My designs

My designs

Saturday, 31 August 2013

The Challenge of Travel - Staycation Edition

Miss Erin of Tesori Trovati Jewelry (blog - click here) had sent out a challenge to make something to represent something in each person's locality. She encouraged us to visit or rediscover our own geographical areas through a visitor's eyes.

I chose the mighty St. Lawrence River. This river has been such a huge part of my country and my area of Eastern Ontario. Sorry for the long background section, but I really got inspired by thinking about how influencial this large river is for me. Thank you Miss Erin for making me think about something close to home, and something that I never really gave much thought to. Jewellery photos below, I promise.

BACKGROUND: Historically, the native Indian tribes travelled, and fished along it. The first Europeans had transported their furs along it to send out across the ocean to the markets back home. Early settlers all travelled along it, and settled on its shores. Forests and fertile soil were valuable. Towns and cities have grown up along its shores. Wood, grain and other goods have been transported along this broad, long river. It has been deepened in a channel to allow large vessels to travel its length.

My father's former village was part of a planned flooding when the dam was put in at Cornwall, Ontario, in the 1950's. Some houses and churches were moved to new towns. You can still see parts of roads leading into the water, or from a small boat, you can see remnants of bull-dozed buildings. My mom recalls her family driving out to see the rush of water on that opening day of the dam. It turned out to be anti-climatic, as it took many days to see the water rise. There is a museum of lost villages near Cornwall to commemorate villages that were dismantled.

Although I have never lived right along the shores, I have felt it shape my sense of direction when I have lived in the Eastern corner Ontario, near where it flows by. I always had a sense that south was down (to the river) with each other direction sprang away from it in its own way. In Quebec and Ontario, the TransCanada Highway runs parallel to the St. Lawrence in general, with some glimpses of it in certain places (east and west).

My family has been boating on it, swimming in it, travelling along side it. However, Miss Erin's challenge reminded me this summer of its beauty when my family camped right on its shores, in two different countries.

The St. Lawrence River has an international boundary down the middle of it (approximately) between the U.S. and Canada. In July, my family and I camped on the American side, and in August we camped on the Canadian shore. Both were large campsites, right on the river. Fishing right from the large rocks that were at our shore, and watching for the large cargo ships far on the other side it seemed,. Both campgrounds had a small beach. The water was so clear when we canoed along the shores we could see the seaweed growing up to the sun, and a few fish..The kids settled down in the middle, stretching to make their big paddles and their little 5yr old arms reach to make the strokes in the water, with their lifejackets on.

The large bridge across the wide river are something we cross often, although now you have to bring your passport to travel between the U.S. and Canada. It is still an event for my kids to be the first to see the big bridge, and to look out for boats when we are crossing it.

Try to picture sitting and looking at the water in early morning, on sunny days, with storms coming, and in the dusk. Ducks, geese, and cormorants all showing off their skills, and a curious little muskrat. Waves lulling us to sleep, or crashing, or quite calm at other times.

So if you travel along the St. Lawrence and into the Great Lakes regions, you could go about a long way across Canada's southern border. You can find cities, towns, trees, camping, and hiking. I welcome you to see what I created from my camping trip this summer.

Finally, here is the jewellery based on the St. Lawrence River.

This first one is called St. Lawrence River Shores.
I antiqued copper, and built it around Mary Harding's (click here) pine bough focal and her little ceramic bird bead. The bird represents the waterfowl and the land birds that entertained us. The trees were magestic at the campsite with maples, oaks, and everygreens of different kinds towering above our heads. The campfire is represented by the handmade boro glass bead by Susan of Jackson River Glass (here). I thought it could be the beach with the sand, but my twins both said it was the campfire colours for sure. The copper clasp, curved U-shaped bail, and stick (hammered to look like bark) were made by me. The beefy jumprings holding the 3 charms/focals are 10gauge copper from Unkamen Supplies (here).  The soft clinking sound it all makes is lovely.

Here is another view.
The copper bead resting on the focal is representing one of the many rocks. The spacers on the end of the chain were made by Pinocean (here), representing the sky and clouds.

This second necklace was made with the dusk in mind at the campsite on the shore. I loved that time of day: making a last snack, looking out at the water, listening to the waves, ready to sit by the campfire with family and a cup of tea, the colours are nature in the dusk to dark of night.                  Dusk on the St. Lawrence

Focal  - by Nancy of Round Rabbit, here, with a lovely maple leaf on it in a muted green and dark blue;
Labradorite below each pearl; a small green turquoise bead; dyed freshwater pearls in a dark blue; navy waxed linen (7 strands) to link the focal and bead atop it to the copper flattened ring by Muphintops, here. Clasp by Corabella, here.
Disk bead atop focal - by Leah of Beads of Passion, here. Love the colours in it. See in this next photo.

That reminds me of the darkening of the trees, and the shadows growing, and the dark water.

