Cowrie shells on Sanda Stour, Shetland.

Cowrie shells on Sanda Stour, Shetland.

Cowrie shells on Sanda Stour, Shetland.

Cowrie shells on Sanda Stour, Shetland.

The hunt for the Groatie Buckie shells continue – I have collected them from around the Shetland islands since I was 5 years old and still love them.
Many new collectors have emerged since lock down 2020 judging from numerous local social media posts, not disclosing secret locations. I reckon it is much more difficult to find the elusive shells in the traditional spots than ever before probably due to their increased popularity! I also suspect rising sea levels churning up areas of beach that it couldnt reach before have had an impact. Observing one of my favourite spots, the sea has now eaten away at the edge of hillside until the fence has fallen in.
I love to treasure my favourite shells and use them in my jewellery mako adore. The Cowrie shell is said to bring luck and prosperity to the finder – great things to share! I offer a choice of 1, 2 or 3 shells in my pendants. Interestingly there are 2 species of Cowrie she, one with black spots on its back (European Cowrie) and the other without spots (Northern Cowrie) I have found equal amounts of both species around the Islands.
To be able to find enough shells to keep my jewellery making going it is now necessary to visit uninhabited islands by small boat! Fortunately we have a suitable small boat and have recently been to visit the small island of Sanda Stour. A perfect little island (1mile x 1.5 mile) with a spectacular gully, nesting birds, friendly seals and stunning wild flowers in the summertime. I collected some small shells but also left plenty, very aware not to negatively impact the shoreline eco system! What a special place.

Visiting the Mousa Broch – perfect day out.

Visiting the Mousa Broch – perfect day out.

Visiting The Mousa Broch –

With the 7.5 weeks of school summer holidays flown past we had still not made it to Mousa! Luckily The Mousa ferry boat continues to run throughout September too, which is great, and we finally made it! On board the Solan IV.
As a considerable queue of visitors lined up at the small pier and the boat looked a bit small to hold everyone, but it was deceiving and we all fitted in nicely with a beautiful burst of sunshine and perfectly calm water. There is no booking required, you just turn up and pay onboard. (£16 per adult, £7 per child) Leaves from Sandsayre, Sandwick. Taking 15 mins to cross to the island of Mousa, with free whale watching as 2 Minkys happened to be in the area.
The entire trip is 3 hours, leaving plenty of time to complete the round island walk of hour with lots of time for a picnic and chillax.
The fabulous Mousa broch is 1/3rd of the way round from the pier, following a marked grassy path. The 2,ooo year old broch is magnificent as it comes into view and is now open to the public to explore inside and walk up the hidden staircase to the top! The broch stands 13 metres tall.
The broch has already inspired me to create several pieces of artowork including my mosaic where I recreate the broch using tiny pebbles. However after this recent trip I was successful in taking many beautiful photographs and have a few new ideas for paintings!
As well a the Broch, Mousa is a nature reserve and hosts an array of wildlife found throughout Shetland including – Seals, great Skuas, Fulmers, Shags, Arctic terns, Storm Petrols, Shetland sheep and Shetland Wrens. There is also ruins of houses to see around the island measuring 1 x 1.5 miles. The first house you meet off the boat is still usable, built in 1770 called Ham house was used as a fishing bothy. The others are ruins, each with fascinating history of times past. Interestingly there is still no agreement amongst experts as to what the Broch was originally used for! Belonging to a classification of “complex Atlantic roundhouse” Could it have been a fancy house, store for grain, defensive structure ?? The imagination runs wild!

Ultimate Sea glass from Shetland.

Ultimate Sea glass from Shetland.

Having been fascinated by treasure hunting around our Islands since a very small child - I though I would share some of my favourite pieces of glass with you. This is my Ultimate Shetland sea glass collection! Sea glass is glass found along a sea or shoreline. Sea...

New Commission complete!

New Commission complete!

I was delighted to be chosen to design Shetland inspired product by Shetland Arts - to be sold in their 3 retail outlets in Shetland. After a lot of though and research, I came up with the idea of using shell sand collected from beaches around Shetland and setting it...

Explore the Shetland shore!

