DIY: How to Turn Flotsam and Jetsam into Wall Art by

Issue 86 · To the Beach · August 22, 2013

DIY: How to Turn Flotsam and Jetsam into Wall Art

Issue 86 · To the Beach · August 22, 2013

We've all been there. Enticed by the natural beauty of pebbles, shells, and other treasures tumbled by the sea, we spend our beach vacations collecting and gathering to our hearts' content. Then we get home. Now what do with all that flotsam and jetsam?

Artist and photographer Jennifer Steen Booher of Quercus Design has a bright idea. An avid beach comber herself, the year-round Bar Harbor resident has spent years turning her foraging expedition finds into timeless images. This summer, on a misty morning in Maine, my family and I were fortunate enough to meet up with Jenn at Hull's Cove, one of her favorite beach combing haunts, to learn how to make our own vacation portraits.

A find, Beach Finds Into Art, by J. Hand for Gardenista

Above: Score! Oliver makes the find of the day, a chunk of beautifully worn cobalt glass the size of the half dollar.

finds, Beach Finds Into Art, by J. Hand for Gardenista

Above: Solvi displays some of her treasures.

Solvi and Jenn, Beach Finds Into Art, by J. Hand for Gardenista

Above: Artist Jennifer Steen Booher admires Solvi's discoveries.

old pennies, beach combing by J Hand for Gardenista

Above: Old pennies tell a story of their own.

beachcombers Beach Finds Into Art, by J. Hand for Gardenista

Above: A congress of fellow beach combers on a misty morning at Hulls Cove on Mount Desert Island.

our finds, Beach Finds Into Art, by J. Hand for Gardenista

Above: Back home, we get to relive our vacation all over again as we survey our finds.

brown and green, Beach Finds Into Art, by J. Hand for Gardenista

Above: A composition in brown, and another in green. Arranging our finds on a light background, I photographed them using a tripod. Jenn uses a professional light board for her vivid images. I over exposed mine a bit to create the dramatic, stark background. A little color boost in the edit brings out the brilliance of the glass.

blue Beach Finds Into Art, by J. Hand for Gardenista

Above: A composition in blue is a year-round reminder of our vacation. The final photos can be simply taped to the refrigerator or inspiration wall, or professionally printed and arranged into a grouping of larger portraits. They can even be made into notecards to send to others.

Beach Combing in grey by J. Hand for Gardenista

Above: A rich combination of natural and human history: our finds ran the gamut from glass to coins, shells to stones. 

shell Beach Finds Into Art, by J. Hand for Gardenista

Above: Experimenting with different angles and apertures.

beach glass portrait by J.Hand for Gardenista

Above: Because it was the brighest spot in my home, I shot my images on the painted window sill in my kitchen. But you could experiment with different textures and backgrounds. A flat piece of driftwood would also be nice.

yellow green glass, beach combing art by  J Hand for Gardenista

Above: A minimal portrait in yellow and green.

Jennifer Steen Booher, Beach Combing Series 47, Gardenista

Above: A consummate beach comber, Jenn's professional images feature a rich variety of Maine finds. A 12-by-12-inch image of Beaching Combing Series No. 47 is available via her Etsy site; $40.

Jennifer Steen Booher Beach Combing Series No 35, Gardenista

Above: Beaching Combing Series, No. 35 by Jennifer Steen Booher. Jenn is also happy to make a custom portrait for you. Just send her your finds and she'll create a professionally photographed composition. For more information on available sizes and pricing, contact Jenn via her website.

Jennifer Steen Booher, Beach Combing Series 17, Gardenista

Above: Beaching Combing Series, No. 17.

N.B.: Join Jenn at another inspiring Bar Harbor spot at Winter Wonderland Hike.



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