I am a highly excitable beachcomber by nature…..meaning that I spend a lot of time oohing and aahing over things that I find on the luscious Cornish beaches where I live….well actually on any beach anywhere!
I love the texture, the feel, the possibilities I see when I look at a collection of pebbles, sea glass or shells in my hand.
As a child I’d pick anything up, had to have a look at it, had to touch it….I got lots of “put that down….you don’t know where its been!” I didn’t care where it had been, I just had to touch it, turn it my hands…..pop it in my pocket for later! On beaches I would sit and make up scenes with pebbles in the sand, my sand castles would be decorated from top to bottom in pebbles and shells!
Beach combing the beaches of Cornwall and Devon
Then in my adulthood I discovered the beaches of Cornwall and Devon….where I later relocated to permanently. Oh my the pebbles!!!! Glorious colours and textures.
The amazing cream shiny pebbles of Loe Bar in Helston, a wonderful bar of sand separating the largest natural freshwater lake in Cornwall from the sea, Sandymouth’s shiny black pebbles and Kynance Cove’s mottled green and red pebbles and I’ve not even mentioned the glorious beaches of Devon and Dorset!
But, I didn’t really do anything with them, they would sit in jars and Tupperware boxes and when I moved to the Southwest my collection grew….more jars and more Tupperware boxes!
Until one day, I had been wracking my brain for a present for a very dear family member who had been so supportive of me, I started to tinker with my collection in those jars and Tupperware, arrange them into scenes as I had done as a child on the beach, except this time with purpose. She had recently lost her dear cat and I found myself recreating a scene with a couple and their cat sitting on a log with a tree next to them, choosing colours that represented their cat, I wanted to make it personal! I wanted them to recognise their cat! and so my first piece was created, I framed it and sent it, thinking after I’d posted it, why on earth would she want that! Then to get a call to say how much she loved it and how it had made her cry……cry!!!!
She showed friends and family and they asked me to make them something, Family ones, with their kids, one had dark hair, one had light, they had a black and white dog and they wanted to PAY ME!!…….and it went from there!
5 years later…..I still love it! I still have to touch them, turn them in my hands. I’ve discovered pebbles from different lands, friends abroad send me in little packets and I wonder at how they feel and look and all the different colours there are.
I think I may have an obsession, but I also think I’m ok with that!
If you got to the end of this, thank you so much for reading.
A quick disclaimer….Some UK councils have passed bylaws under the Coast Protection Act 1949 banning beachcombing and it is also banned on Heritage Site beaches.
***Privately owned beaches with the owners permission is not illegal***
But it is important to remember even when you are collecting for beaches where it is allowed be sensitive to the area and don’t take too many!