NASGA's Board of Directors:
RICHARD LA MOTTE, PRESIDENT
Instrumental in the formation of the North American Sea Glass Association, Richard LaMotte has become well known to those in the sea glass community for his well received 2004 book Pure Sea Glass, which he published himself under Sea Glass Publishing. Richard grew up in southeastern Virginia and has made frequent trips to the Outer Banks of North Carolina for over four decades. He currently resides on Maryland's Eastern Shore where his wife, Nancy, started a sea glass jewelry business using shards from the nearby Chesapeake Bay. While researching glass history for a lecture in 2002, he began to pursue answers to questions posed by his wife's customers. This led to more extensive research into glass colors, as well as the physics and chemistry behind the glass forms found in a shoreline environment. Since 1984, Richard has worked for a water analysis company with products that rely heavily on detailed color matching and has written two consumer handbooks on water testing. Pure Sea Glass won an International Award for non-fiction. In their March 2006 issue, Writers' Digest announced it as a first place winner in their 13th Annual International Self-Publishing Book Competition.
VALERIE WESTON, VICE PRESIDENT
After my family and I moved to Florida in 2002 I became fascinated with collecting sea glass; the mysterious origins of sea glass just captivated my imagination. I quickly discerned that there was a huge difference between genuine sea glass and manufactured glass and began to educate myself on the origins of sea glass and ways to identify the real deal. I studied everything I could find, though information on sea glass was hard to come by at that time. In 2007 I created some sketches of pendants using some of the seaglass from my collection. I was always sketching things, but I couldn't get the pendants out of my head and decided I needed to do something about my ideas. I realized that I needed to know a lot more about metals fabrication. In 2008 I studied at the metals studios at the Art Center in St. Petersburg and the Gulf Coast Museum of Art in Largo, Florida until I was able to master the skills I needed to create my "vision" of a sea glass and sterling silver pendant. Despite 30 years of being a "craft addict," my husband Paul looked thoughtfully at my first eight sea glass pendants, the kiln, the torch I had set up in the corner of the garage, the tools and sheet silver steadily arriving via UPS, and began sketching out a studio which he built for me in 2008. We launched Suncoast Sea Glass to showcase the original jewelry I design and fabricate featuring genuine sea glass. The beautiful combination of sea glass, fine silver textures, freshwater pearls and sterling silver has generated a creative passion I have never experienced. When I went online to see what other artists were doing with sea glass I found NASGA and was thrilled to discover such a community existed! As a commercial member, I'm honored to serve on NASGA's Board of Directors and support its missions of genuine sea glass education and shoreline restoration.
STEPHANIE SWAIN, TREASURER
I currently live in Madison, Ohio, with my husband Barry. I fell in love with sea glass in 2007 after moving to our home on Lake Erie. Then, after collecting sea glass for years and upon retiring from my public school district Treasurer’s position I decided to start creating my sea glass art. After two years of researching techniques and products I found a product and process I was happy with and began creating and selling my mosaics, cards and small pictures. Presently, I work from home doing my art work and selling it at art festivals, online at Sea Glass Heart Art and to other’s stores. I became a member of the NASGA last year when I started my online store and festival participation. I am committed to the use of only genuine sea glass and the education of natural sea glass and the preservation of our shore lines. I am proud to be apart of the NASGA and the sea glass community and honored to serve as NASGA’s Treasurer as it moves forward.
ELLIE MERCIER, RECORDING SECRETARY
Ellie Mercier, the sole proprietor of Annapolis Sea Glass Studio, has been a commercial member of NASGA since 2008. In addition to participating as a vendor in NASGA festivals, the artist also delivered a presentation on shipwrecked treasures at the 2010 annual NASGA festival in Cape Cod. Mesmerized by the mysteries of the ocean from a young age, it isn't surprising that Ellie studied oceanography in college, while earning a B.A. in geography from George Washington University (1983). In 1996, Ellie returned to school, to earn a Masters of Arts degree, in Teaching, from Johns Hopkins University.