Explore the Shetland shore!

Explore the Shetland shore - When you walk along the shore line, your never sure what you are going to find! Perhaps nothing different or maybe the most beautiful nugget of worn sea glass you have ever seen! Or a rare sea bean? Having been exploring the beaches around...

Sea swimming in Shetland.

Sea swimming in Shetland.

Sea swimming has become ever more popular during lockdown in many places including Shetland! Some choose to wear wetsuits (me!) and some not!  I have joined in as a result of fascination with photos appearing on Instagram from Alison Moore in the Orkney island...

Let’s talk jewellery!

Let’s talk jewellery!

With unstoppable creative energy I have made a considerable collection of jewellery due to experimentation and getting a bit carried away! Not to bamboozal potential customers I have sorted my jewellery pieces into collections. With 2 main themes – Aurora Borealis and...

Shetland jewellery photo shoot.

Shetland jewellery photo shoot.

Despite growing up and living in Shetland my whole life, I am still in awe at the beauty of our islands.  Especially places like Meal beach, Burra, which are really  special. It was very easy to pick a location for my photoshoot, to model my new jewellery collections-...

Strange times everyone says.

Strange times everyone says.

It is warm and very windy outside today, July is often a strange month of weather here in Shetland.  Today I should have had a group of visitors to my art studio and garden, for a tour. However this is not possible due to the risk of catching a troublesome virus. Our...

What resin do I use!

Having spent the last 3 years dabbling in resin I have tried many kinds. There is a huge variety of resins which is a bit confusing.  I often get asked what resin do I use! For my artwork I only use Epoxy  resin. But within Epoxy resin there is also a large variety of...

Cowrie shells on Sanda Stour, Shetland.

Cowrie shells on Sanda Stour, Shetland.

The hunt for the Groatie Buckie shells continue – I have collected them from around the Shetland islands since I was 5 years old and still love them.
Many new collectors have emerged since lock down 2020 judging from numerous local social media posts, not disclosing secret locations. I reckon it is much more difficult to find the elusive shells in the traditional spots than ever before probably due to their increased popularity! I also suspect rising sea levels churning up areas of beach that it couldnt reach before have had an impact. Observing one of my favourite spots, the sea has now eaten away at the edge of hillside until the fence has fallen in.
I love to treasure my favourite shells and use them in my jewellery mako adore. The Cowrie shell is said to bring luck and prosperity to the finder – great things to share! I offer a choice of 1, 2 or 3 shells in my pendants. Interestingly there are 2 species of Cowrie she, one with black spots on its back (European Cowrie) and the other without spots (Northern Cowrie) I have found equal amounts of both species around the Islands.
To be able to find enough shells to keep my jewellery making going it is now necessary to visit uninhabited islands by small boat! Fortunately we have a suitable small boat and have recently been to visit the small island of Sanda Stour. A perfect little island (1mile x 1.5 mile) with a spectacular gully, nesting birds, friendly seals and stunning wild flowers in the summertime. I collected some small shells but also left plenty, very aware not to negatively impact the shoreline eco system! What a special place.

Visiting the Mousa Broch – perfect day out.

Visiting the Mousa Broch – perfect day out.

