Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Shells and Rocks

I collect things from the shorelines where I have lived. Shells, stones, feathers...

When I was small I was fortunate to live on or near the Gulf Coast. I have many memories and sensations of sand, sea and surf. The smell of salt water, the sea critters I encountered: crabs, starfish, and even dolphins. It was magical. This has been a source of inspiration for me...

Gulf Shore Days - me sitting on a rock

My friends  

Me and my sister  
Beachy Beads!

More Beachy Beads!

No less magical were the shores of Lake Superior - the largest fresh water body of water on Earth - we moved there when I was bout 9 years old. A true Inland Sea - full of majesty just as powerful as any salt-water ocean. Here I encountered places and stones of astonishing color and texture.

I have many memories of living in Lake Superior country...

Rock-strewn shores
Me, age 11 or 12

Me and my sister an... yes I really did run around barefoot all summer.

Me again, meeting Paul Bunyan at Hiawatha Forest...

My baby brother Jake asleep fishing, while one of the great ore boats passes - little does he know here, his little rock perch is about to be engulfed in a wave from the wake of this mighty ship. But don't worry, he survived and is perfectly okay now. :)

But mostly I remember the ROCKS - like the ones I collected at Agate Bay or Pictured Rocks shore. I was lucky to be able to return to Superior about 15 years ago to collect a few more... 



...polished by water

Superior-tumbled rocks

Rocks bathing in the watery froth of Superior

A glimpse through the crystal clear waters

Sorted rocks - amazing color!

I sometimes step back and wonder at how incredibly similar the shores of the Gulf Coast Ocean are to the shores of the Inland Sea - Lake Superior, or as I have come to know it:  Kitchigami.

Though I no longer have the actual shells I collected from the Gulf Coast, I do have several stones from Kitchigami. They are incredibly important to me, and they are my muse...

My collection: nature inspired forms, colors, textures

... my source and my creation

What are you sources of Inspiration?  I'd love to hear about them!


  1. Wow, fantastic photography and gorgeous beads.

  2. These are some sweet memories - and scenery! - that you have shared! It is apparent that your love of "rocks" has inspired you since "way back when". I live on a pretty large, wooded lot. I am inspired by the Japanese maple that grows outside my window. I swear, those leaves are a different color every single week - my favorite tree!

  3. I really enjoyed this post, Karen. The ocean and lake pics were beautiful and it was fun seeing pics of you as a child.
    I seem to be mostly inspired by the beads themselves--searching for unique color combinations and textures. But sometimes colors from other sources inspire me too. I once made a bracelet whose colors were based on a design on a couch pillow I saw in a magazine!

  4. No wonder I love your beads. Rocks, stones, shells, sea glass, all inspirations of mine, and I have lots of it piled in bowls everywhere. drift wood, ect.......I was drooling over your pictures. I miss the sea. Can't wait to get there this weekend, even if it is a touristy place:( its the sea and I will be happy.

  5. Wow, those rocks are amazing. I was a rock collector when I was a kid. We never went anywhere that you could find them (although I collected shells and had great ones from Florida - have no idea where they are anymore) but I do now. I have some from Greece that mean a lot to me! My daughter collects rocks from places we visit and they are on top of her door frame, with smiley faces drawn on them!!!!

  6. Those rocks are beautiful Karen! I was a rock collector when I was a kid (although we never went anywhere for me to get them, I had to buy them) but I did collect shells as well from Florida, and they were great! I have some rocks I picked up in Greece that I treasure. My daughter collects rocks from our world travels and has them on top of her door frame with smiley faces drawn on them!

  7. Thank you for sharing these awesome photos,each one a work of art!

  8. Love this. I too am a water, ocean rock girl. Our lives are the same but so different. I have lived on the west coast most of my life. I have little collections of rocks and shells in bowls and buckets around my house. My grandchildren love our trips to the beach and like to at with the rocks. Thanks for sharing. I love nature for the inspiration. Cherrie

  9. Love your inspirations! I don't think I have a regular inspiration source. Mine seems to come from all kinds of places.

    My favorite pic is of your brother sleeping while fishing. Priceless :-)

  10. What a wonderful post! I loved all of the pictures and your stories. Wow Lake Superior is really gorgeous! I have never been there. The only one I have missed in my travels and growing up in Wisconsin. I Love all of your beads too! xo Genea


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