Thursday, May 17, 2012

beach ...a book of treasure

This is a blog post that is long overdue.  I am incredibly embarrassed to confess how long overdue.

Two years ago (2010), Tom and I ventured down to Santa Cruz for our first ever Sea Glass Festival on the boardwalk.   While looking through all of the beautiful sea glass jewelry and coastal art, we stumbled upon Josie Iselin and her array of original art photography and artbooks that she has created by gathering treasures from the sand. Many times identifying the stunning beauty found in nature and on our coasts, seeing what most of us would just look beyond.

What passion she has for life beside the sea!  We connected almost immediately.  Comparing notes about local beaches, sea glass and the fascination with shells, I found a kindred spirit in Josie.  Recognized a new friends and fellow beachgirl in about a minute and a half!

"The beach affords us a place to breathe more slowly; there is an immense calm that rests solidly in my heart when I am there.  Stresses fade to the background as I wander and pick up a stone, its weight and texture - its' "stone-ness" - is a communicator of this calm; it is a talisman for this place of serenity.  Many call it "beachcombing" - I call it "the slow meander"."   From "beach.. a book of treasure"

Josie is not only an artist, she's an author giving life to her images and a peek into her journeys to the coast.  Turning  every  page in "beach" is like discovering a new delight in poetry and imagery.  I have savored this book for those days when I need a brain "reset", turning the pages slowly - admiring the details that Josie has captured by examining the tiny minutia of shore life captured on her flatbed scanner.

"When I think of roaming the sandy beaches I know, my feet tingle as I imagine the initial trudge through the soft sand give way to the easier walking near the water: I visualize finding a spot to rest; the warm sand filters through my fingers as I gaze out to the sparkling ocean, children running or digging nearby; wild with happiness."  From "beach...a book of treasure"

At the time, Caron's Beach House was just in its' infancy, I was thirsty to meet other beachcombers like me.  While we stood at her booth at the Sea Glass Festival, I decided to be brave; asked Josie if we could come over and see her studio.   So one rainy San Francisco Saturday morning, she invited us over for coffee, and we explored her art-beach world for a wonderful few hours.  My biggest regret is that I had broken my regular camera just the week before....

Can you get a glimpse of what inspires Josie?

Treasures hidden in an old iron desk, just waiting for their turn on the scanner... shells, sea pods, starfish, stones with interesting shapes, pieces of kelp.  All kinds of flotsam and jetsom!

Seaweed and kelp samples that Josie is preparing for future art pieces and a book idea that she has... who knew how beautiful sea plants really are?  Brilliant reds, purples and greens all gathered from our local Northern California beaches.

An interesting bowl of stones - can you see the swirls of white, gray and bits of blue?  On the scanner, these become amazing sea sculptures! 

Just had to show you her work space (love the kid drawings!)  with her prized scanner.  Truly fascinating how Josie can spend hours arranging and rearranging her beach finds on the glass to create one of a kind art prints - capturing those subtle nuances and colors that most of us miss.

If you are interested, Josie Iselin's books can be found on my "Beach-Reads" page at Liberty Bay Books for ordering online, or you can also try your local independent bookstore.   These fine art photography books  make wonderful gifts for your beach combing and sea glass friends!  

When we visited her studio, she was finishing up the work for "Sea Glass Hearts".  Sea Glass friends had donated so many beautiful examples of found sea glass hearts; love how the book turned out.

I did bring a gift.  Who knows, maybe one day these pieces of my beachcombing collection will become famous in one of Josie's books?

Have a great Thursday everyone!

**images for the "beach.." book used from Josie
Iselins' website.**  

If you sign up for Josie's newsletter or "like" her Facebook page, you might even get to meet her when she stops by your next local sea glass festival!  These shots were taken last year (2011) in Santa Cruz when Josie was a featured speaker.


Gordon and Judy said...

Caron -- what a beautifully written post -- you paint such a lovely word picture. Made me feel like I was there with you and Josie. Thanks so much for sharing.

Kim@Snug Harbor said...

That was a really interesting post. "Beach, a book of treasures" is now on my wish list. Thanks!

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