Ellie is grateful for having the opportunity to spend time exploring the cliffs and shores of the Chesapeake Bay, in Southern Maryland, where her family has a cabin by the water. During her time off from working as a developmental writing instructor at the Community College of Baltimore County, Ellie can be found combing the beach for remnants to use in her studio-- where she creates sea glass mirrors, mobiles and hair accessories. Ellie has participated in many events, and has established accounts at several galleries and maritime museum gift shops since participating in her first art show in 2006, as a vendor at the Chincoteauge Island Easter Decoy Festival. The artist also enjoys writing and has published articles on beach combing, as well as the characteristics of sea glass. She has two adult children, Hannah(18) and Ben (21), who have fond childhood memories of their own adventures along the Bay.
A lifelong beach combing and sea glass collector, Sue often turned her treasures into art, both wearable and not. She was educated in teaching and fine metals, and for a while, she was able to balance her full time teaching career with time to create and sell her sea glass jewelry. The decision to live aboard a small sailboat with her husband and toddler so they could sail down and up the east coast forced Sue to give up teaching but allowed her more time to devote to jewelry making and more coastline to devote to sea glass collecting, continuing to sell her jewelry to support her sea glass picking habit.
Many years later and firmly back on land in RI, Suegray Seaglass Jewelry continues to grow. It can be found on her website, in many shops, a catalog company, and at art festivals. She has been featured in several publications and received "best in show" for her "watercolors" sea glass tapestry. She continues to collect sea glass locally and travels with her family to hunt to sea glass as often as possible.
As a child, Lisa Hall spent her summers on the Cranberry Isles of Maine beach combing and creating with the sea glass that she found on the pebbly shores. After graduating Sarah Lawrence College, she studied fine jewelry techniques in Florence, Italy. When she returned home, she moved year round to the Cranberry Isles and began designing and making her line of jewelry using only the natural sea glass found on the local beaches. Her work is found all around the country as well as in her retail shop and studio, Lisa Hall Jewelry, in Northeast Harbor, Maine. She and her family now split their time between the Cranberry Isles and Mount Desert Island.
Jewelry designer, photographer, and award winning floral designer, Christeena is the owner of Sea Glass Jewels and Company. An avid sea glass collector since her youth at the Jersey Shore, Christeena now devotes her time and passion to finding unique an beautiful sea glass in the Greek Isles. Her newly released book, Sea Glass, A Photographic Journey, showcases her photos of some of rare and colorful beach finds. Christeena's jewelry designs are unique, one-of-a -kind pieces, handcrafted using her sea glass treasures with sterling silver. She and her husband spend their winters in the Florida Keys and summers in Greece where her husband is a sailing boat captain.
A multi-dimensional life long artist, Dianne McLaughlin has done everything from handmade baskets, feather trees and fish decoys to oil painting, watercolors and primitive spinning and rug hooking. She spent 16 years as owner/operator of a chain of antique and gift stores where she honed her business acumen. Dianne resides with her husband Frank in Pennsylvania. They have 2 lovely daughters and 3 wonderful grandchildren. They have a summer home on Chincoteague Bay on Maryland's Eastern shore. Dianne spent many hours there walking the remote beaches looking for arrowheads. Along the way, she found the sparkling bits of frosted, old, broken glass and picked them up too. Over the years her collection of sea glass grew to over 40,000 pieces. It eventually spawned the online business Spirit of the Sea Glass Jewelry. These days, Dianne and Frank spend part of each year taking cruises to find sea glass on exotic beaches in the Caribbean. Some of their best times are spent searching for special pieces and sharing their finds with other collectors and artisans at shows and festivals.
Rex Nockengust is a graduate of Baldwin Wallace University with a degree in musical theater. He spent many years living in New York City performing both on and off Broadway, and touring the US and Europe. In 1999, He felt the need for a major life change, and so he moved to Hawaii. It was there that his fascination with sea glass began. He would walk the beach for hours collecting these "gems." This passion led Rex and his partner, Gene Allen, to create their own jewelry line using the glass they were finding. Today Rex and Gene live in San Diego with their dog Hoku, and their line, Beach Glass BIngo is sold in over 80 shops and galleries throughout the US, and they participate in about 25 Art Festivals a year.