Funny that it also reminds me that my son told us one night while camping, that he was nocturnal, so he didn't want a flashlight as we visited the facilities to wash up for the night. He implored us not to shine our lights near him as we all walked in the dark, as he claimed he could see in the dark. Those dark blue pearls make me smile as I remember that. Aren't kids too funny sometimes. Nocturnal... really. Thank goodness the fresh air and activity made sure he fell asleep easily, even though he was noctural that night.

Thanks for sticking with me in this long post. I just wanted to share my ideas about this important river, the St. Lawrence River, that runs in and out of my life at times.

Here are some photos from our camping site, so you can see my inspiration (in the last one you can see campfire flames - I think the kids were right about that campfire bead.)

Thanks for looking. Trying to link up to all participating through InLinkz. Not sure it will work.
Otherwise, use this link, treasures found blog.



  1. What a majestic river! And the jewelry it inspired you is simple and powerful. I see your photos in them!

  2. Very nice piece of jewelry! Looks like a great place to live too...

  3. Most of my life I lived in upstate New York, about an hour away from Canada. The scenery there and the atmosphere is much like that in Ontario........the stark beauty of a forest of trees lining a great lake or river and the gentle clicking of branches touching each other during a dark night...........your pieces remind me very much of home. Beautiful

  4. The St. Lawrence, a life-giving watercourse, is such an amazing place. Your photos and camping tales brought back memories, Andrea. Thanks for sharing your beautifully inspired jewellery, too!

  5. Thank you so much for sharing your river with us. The necklaces you made are such a fitting tribute.

  6. Wow - I love the background story you provided us. It sounds like a wonderful place to camp at! I love the two pieces you created and they both share those moments from your trip on the St. Lawrence River!

  7. What a beautiful river! Thank you for sharing how this river shaped your town and your own life. Your pieces are just lovely and represent the river life so well.

  8. Gorgeous photos you've taken, and I really enjoyed the story you told. Both necklaces are gorgeous too, really sumptuous colours!

  9. Dusk is my favorite time of day and you make it sound so magical viewed from a campsite on the shores of the St. Lawrence. Beautifully written, and I simply adore both of your necklaces. (One of the best things about blog hops is discovering new artists and blogs!)

  10. This is my first blog hop and. It's been so much fun. Reading about this river and seeing your necklace such a special part of it. I love the colours in that leaf too.

  11. Thank you all for your kind comments. It wasn't until the second camping trip that I realized that the river was what I needed to blog about. It was fun to find things in my stash to match my experiences when I got home. Andrea

  12. Those are both gorgeous, and with such a gorgeous inspiration, I'm not surprised. Thank you for the virtual tour.

  13. It's so pretty there and much different than my town on the other side of the country. You piece is wonderful! It really captures the area.

  14. What a wonderful place to live - I enjoyed reading your post and your design is a beautiful reflection of this.

  15. Thanks for taking us along for the ride, I really enjoyed it. Mmmmh, campfires, missing those ... The necklaces are both positively gorgeous, would love to steal them. Maybe then I can become nocturnal too. ;D

    1. If I could, I would grant you the gift of becoming nocturnal. Myself as well.

  16. Beautiful inspiration and two lovely pieces to remind you of your river. I'd love to visit the area to see it in person!

  17. Rivers truly are the bloodstream of civilizations and so vital for settlements. As a geography and history buff I really liked your notion of this. What would we do without these beautiful and useful roads of water communication?

    Your necklaces are so lovely! Both look great, but my fave is definitely the first one. Love that essence of forest it has (as someone who lives close to nature). Fab work!

  18. Greetings Miss Andrea! I love that you shared the historical significance of this river. I love that sort of research! And what a wonderful treat that you were able to experience both the US and Canadian sides of this mighty waterway! Your boys are lucky to have a momma like you who brings them up to appreciate the beautiful world they live in! I feel the quiet of the forest in your pieces, the hush of the trees. I love that story of being nocturnal. Too cute! Thank you for joining me on this staycation adventure! Enjoy the day. Erin

  19. Thank you Miss Erin for reminding me about something in my area that is still so vital, but that I rarely give much thought to at all. Great idea.

  20. By the way, the pictures may capture the peace and quiet of the area, but with two 5 year olds running around, there was very little sitting and relaxing. I know this time will pass, and I will miss my time constantly checking on them (biking, climbing on rocks on our shoreline, fishing) and drawing their attention to the wonders of a shoreline in bugs, animals and plants (plus the great big ships passing across the way). Plus I shouldn't be surprised that upon our return from the washroom, the other twin would have to go, just after I sat down. Figures!

  21. Andrea, your corner of the world looks magnificent! I love the simplicity of your pieces and they perfectly showcase what you've shared in your pictures. I almost feel like I should bring the chocolate, marshmallows & graham crackers for the s'mores! :)

  22. What is camping without the s'mores. Just pass me the chocolate - I'll skip the rest and get right to the good stuff.