Jessica Phoebe Lee Seaglass Jewelry

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The earliest memory I can bring to mind is of beams of light streaming through antique glass bottles on a window ledge. Glass is a remarkable substance; a flowing creature when molten, a hard yet fragile material when cool. I cannot recall when I first began collecting sea glass. In my teenage years I developed a passion for diving. The seaweed alone was enough to mesmerize me to the point of hypothermia. Tiny abalone shells and other treasures from the ocean floor became memory-triggers by which to remember a certain spot. In the quiet world that was underwater, beautiful things were polished in the rolling sand, and I began to seek them.

After attending four different colleges; Reed College, UCSC, St. John's College, and Art Center College of Design, I became interested in the metalsmithing program at Cabrillo College. There I met Lynda Watson and Dawn Nakanishi, two women whose exquisite work, impeccable designs, and incredible generosity as teachers have made them mentors and friends of mine for life. Lynda gave me an appreciation for the engineering skills that go into finely constructed jewelry. Her work is an ingenious narrative of her travels. Dawn inspired me with the elegant simplicity of her silversmithing. Her work is a response to the beaut;y that resonates in nature. Both women have the ability to inspire confidence in the power of the imagination and the expertise to show their students how to turn a drawing into a construction.

And so with a passion for metalwork and an obsessive collecting instinct, I have become a seeker and setter of sea glass. Sea glass is the ultimate recycled substance. Some people call it the tears of mermaids, but I disagree. Mermaids are the happiest of creatures and they do not wish for legs. They will toss you a jewel if you are brave enough to find it in the instant when the bigger waves pull back and reveal their treasures.

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