Some people look at beach glass and simply see a colorful shape, but Ree Martin of Scituate, Massachusetts, sees infinite creative design possibilities. She launched her company, Beach Creations, in 2011, eventually leaving behind a career as a videographer.
At least twice each week, Ree uses her kayak to explore beaches around Boston Harbor that are known as great hunting grounds for beach glass and shells. “I find the search process very relaxing,” she says. Most of the scallop shells she uses in her work are from beaches in West Falmouth. Some of the starfish are from Cohasset while she finds beach glass in locations throughout New England.
Ree mixes the shells, glass and other natural objects, placing them in old barnboard frames. Rather than glue the objects into a design, she fuses them together using a unique process.
Her designs always begin with the frame. Her larger designs usually are set into vintage windows that have been donated or collected at demolition sites, while the smaller frames are created by her husband Dave using old barn boards. She always prefers to use recycled materials.
Ree and Dave built a studio behind their home. Ree finds that workspace convenient but she still creates a lot of her projects outside. Working at home means that during breaks she can play with her two energetic golden retrievers.
She’s surrounded by nature, so where does she find the most inspiration? “Because I spend so much time at the beach, I get inspired by the ocean. A lot of my art has wave patterns. It’s what you see when the tide goes out. What’s left behind in the sand is a beautiful design.”
Ree began her business by creating small framed pieces. Her work has evolved to include a panel for a client’s front door as well as shower doors, kitchen cabinet panels and other large projects.
Some artists and craftspeople can find it difficult to part with special creations. For Ree that project was a hutch that featured beach glass in the door panels. She loved it so much she decided to keep it rather than sell it, and she rearranged her living room to make it the centerpiece.
Ree’s Beach Creations shop on Etsy.com features smaller projects that can be shipped to buyers. Her work also is sold at Roots in Provincetown, Crooked Fence in Chatham, Details in Dennis, Pairpoint in Mashpee Commons, So Ho in Hyannis, Windermere in Plymouth, Joye in Scituate on Boston’s South Shore, and at seven other retail shops in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
(Photographs: Ree Martin)