From handmade jewelry made of polished sea glass to kaleidoscopes displaying sea shells, the Santa Cruz Sea Glass and Ocean Art Festival featured a variety of artists and their ocean-inspired work.
Krista Hammond, a Santa Cruz local, found a rare piece of sea glass on one of her daily walks on the beach with her husband. She later incorporated that sea glass into her custom made wedding ring. Since then, she has developed a passion for silversmithing, which sparked her business venture into sea glass jewelry.
Two years after her business Santa Cruz Sea Glass took off, Hammond became the creator as well as the sole producer and promoter of the Santa Cruz Sea Glass and Ocean Art Festival.
“It was my vision to make a festival that encompasses my three passions,” Hammond said. “Which are sea glass, art and ocean conservation.”
This year, the event was held at the Coconut Grove Ballroom, a spacious area with large windows facing the same ocean waves that local artists use for inspiration.
The festival featured nearly 40 artists selling jars of sea glass, professional photographs of sunsets at the beach, hemp clothing, postcards and more.
The event not only displayed sea glass and ocean art but also included raffles on both days, with prizes including over $1,000 in cash and a guitar signed by American singer‑songwriter Taylor Swift.
Last year, around 2,800 people attended the event and the proceeds were donated to the Seymour Science Center, last year’s venue. The donations were in the thousands, Hammond said.
This year, the Monterey Bay Sanctuary will receive 10 percent of the $5 admission fee proceeds.
Hammond’s passion for conservation is also reflected in her use of recycled U.S. silver.
“That was kind of my great vision,” Hammond said. “I really wanted to make sure people knew that by supporting the festival they were also supporting local ocean conservation. The attendees are able to check out handcrafted ocean art while benefiting our local marine environment.”
Karen Sommers, one of the festival’s featured artists, attended for her third consecutive year. After discovering her daughter Jessyka’s newest hobby of crafting with items found by the sea, Sommers also became interested.
After retiring, she made a career of her new passion and visits the beach at least four times a week to collect seashells and sea glass. Instead of using her ocean finds for jewelry, Sommers specializes in custom home decor, such as mirrors.
“All my pieces include sea glass and sea shells from all over the world,” Sommers said. “Each of them are unique.”
Some attendees, like Lou Heine, have attended the Sea Glass and Ocean Art Festival since it began five years ago. Being an avid sea glass collector herself, she uses this as an opportunity to add to her collection.
“I come to this event every year because I get to meet people from all over who have the same passion in sea glass,” Heine said. “I would recommend this event to anyone.”