I love to travel, especially outside the U.S. There’s something intoxicating about going to another country where you don’t speak the language, making every little act from figuring out which train to hop on to ordering in a restaurant an adventure. Last year I had the wonderful opportunity to travel around northern Italy for three weeks. My first stop was a week hiking the unbelievable scenic trails of Cinque Terre. Every day my traveling buddy (Candie Cooper, incredibly talented author of Metalworking 101 for Beaders) and I would hike to one of the five villages and spend the day enjoying the local cuisine, exploring the narrow, twisting streets, and occasionally checking out a picturesque cemetery perched high above the town.
In the evenings we’d return to Vernazza, our “home base” town, roll up our pant legs, and beach-comb in the Mediterranean. I must say that while I very much enjoyed this activity it became something of an obsession for Candie. You see the beach was ripe with beach glass and Candie, who designs fabulous jewelry, wanted to incorporate some pieces into her latest work. So comb we did. One evening the sea offered up goodies beyond beach glass—some kind of sea kelp that had dried, leaving a lacy, fibrous skeleton.
A year later I made this belt buckle to commemorate my trip to the Five Lands. The background behind the kelp is cut from a lovely art postcard presented to me my a little old Italian gentleman who owned a tiny shop in Venice.