By Claire Crean
Each year, the Cape Ann Artisans host their studio tours twice a year for art lovers in the North Shore area of Massachusetts. Being new to the area, I did not know what to expect but found it is a great way to see artists in their studios and homes and speak to them about their art. It also gave me a chance to drive around the quaint towns of Cape Ann, which includes Gloucester, Rockport, Essex and Manchester-by-the-Sea. It was easy to download the pdf map and follow signs to the studios.
In 2021, the tour dates are June 5-6 (which I attended) and October 9-10 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. There will also be a mini-tour planned for August 14 – details to come.
With 14 artists participating, it was hard to choose among the many wonderful art exhibits displayed this weekend in the Gloucester and Rockport area. It was fascinating to visit personal workshops and art studios and get a first-hand look at the creative process. One stop in particular introduced me to a new unique form of art.
Sea glass. Can you believe it? I did not know something as simple as material that washes up from the sea can be made into something as magnificent as jewelry, barrettes, and hair clips. At the very first stop at Sea Glass Wearable Art in Gloucester (www.capeanndesigns.com), I spoke to the owner, a fascinating woman named Jacqueline Ganim-DeFalco. She has been collecting sea glass and crafting her products for many years.
She explained, “I started about 25 years ago… Where I used to live—on the other side of town—there was a wonderful cove that I used to be able to go to every single morning at low tide or the afternoon. I would catch two tides a day and, literally, every time I came back with a yogurt container full of glass… I did not collect for very long when I realized I really have to do something with this.” It was her mission to make these items worthwhile, something everyone could appreciate and desire as much as she did.
Noting that we both have long hair, she mentioned one of her first applications of her sea glass art was on hairpieces. She could not find quality clips unless it was somewhere as far away as Europe, so she made her own Hair jewelry was where she started, she then moved on to brooches, earrings and more.
Her work is beautiful, inspiring, and impressive. I could feel the passion in her voice and notice the love she has for her career. The home that she owns nearby the ocean in Gloucester was created by her and her husband. They both have a specific artistic taste for their designs, their work is unique, nothing like I have seen before.
Entering the workshop was like entering the artist’s mind—warmly comforting, colorful, and bright. With her minimalistic nature, it was clear she cherishes the simple things in life and the sea glass is a perfect example. She takes an object that would be wasted by most and creates something of value and beauty for people to wear.
I was very grateful I stumbled upon this studio during the Cape Ann Artisans tour. I highly recommend visiting the next event for it is an unforgettable experience. Contact Jacqueline, the artisan and collector of sea glass, to learn more about her wonderful collection.
Jacqueline Ganim-DeFalco | Sea Glass Wearable Art 44 Thurston Pt. Road, Gloucester | 978.283.8333