Visiting The Mousa Broch –

With the 7.5 weeks of school summer holidays flown past we had still not made it to Mousa! Luckily The Mousa ferry boat continues to run throughout September too, which is great, and we finally made it! On board the Solan IV.
As a considerable queue of visitors lined up at the small pier and the boat looked a bit small to hold everyone, but it was deceiving and we all fitted in nicely with a beautiful burst of sunshine and perfectly calm water. There is no booking required, you just turn up and pay onboard. (£16 per adult, £7 per child) Leaves from Sandsayre, Sandwick. Taking 15 mins to cross to the island of Mousa, with free whale watching as 2 Minkys happened to be in the area.
The entire trip is 3 hours, leaving plenty of time to complete the round island walk of hour with lots of time for a picnic and chillax.
The fabulous Mousa broch is 1/3rd of the way round from the pier, following a marked grassy path. The 2,ooo year old broch is magnificent as it comes into view and is now open to the public to explore inside and walk up the hidden staircase to the top! The broch stands 13 metres tall.
The broch has already inspired me to create several pieces of artowork including my mosaic where I recreate the broch using tiny pebbles. However after this recent trip I was successful in taking many beautiful photographs and have a few new ideas for paintings!
As well a the Broch, Mousa is a nature reserve and hosts an array of wildlife found throughout Shetland including – Seals, great Skuas, Fulmers, Shags, Arctic terns, Storm Petrols, Shetland sheep and Shetland Wrens. There is also ruins of houses to see around the island measuring 1 x 1.5 miles. The first house you meet off the boat is still usable, built in 1770 called Ham house was used as a fishing bothy. The others are ruins, each with fascinating history of times past. Interestingly there is still no agreement amongst experts as to what the Broch was originally used for! Belonging to a classification of “complex Atlantic roundhouse” Could it have been a fancy house, store for grain, defensive structure ?? The imagination runs wild!

Ultimate Sea glass from Shetland.

Ultimate Sea glass from Shetland.

Having been fascinated by treasure hunting around our Islands since a very small child - I though I would share some of my favourite pieces of glass with you. This is my Ultimate Shetland sea glass collection! Sea glass is glass found along a sea or shoreline. Sea...

New Commission complete!

New Commission complete!

I was delighted to be chosen to design Shetland inspired product by Shetland Arts - to be sold in their 3 retail outlets in Shetland. After a lot of though and research, I came up with the idea of using shell sand collected from beaches around Shetland and setting it...

Explore the Shetland shore!

Explore the Shetland shore!

Explore the Shetland shore - When you walk along the shore line, your never sure what you are going to find! Perhaps nothing different or maybe the most beautiful nugget of worn sea glass you have ever seen! Or a rare sea bean? Having been exploring the beaches around...

Sea swimming in Shetland.

Sea swimming in Shetland.

Sea swimming has become ever more popular during lockdown in many places including Shetland! Some choose to wear wetsuits (me!) and some not!  I have joined in as a result of fascination with photos appearing on Instagram from Alison Moore in the Orkney island...

Let’s talk jewellery!

Let’s talk jewellery!

With unstoppable creative energy I have made a considerable collection of jewellery due to experimentation and getting a bit carried away! Not to bamboozal potential customers I have sorted my jewellery pieces into collections. With 2 main themes – Aurora Borealis and...

Shetland jewellery photo shoot.

Shetland jewellery photo shoot.

Despite growing up and living in Shetland my whole life, I am still in awe at the beauty of our islands.  Especially places like Meal beach, Burra, which are really  special. It was very easy to pick a location for my photoshoot, to model my new jewellery collections-...

Strange times everyone says.

Strange times everyone says.

It is warm and very windy outside today, July is often a strange month of weather here in Shetland.  Today I should have had a group of visitors to my art studio and garden, for a tour. However this is not possible due to the risk of catching a troublesome virus. Our...

What resin do I use!

Having spent the last 3 years dabbling in resin I have tried many kinds. There is a huge variety of resins which is a bit confusing.  I often get asked what resin do I use! For my artwork I only use Epoxy  resin. But within Epoxy resin there is also a large variety of...

Ultimate Sea glass from Shetland.

Ultimate Sea glass from Shetland.

Having been fascinated by treasure hunting around our Islands since a very small child – I though I would share some of my favourite pieces of glass with you. This is my Ultimate Shetland sea glass collection!

Sea glass is glass found along a sea or shoreline. Sea glass can be fragments, shards and remnants of glass pieces that, for a variety of reasons has ended up naturally tumbling along a shore or beach. How these pieces of glass ended up on beaches has many explanations – Humans around the world have been discarding refuse glass: tableware, bottles, window panes, dishes etc into the sea from ships and onto beachside land fills for hundreds of years.

You can see my prized and only red piece in the picture has now been identified by a vintage car collector as a piece of headlight! The car collector was able to tell me which type of car it was from!

