We had the good fortune of connecting with Lauri Allen and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Lauri, what makes you happy? Why?

Well, number one would be my family, especially when we are all able to gather and share a long meal followed by a round of ‘Catch Phrase’ or cards! Second, finding sea treasures! I seem to simply scamper down to the beach because I am so excited when the rocks are “showing”. It doesn’t matter if it’s easy pickings on the beach or if I’m wading into the surf on a freezing cold day. Simply the po’sea’ bility of finding something extraordinary is all encompassing. It clears my mind of clutter and is such a freeing experience. I find balance, prayer time, physical exhaustion, and pure joy when I have a good day. Even on a not particularly fruitful trip though, I just feel better and somehow renewed when I have a chance to hear the waves and experience fully participating in the hunt! I tend to worry and get depleted with caring for others, and this new venture fills me up and chases burdens away.

On market days, happiness comes when someone excitedly chooses a sea glass pendant that speaks to them or they visibly light up when they see my canvases, pictures, and mosaics. I love getting pictures from customers of my art hanging in their homes. I am truly happy that someone chooses to buy something from me and finds value in it for the aesthetic, but even more so that they find the story or journey the piece had as cool as I do.

 Additionally, I experience this same feeling of joy when I do a photoshoot and am totally focused on getting a shot and balancing the light and colors through the glass. I can’t wait to get home and see them on my computer. And again, that same feeling when I choose a special find (piece of glass) and know it has to be made into a pendant. I love the feel of sterling wire in my hand and delight in having something wearable appear in about an hour. I enjoy the process of just about all of it!

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?

I am passionate about it! I fell in love with the way of life next to the ocean. Even though I raised my 4 daughters less than 2 miles from the beach, I hadn’t truly experienced it fully. I dutifully took them to the ocean, loved watching and playing beach volleyball, cheered on my daughters as they became surfers, and frequently walked the strand. But now, I joyfully run to the water’s edge filled with energy in the hope of finding treasures. I completely get lost in the sound of the waves, the energy of the ocean, the nature found in and around the water in the early mornings when not a soul is around. I call the birds my friends and have a group of ‘beach buds’–people who are so diverse and interesting and our only commonality is our mutual love of the ocean. There are my fellow beachcombers–rockhounds and sea glassers; and then the early morning surfers, the early walkers, the 2 ladies that come to pick up trash only to be productive and giving; the “Hallelujah” guy who proclaims this as his only word as he slow jogs by; the photographer who chronicles his daily walks; and the variety of non-locals who come to see or frolic on occasion….and then there is naked guy, who shows up to get a tan and be noticed.

 

This obsession started in 2015 after an elderly woman ran a stop sign and crashed into me totaling my car. My ankle took almost 4 years to rehab. I got depressed with my limitations and the surgery needed to fix it, so my eldest daughter told me to just go to the sand and walk (no excuses for canceled walking dates, you can walk alone)!  She tossed out, ‘Look for sea glass.’ It is an absolute ‘Easter egg’ hunt that has kept my attention for 6 years solid now. I am so intrigued by the journey a tumbled piece of glass takes before it transforms into a gem worthy of a piece of jewelry. These broken bits of old “trash” can be tumbled by the ocean for more than a hundred years. Even small bits of old glass can be traced back to what they might have originally been (some pieces in my personal collection are from the late 1800’s.  Color, tumble, size, shape all play into the value of a piece of glass. I LOVE how the ‘moment in time’ is so part of the hunt and each found piece seems to be destined for the owner who discovers it. The timing of walking in that exact spot the moment it is revealed or glimpsed even for a fraction of a second in the turn of a wave before …swoosh…. being buried by the sand, but maybe seen again, or maybe not. Quick reflexes, and often blind stabs in the water to recover or grab a piece is a sport! I love all of this! I never would have thought I could be happy getting socked with ice-cold water, nabbed by rocks that draw blood as they are hurled in the waves, to get a piece of discarded glass trash! But ,….. then there might be a chance it is a 1890’s vintage German swirly marble, or an art deco peacock feather looking egg-sized bauble, or a coveted stopper that might have held poison at bay or perfumed a famous lady! There is a worldwide community that I am now part of. I literally have friends, sea sisters (and bros) all over the world and have even traveled to meet up with some and share in the sport of the hunt. I think the entirety of knowing that the treasure I seek has a backstory, that the weathering by the salt water and rocks add to the beauty, that the tumbling and turbulence makes the piece better…it just mirrors life. I love that I am making something pretty, even beautiful, from ‘old trash.’ My photographs show peace and balance and reflections. I love when strangers come up and call them rocks, but are amazed by the play of light through the ‘stones’ and want to hang them in their homes! I am challenged by every aspect of this art and have worked more hours than I ever have as a speech/language pathologist (my profession for the past 36 years). I get lost in my photo shoots, in the editing, in the choosing of which shot to blow up, which pieces of glass to photograph, how and where to stack them, which are meant to be worn, which will be tree ‘toppers’ and which will be showcased in mosaics or frames.

