If you love sea glass jewelry as much as me, you're bound to have seen some of Gavin Hardy's creations online.
Every time I visit Seaham, I make sure to stop by Seaham Waves and check out the earrings, necklaces and bracelets that are waiting for a lucky new owner.
Some of my favorite sea glass jewelry comes from Seaham Waves. In fact, my husband proposed to me with a sea glass ring made by Gavin!
During my trip to Seaham in February 2017, I visited Gavin Hardy and had the opportunity to ask him a few questions. How did this world famous sea glass jewelry designer get started? I have the scoop!
So Gavin, have you always lived in Seaham near the beach?
Yeah, as a young one we always had to go to the beach to play instead of the parks. The beach was our closest form of recreational facility. We used to throw sea glass as far into the sea as we could!
I bet you don't do that now do you?
Can you remember the color of the first piece of sea glass that you ever found?
Just plain white, then you start wondering what it is and start searching for more. You find more colors and then multis.
What about the prettiest piece? Does one stand out?
I have found a few with rainbow patterns, but I don't get attached to any of them so I don't really have a favorite.
When did you start thinking about doing something with the sea glass?
A few years ago, I was made redundant in my job and I had extra time with my young ones. We started taking walks on the beach and collecting the glass. After a while our collection became more and more and I started wondering, well what do I do with this sea glass?
It naturally progressed on to making things with it and jewelry was the easiest thing to make, so I started with family and friends and went on from there.
Had you ever made jewelry before? How long have you been doing it?
No this was all trial and error. I've been making sea glass jewelry for about five or six years.
So I can't help but wonder... how many pieces of sea glass have you broken while learning to drill them?
Oh thousands of pieces... all nice ones too!
What items do you prefer to make?
Necklaces are the least time consuming for me and they sell the quickest as well.
Do you have help finding sea glass?
Almost all of our sea glass is hand picked by myself, my wife and our two little girls.
What's the best piece any of you have found?
I have a huge 2lb green egg.
Does your wife love to wear sea glass jewelry?
No, not really, she has several pieces but she prefers Pandora!
Do you try to get more creative as you learn?
Yes, you try to develop what you do and put more skill into it. At the moment I'm in sort of a quandry as to... do I get more fully into silversmithing, get creative and make jewelry pieces from scratch... or do I continue to buy the mass produced items and go from there?
At the moment I do a bit of both.
When did you open your shop Seaham Waves?
We opened our first bricks and mortar studio/shop in July of 2013, however we have had our Etsy shop since 2011.
Do you sell a lot abroad?
I send items all around the world, this week Japan, Taiwan, Australia and the United States.
If you were offered your old job back and they doubled your money... would you take it?
No way! I love spending time with my little ones; getting them up, ready and off to preschool, then I get to pick them up after school. I usually work 12-3.
What's the best way for people to find you and view your jewelry?
You can find us on Facebook and Instagram, as well as Etsy and our own website. We're pretty much everywhere online. Of course, you can come to our little shop too!
Thank you very much to Gavin for spending time - in between a steady stream of customers - to answer my many questions! If you're heading to Seaham, make sure to pop in and check out his latest sea glass jewelry creations!