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...

Grotie Buckies!

Grotie Buckies!

I’m always working on new designs and looking to nature for inspiration, and my latest design uses cowrie shells.

I’ve used small box frames (12.5cm square) to house a painted acrylic landscape, finished off with a cowrie shell.

Cowries – or Jenny Wrens as I knew them growing up (perhaps this is a Whalsay name. Let me know if you called them this too!) – are increasingly popular in jewellery making in Shetland. Several local artists have used casts of the tiny shell, so I thought I would have a go at using them in a different way.

I have however exhausted my supply, and slightly underestimated how rare they are to find! I think this might call for a special limited edition art piece.