 

I have had to learn about marketing, selling, ‘putting it out there’, wire wrapping skills, sourcing materials, …literally everything! I grew my IG account from 6 likes from immediate family/friends to over 5300 followers before I got hacked last March and now I am starting that process over again. I continue to learn about Etsy and other platforms, watch youtube for furthering my jewelry skills, and continually get out and look. I continue to do fairs and markets and always get the best comments that keep me smiling and moving forward to continue creating. I NEVER take it for granted how unbelievably blessed I am to have the ability and resources to do art and pursue this hobby. I want to encourage others to just DO IT and not to give up. You have to believe in yourself and keep pushing to hone your craft and learn from others by supporting and being positive yourself. I want people to know my art is original, one-of-a-kind inherently– due to each and every single piece of glass being discovered in the surf or on the shore and never manipulated from how it was found. I LOVE seeing the hallmark of authentic sea glass, ‘C’s’ that mark the surface and show in the close up photographs that the sunlight plays through. I want people to “sea” my work and want to take care of the ocean. I want them to feel peace and to feel the po’sea’ bilities of discovery– for themselves, for treasures, and for others as we are all one people. I have become more open and have really enjoyed meeting and talking to all ages and all sorts of people. I have also discovered that I enjoy being alone with my thoughts and being free of cluttered thinking that has plagued me forever. Tumbled by the sea, discovered by me, upcycled with TLC!!! (I apologize for being repetitive!)

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Obviously, first up would be a ‘first light’ morning trip to my favorite beach for a good hunt! We’d follow that with a coffee from Two-Guns, Blue Butterfly, or Philz, and then we’d go have a great breakfast at Cafe Milan, Kiari West,  The Local Yolk or Un Caffe Altamura. Next maybe a hike up in PV or above Malibu, followed by lunch along the way or back at Sloopy’s! If there is an afternoon low tide, we might hit the beach again or get some sight-seeing in. Sunset at the beach would be a must and maybe a margarita at La Playita or Happy Hour at Dia De Campo for drinks and brussel sprout nachos! I might take them home and cook together or maybe go somewhere local so we have more time for visiting. The Getty might be on the next day’s itinerary! But of course that would be after a glassing hunt as my pal would be hooked and want to go back! I love going up to PV and checking out the views and walking around downtown MB, HB or the RB riviera. Walking on the strand and seeing the 90210 house and just people watching is fun too! Mostly it would be about visiting, as anywhere in the south bay area is pretty awesome — we’d also MARVEL at my very own ‘sea glass room’ and check out my extensive sea glass and agate collection! We’d probably do a ‘hands on’ demo to make a sea tile angel or ornament for them to take home.  If there was a cool concert or play, we’d get out of the bubble and go! And if it was in the summer, we’d bring a picnic and enjoy the MB Concerts in the Park!

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My eldest daughter, Madison, my original sea glass and beach inspiration is one of my favorite people to stroll or actively search for treasures with. Let’s just say she would follow the walk by insisting my work space would benefit from defining and organizing and she’d take the lead (Yay!). My other 3 daughters; Adeline, especially, Jeanne, and Tessa each support me with numerous ideas, hunts, kind words, helping sell at markets, and constant encouragement! My dear friend Suzette for being my first ‘show house’ of my canvases and mosaics! Julie, Lora, Amy, Sharon, and C.L. for being regular and big purchasers; and Vicki for sharing all found treasures with me as she has braved waves and rocks and joined in helping craft as well. Deb for being my weekly lunch pal, willing to brave the elements and remind me that losing a phone is better than a life! My LinC group and bookclub band for their full support and love when I didn’t feel I was legit. My brother Michael for designing my website and siblings;  Joy, Rob and Michele for constantly coming up with creative ways to help me from afar. My local beach buds (especially Alex) and my sea sisters from around the globe–LOVE to you all and thanks for being my constant and loyal companions from afar!  And mostly my sweet husband who has supported me 100% and allowed all of our vacations to now center around sea glass hunting and photo shoots, even his 60th and then mine–whether in the rain or cold! He has given up his Fridays and weekends in order to load up, set up, sell and encourage on super slow market days, take down and then load and unload all after putting in long work days for his real job! I am very grateful and blessed to have my ‘team’ of loyal peeps-YOU know who you are even if not named!

Website: https://www.etsy.com/shop/LMarieSeaTreasures

Instagram: @lmarieseatreasures (NO underscore as that account was hacked and is NOT me since 3/30/2022)

Other: email me at lmarieseatreasures@gmail.com I am updating my etsy shop, but mostly like working with people one on one and am happy to email pics and ideas for custom orders… I also do a home show 2x/year and many fairs/markets

Image Credits
Lauri Allen

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