.

Balancing life is what poses the challenges and if there is anything I take away from this busy time in Boston or this beautiful and peaceful time collecting each ocean tumbled marvel from the beach is that time is of most value. Giving, sharing and loving are the mantra that fills my well. I feel the well is full and I am in need of the creative step, so onward I go.

Thank you for following my journey.

Anita

Recharging with Ashley, Casey & Holden

Recharging with Ashley, Casey & Holden

 

 

I Heart Beach Stones

Up-cycled Leather Belt Beach Stone Bracelets

Up-cycled Leather Belt Beach Stone Bracelets

Heart Shaped Beach Stones & Beach Stone Rings

Heart Shaped Beach Stones & Beach Stone Rings

I love what I do. Simple times begin on Maine beaches looking for smooth, worn beach stones. I come across many different sizes, shapes and colors, but am always amazed each and every time I am graced with a heart-shaped stone. It is not whether it is a perfectly shaped heart, it is simply that the shape evokes an emotion.  A feeling that the symbolism of a heart signifies love in so many ways.  Love of beaches, the earth, nature, my partner, my dogs, my family, my friends, each of these connections are evoked when I find a heart stone nestled among the many other shaped stones on the beach.

Treasured and collected by many, heart-shaped beach stones are revered because they are created by the crashing of the waves, the rubbing together against other rocks and worn smooth by more years than I have been on this earth.  I revel in the shape that nature has bestowed upon this simple stone, one that is not common.

When I bring my hand-picked stones home from my excursions I am able to recount the days and time spent on the beach and the moments of excitement I felt when these special stones were chosen for my collection. When I analyze how to drill them and in turn what to create from these treasured heart stones I then am able to share with others the love I feel.

As Valentine’s Day approaches I look back on the heart stone necklaces & bracelets that I have created and those who purchased them. Sometimes they are purchased as gifts of love, sometimes by collectors who just can’t get enough of the heart-shaped stones. No matter what the reason I understand the draw of the shape and the sentiment behind the love of this simple beach stone.

From my Collected Work

From my Collected Work


Time for an adventure!

As winter melts away my thoughts turn towards my strong desire to get to the beaches of Maine. I long for the sun and sounds of the water as it breaks on the rocks that are so precious to me. Unlike the sounds of the sand beaches, stone beaches have a far different feel and sound. Smooth stones of all sizes rumble and rub against themselves with each crashing wave, a music to me that is both meditative and full of energy.

As I spend my time surveying the landscape and hand pick each treasured stone, I imagine what beautiful piece of jewelry that I might make from what the earth has provided and what the waves and water have tumbled into a smooth supple stone. I spend hours stooped over and bent to pick up what I am moved by. I could spend days on end in this same position if my body would allow. I am thankful for my flexibility and patience and am fed by the smells, sounds and colors that I see.

As there are changes on the horizon for the place I use as my studio, I realize that everything begins here at the beach. It makes no difference where I create, but where my creative process begins will always remain the same.

Natural Beauty