When artist Tricia Heed scours beaches, she leaves no stone unturned.
That’s because rocks are like snowflakes: no two are the same, and every one has potential to be incorporated into her latest jewelry design.
Heed, of Keene, hadn’t planned to create her own jewelry line. A retired teacher, she had always enjoyed handcrafts, including sewing and knitting, as a hobby. It wasn’t until she went on a trip to Italy to visit the area her family comes from that she found the artistic inspiration that would become her business, Tricia’s Treasures, which she founded about a year and a half ago.
She was on a beach in the town of Sorrento and saw some children collecting sea glass and pottery shards that had washed ashore. She soon joined in the fun and before she knew it, she’d amassed a large amount of the weathered glass and pottery as well as rocks. While she wasn’t able to take most of it home with her because she couldn’t take it on the plane, she did take a small bag, some of which she still has sitting in her home studio.
A friend thought of making jewelry out of the glass and pottery, and Heed’s son suggested the idea of using a drill press to make holes in it. At the same time, Heed, a long-time lover of rocks and minerals, had collected stones from her beach trips to Maine and from the banks of the Connecticut River.
According to Heed, one beach in Kennebunkport, Maine, called Fortune’s Rocks, is where the tide drops stones into the sand for easy harvesting. Most of those stones are black, but the large collection from which she creates one-of-a-kind necklaces are of just about every color (as well as size and pattern) imaginable.
Sea glass is harder to find in the U.S., she explained, because of recycling practices over the years and the increased use of plastics. In Europe, a lot of the sea glass and pottery that turns up on the beaches is hundreds of years old. Still, Heed has created some pieces with the sea glass and pottery shards she found there and incorporates stones.
She also adds charms, trinkets and beads she purchases and takes from her own jewelry and hangs each creation from an adjustable leather cord. Some she wraps with wire. She has made custom pieces, including for those who have given her rocks for her collection. She’s worked with brown stones from Glacier National Park and others from the White Mountains of New Hampshire.
Her creations are for sale at some locations in Keene, including at Hannah Grimes Marketplace, and on her Etsy page where shoppers gain a sense of how unique her pieces are. “One-of-a-Kind Cairn Necklace to remind you of a balanced lifestyle or a personal path marker,” reads one description; another necklace for sale is described as being made from “a white sea glass shard sandwiched between two Maine beach stones.” Every piece tells its own story.
Heed is a life-long athlete, having competed in paddle sports, and she is also a cyclist who teaches a spin class at Option 1 Fitness (in Keene) and at the Keene Family YMCA. Her many friends who are also athletes served as inspiration for her second line of jewelry that is sports themed. The necklaces, featuring running, cycling, paddle sports and yoga motifs, are also sold at local businesses (Ted’s Shoe and Sport in downtown Keene carries her running-themed jewelry).
Other than the reward of creating one-of-a-kind pieces other people will wear or give as gifts, Heed said rock harvesting with her husband, Peter, who is also an athlete, has been her favorite activity since the pandemic arrived. She especially enjoys searching for heart-shaped stones, which she said she’s done for years.
The couple also searches for beach glass, mainly in Gloucester, Mass.
“I have him obsessed in collecting beach glass and rocks,” she said of her husband. “Sometimes I have to say, ‘We need to go now.’ But it’s a fun thing we do other than sports. We pick rocks together.”
Visit Heed’s Etsy page, TriciasTreasuresNH, for examples of her work (also for purchase) and to contact her for more information.