A Pacific Northwest native, Mary Beth has grown up along and extensively traveled the North American continent's west coast and more. She has spent a lifetime along the shore, living, working, studying and recreating on beaches all over the world.
MB founded the West Coast Sea Glass company in 1998. However she has studied jewelry design, metal smithing and had been creating wearable art for over forty years. "The unique beauty of sea glass is that each piece is distinct from the next and has been on a one-of-a-kind journey. I believe the piece of sea glass usually dictates the form of jewelry that it will eventually find itself in and I am committed to moving the West Coast Sea Glass line into fresh, artistic directions", says MB.
MB's college education in Graphics Reproduction and Photography was a natural fit as she's been drawn to the visual arts and creating art with her hands. Prior to launching West Coast Sea Glass Mary Beth worked as a semi-professional photographer, owned her own dark room and also taught photo lab work at the college level. She has traveled much, using her camera as her window to the world, won two national photography competitions and now uses sea glass as a vibrant and colorful photo subject. At right: Oregon Coast, Ecola State Park, Image credit: Bill Davis at BeachNeccessities.com
After years of collecting sea glass and studying it's conditioning, history and rarity, she learned that what she had was a treasure trove. Her connection to kindred beach comber spirits from around the world has enabled her to view and identify pieces from every continent and most coastal countries; many of which she's had the privilege to add to the WCSG collection. The company and art jewelry came together when she found herself in a very unique space; a jeweler who has, because of her location and love for the coast, put together a highly unique collection of sea glass.
West Coast Sea Glass was born and the team has discovered that they have an extensive, complete array of colors, rarities and gems. West Coast Sea Glass developed a color rarity chart, now referred to by collectors from all over the world. West Coast Sea Glass began utilizing their colorful collection and integrating it into the jewelry MB had been making for decades. The collection allows them the ability to, at times provide sea glass to other artists and collectors from around the globe. Mary Beth still chooses to hang onto the more exquisite pieces, keeping a private collection which is currently used in hundreds of designs and has been sold in over 50 stores worldwide. More about MB:
- Author: "The Ultimate Guide to Sea Glass" Finding, Collecting and Identifying the Ocean's Most Beautiful Stones.
- Lecturer "The Sea Glass Journey" - Coos Bay Historical Society/Museum
- Keynote Presenter: International Beachcomber's Conferences, Hawaii, Washington,
- Keynote Presenter: North American Sea Glass Festivals 2005-2014
- Moderator; International, online discussion group of advanced collectors who's purpose is "to identify individual pieces and collaborate to uphold and maintain the integrity, history & value of authentic sea glass."
- Member; Juried Northwest Art Alliance
- Judge: North American Sea Glass Festival's Shard of the Year Contests, 2006-2014
- Author: "Sea Glass Jewelry" book, 2014, Ulysses Press
- Co-presenter; "Smarties" Art business school and teacher of art business related courses.
- Winner; 2010, Startup Nation's Entrepreneur Award, Mom's in Business.
- President; North American Sea Glass Association '05-'10
- Travels & sells the West Coast Sea Glass jewelry line at many festivals, art shows and trunk shows.
- Member; Recycled Artists Going Green.
- Member; Jewelry Designer Showcase.
- Published: National Geographic, Smithsonian, New York Times, Seattle Times, Coastal Living, Ocean Homes...
- She considers photography an art form and takes her camera everywhere she goes.
- MB speaks often at women's conferences & retreats
- Here's what one sea glass enthusiast said about MB:
""To The Ends of The Earth" - Mary Beth Beuke's Lecture...For us, this was one of the highlights of the Sea Glass Festival. Mary Beth had a photographic collage of some of her sea glass hunting experiences. She showed pictures of a recent trip she made to the Big Island, Hawaii, and sea kayaking around San Francisco with The Travel Channel. And she also talked about how she gained a love for sea glass.
I remember her talking about the time when her girl was about three years old. She was putting her to bed for a nap and her little girl pulls out a yellow trade bead to show her. Mary Beth asked her where on earth she found that and the little girl said right out in front of where they live on the beach. Mary Beth had a picture of it. It was gorgeous.
She also had a photo of a red die. What was amazing (to me since I have never found one) is that while Mary Beth was showing the slide, the gal in front of us holds up a green die to show Mary Beth. Mary Beth found hers on the West Coast and this gal found hers on the East Coast. And as always, her photos were beautiful.
One of these days, maybe I'll be in the right place at the right time to be able to find a trade bead or some dice to show at a sea glass festival. I'll keep hoping and looking."