A new business has opened on the outskirts of Andover! Beachcombings Studio offers a delightful, and colorful, array of handcrafted jewelry, mostly made of seaglass (personally found on beaches in Maine, the United Kingdom, Nova Scotia, and Lake Champlain) and hand-worked silver (some gold), and some with precious and semi-precious stones (such as Tourmaline). They use “…simple, elegant designs that echo time spent by the shore.”
Rolande (Ron) Andrews is the designer and creator, while her husband Don helps with the business and does the underwater drilling of the seaglass. The studio is located on their property on 412 Depot Street (Route 4) near the border of Andover and Danbury, and now has regular hours on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 10 AM to 4 PM. They are also available to open by appointment.
The inspiration for the jewelry came from walks along Ferry Beach in Maine after moving to Saco after “retiring” from being owners of an inn in Sullivan Harbor. Ron started collecting seaglass (glass that has been smoothed and rounded by the ocean waves) and shells, and when she saw a charm bracelet made of beach findings she thought to herself “I can do that.” A hobby was started. That was in 1998 when few people were doing anything similar. Now, there are many jewelry designers working with the same materials. But Ron doesn’t look to anyone else for ideas about jewelry design. She takes her inspiration from the piece of glass she is working with at the time. Her aim is for uniqueness.
Another unusual material, similar to seaglass, used in Ron’s jewelry comes from Japan, and is found on their beaches. Ohajiki, similar to marbles, is a traditional Japanese children’s game. The pieces, flat and coin-shaped, wash up on Japanese beaches, smoothed and rounded much in the same way as seaglass. The colors can be very vibrant.
The time it takes to create each piece depends on the design and workmanship required. The pricing reflects this, plus the quality of the materials, and the design features. But, the pricing is fair and reasonable. Ron also carries a line of jewelry made by a friend, Betty Barrett, that uses copper and brass.
While Rolande’s craft began as a hobby, she later attended classes at the New Hampshire League of Craftsmen and the New Hampshire Institute of Art at Manchester, after she and Don moved to New Hampshire. Outside of the jewelry hobby, Ron worked as an administrator at Harvest Hill Retirement Community in Lebanon, and then Sunapee Cove in Sunapee for a while before retiring to work full-time on the jewelry business. Don worked as a special education teacher in New Hampshire and Vermont (and formerly in Maine) before retiring to help with the business.
Before COVID, they participated in up to 35 craft shows per year, from Maine to Florida. Now they are operating out of their studio and website (beachcombingsstudio.net), and will probably do some shows again once it is safe to do so. Their studio reflects the same, but larger, professional and artistic setup used at craft shows. The showcases, lighting, and other colorful accessories create the perfect setting to highlight the stunning jewelry. When the studio is open, there is a sign outside marking the parking area. Look for the pergola and you can’t miss it!
To learn more about Beachcombings Studio, visit their website at BeachCombingsStudio.net. They can also be reached by e-mail at BeachCombings@nullgmail.com, or by phone at 735-5659 or 727-6481. Visit their studio to see for yourself how beautiful seaglass can look when combined with other materials and lots of creativity!