Sonja Grondstra

I gather beach glass from the shores of New England.  I am drawn by the unique shapes and soothing colors of the glass that has been tossed and tumbled along the rocky coast for many years.  I select pieces of beach and complementary glass and set them into intricate and creative designed necklaces, bracelets, earrings, rings and other fine jewelry.  The glass is hand bezel-set in sterling silver or gold, accompanied by pearls and semi-precious stones.  On occasion I include beautiful pieces of beach pottery into my designs.  My signature series is called “Oceans Apart”, dedicated to my family and friends across the seas.  Today, in addition to using natural beach glass, the line has evolved into an augmentation of the glass by shaping and coloring; this has opened up an endless color and design palette.  My work is contemporary, one of a kind jewelry inspired by Mother Nature, if it were not for beach glass I would not have the jewelry career I have today.
            I am following in the footsteps of the two people most inspirational to my work, my late Grandmother, and my Mother.  My Mother is a graduate of the Museum School of Fine Arts in Boston, Massachusetts and has since moved to Oaxaca Mexico with my Father where she continues creating art and jewelry.  When my Grandmother passed away, I dedicated my jewelry career to her, symbolizing her memory in an Ocean Angel’ talisman that was created from my favorite pieces of beach glass.  My Grandmother, originally from Holland, was a silversmith and jewelry designer.  I began my jewelry career with classes at Massachusetts College of Art.  My first project was to create an object that reflected the environment.  I chose to incorporate various shades of green beach glass into the design of a palm tree.  The seed was planted!  Classes in goldsmithing and jewelry design followed in Seattle Washington, continued at the Decordova Museum and other jewelry workshops.  I now work in Swampscott Massachusetts and have been creating beautiful jewelry for over 10 years.
            Walking my dog on the beach has evolved into a career and a spiritual journey for me.  The sunlight reflects on the shards of glass, illuminating the rare hidden treasures.  The rhythmic surf softens and relaxes my soul bringing a feeling of tranquility and calmness.  When I find a gallery-quality beach gem an excitement washes over me, awakening my creative desire to develop new jewelry.  The ultimate day for a beach glass hunt for me is, at low tide, just after a storm when the skies are clear and the sun is high.

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