The 2 marbles I found at Vidlin (next tot he Whalsay ferry) are worn down to half their size, you wonder if it was children playing at the beach who lost them? or were they used inside Codd bottles? (Hiram Codd invented the Cold bottle i 1872, which used a glass marble to block the neck of the bottle and keep a soft drink carbonated.) Codd bottle marbles are green in colour and are highly prized, I love mine!

Living on The Shetland Islands there are plenty of beaches and cost line to check out. The weather is friendly to sea glass hunters as well; frequent storms stir up the waves and rain to keep other beachgoers away!

Rare coloured glass includes- Lavender, turquoise, pink, gray and black. Super Ultra rare includes – Orange, Yellow and red! Also collector favourites are the bottle stoppers, I have a few but not many. My own favourite glass finds are beads, as I love to imagine what the necklace would look like and who wore it, when! I also love to use my sea glass treasure in my own jewellery with resin – for the full collection visit my webshop – www.sarahkayarts.com

Please let me know your favourite sea glass find!

Explore the Shetland shore!

Explore the Shetland shore!

Explore the Shetland shore –

When you walk along the shore line, your never sure what you are going to find! Perhaps nothing different or maybe the most beautiful nugget of worn sea glass you have ever seen! Or a rare sea bean?

Having been exploring the beaches around Shetland since a toddler I thought I was familiar with most shore finds, creatures, seaweeds and shells. However it is only now that I have experienced spending time IN the sea that I have really been able to appreciate and admire all of the sea creature, how they interact with each other and how they are perfectly adapted to the environment.

As well as a huge learning journey, being in the water also provides a visually stunning experience every time, as you can see from my photos it is amazing under the surface!

I love to share these photos using social media as I can’t believe how few people think about looking underwater, when we are surrounded by the sea on Shetland.  Days when it looks cold, horrible and grey on land, it is stunning in the water.

My plan is to use the photos for creating artwork over the winter. Although time is running away as it is nearly December! I will get there.  The aquamarine colours are addictive to me.

I also love to use the any bits of seaweed, shells, sea pottery etc to make jewellery which is special from Shetland, each piece original and handcrafted by me. Each one unique and meaningful from a small business. Thank you everyone for your support with purchasing my jewellery!

 

p.s I also highly recommend watching The Octopus Teacher movie.

 

Donations of treasure!

Donations of treasure!

 

Living in a small community like Shetland has many benefits, as I’m sure many of you know. It is safe, there’s a great community spirit and people are usually very keen to help each other out – as I’ve been finding recently!

I’ve been making art pieces using sea glass and other beach finds for exactly three years now, and as a result am known locally for using such materials – so much so that people have been giving me surprise donations of materials!

I’ve been so thrilled and grateful to receive these. So far these have included goodies such as a bag of stone crystals left on my doorstep, a box of sea glass and pottery pieces, a box of drift wood and several hauls of mixed beach finds and shells – often donated by people who have decided to declutter unwanted childhood collections. It is great for me, and I’m always surprised when people give up their treasure.

In one box, there was a particularly rare piece in amongst the sea glass: a beautiful turquoise coloured glass, with a ribbed texture to it. I decided to take it to a workshop run by local silversmith Esme Wilcock and learn how to create a piece of jewellery using sea glass and fine silver.

After a fascinating day I managed to complete the challenge, and created a stunning pendant! I showed it to the person who donated the glass to me, and she loved it so much that she wanted to

buy it, to give to her mother. It turns out it was her mother who had originally found the glass, and as it was soon going to be her 90th birthday, it seemed like the perfect present.

It was a reluctant sale, but I decided it should go back to the person who found it. It’s funny how things work out sometimes.

Happy New Year from Shetland

Happy New Year from Shetland

2018 has started off quickly for me, with the first exhibition up!

I have space in Islesburgh Community Centre in Lerwick, Shetland for the month of January. This is a great space a the entrance of the busy building. January is the month the fire festivals start, with many visitors staying in the Islesburgh hostel next door, so may enjoy looking at my colourful artwork too.  I have added some viking boats to my artwork especially. My main piece of new work on show is my Mousa Broch painting. I have built the broch with tiny stones collected from the beach near the broch, it is priced at £450 and measures 50 x 50 x 4.5 framed.