Monday, November 17, 2008

I see sea glass by the seashore

Last month I had the opportunity to go beachcombing along a rocky shore hidden behind a sugar plantation. As you can see, that canefield is cultivated on red dirt that extends all the way out to the Pacific coastline, yet I can't imagine that this less-than-glamorous scene would ever be a visitor's idea of a day on the beach in Hawaii. Where are the swaying palm trees? No swimmers, surfers, and babes in bikinis? No sandy white beach?

Rest assured that those things do exist here (Waikiki and Oahu's North Shore for example), but if you're a jewelry designer this type of "glass" beach is like stumbling upon gold. Among the rocks and pebbles and chunks of dead coral, broken shards of colorful glass and porcelain fragments "litter" the water's edge. Worn to a smooth, frosted finish by sand and sea, beach glass is what my uncle collects to create beautiful one-of-kind pendants of his own design. Each shard is inspected before the best are transformed into lustrous works of art.

Exclusively Kaliki Designs is based out of Pasadena, CA but all glass used comes from the island of Kauai. Begun as a hobby over a decade ago, examples of my uncle's creations are shown at right (sold at craft fairs on the mainland and here in the islands). At one such event I was seriously impressed by the magnitude of his work, as hundreds of pieces were displayed neatly on the table. Each pendant, he explained to me, is produced through a multitude of steps and even holds copyright distinction. There is no website available but if you are interested in purchasing, I can give a contact email address. Of course it should come as no surprise that one of these will be among the items in the contest giveaway. The one in the center which I've affectionately dubbed "mermaid's tear" will come with an 18-inch black silk cord w/clasp.