Wednesday, 21 July 2010

MEET: Hannah Marshall of Beach Shack Project

Hannah Marshall is the lady behind Beach Shack Project, a fascinating and ecologically sensitive company, designing and creating beautiful jewellery from beach-combed materials.

Her work is based around an idea of taking seemingly unattractive, or unpleasant, found items and changing them into lovely, desirable objects.  She is an addicted beach-comber and sources most of her materials this way.

"Although my work is heavily focused on using found objects, often detrimental to the coastal eco-system, my work didn't begin as a recycling project.  I use the beach as a platform for gathering new ideas and materials, and then the pieces design themselves in my head.  I never see what I find as rubbish, but just an unfinished part of something else."

"Neon Armband Bling " - reclaimed nylon cuff

Hannah supportes Surfers Against Sewage, set up by a group of surfers who wanted to use clean safe oceans. One of their campaigns involves “marine litter”, a huge problem on a lot of beaches all around the world. Huge matted balls of fishing nylon are now commonplace on beaches, usually having been lost or discarded by fishermen. These balls are not only non-biodegradable, but pose a threat to any wildlife unlucky to get caught up in it.

"I collect these tangled balls of nylon and laboriously go about unraveling, un-knotting and even re-knotting the nylon until I am left with workable strands. These are then washed thoroughly in antibacterial soap so they are squeaky-clean."

15% of sale from these items is donated to the campaign.

'Orange Knot Bangle' - reclaimed nylon

'Turks Head Knot' - Reclaimed Nylon Necklace

Hannah also incorporates seaglass and pottery in her work.  Looking into the origins of the glass and pottery pieces you find a fascinating history of the beach-combed areas.

" Seaglass is classed in colours but the rarity can vary in an area.  Emerald, bottle green, brown, white and aqua are all common colours found whilst beachcomiging  This is because these are the common colours used in the bottling industry today.  Anything that isn't one of these common colours is considered harder to find, for every 100 pieces only one will turn out to be colbalt, or naby, the cobalt usually being descended from an old medicine bottle used in teh Victoria era.  Lime, turquoise, yellow, pink, purple and red (from car lights, buoys and lanterns) are very rare, with orange thoughtto be the most uncommon colour.

"I have found many unusual pieces of flashed fuchsia glass, which I have only seen turn up in Scotland.  Many variations of glass can be found too, carnival glass, with an iridescent sheen, popular from 1900s onwayrs and slag glass, an opaque marbled galss which was very popular around the 1880s."

Sea Pottery is another interesting element to Hannah's work.  Many pieces wash up in river estuaries and harbours, such as the presence of Victorian tea ware found in Sussex rivers.  Where harbours stood, or still stand, tableware cargoes became lost over-board, or thrown as waste into the waters.  Tossed and tumbled over time these pieces now lie on the muds and sands at low water.

'Pastel Carnival Necklace' - Sea Pottery and Fishermans' Rope Necklace

Hannah's work can be seen on her beautiful website Beach Shack Project which is also full of interesting information about beach-combing and the materials she uses and more about Surfers Against Sewage.
She is also offering 30% off her jewellery to UK Handmade readers until 15th August.  Now that is an offer you can't refuse!  Just add the code UKHM2010 at the checkout.

4 comments: said...

Great project! It must be great and sad at the same time picking up all this stuff from beaches.

Your items look really beautiful too, I've never seen red sea glass before!

Anonymous said...

Lovely things - they have a delicacy to them. Love the fact you're re-using materials. And cleaning up litter at the same time!
x x x

Christine said...

Beautiful work - love the red sea glass!

Allabitrandom said...

Just love the sea glass pieces! I remember collecting bits of glass on the beach as a child and being fascinated by how the sea made it so smooth.