may FEATURED artist
Whimsical Beach Art
by Lara Bricker
Cindy Sorenson has always been artistic, but it was her passion for sea glass that brought her art to those around her. After buying a beach house in Rye in 2010, Cindy and her husband, Mark, began collecting sea glass on their walks along local beaches.
“Some days we would come home with multiple plastic bags full of glass. White, brown, green, and the occasional blue - all different, all beautiful,” she said.
When she saw a piece of art made with sea glass, Cindy was inspired to try her hand at making her own pieces. She did, and with that, Sea Lou Designs was born.
In the years since, she has become known for creating whimsically framed pieces from unaltered sea glass and other natural items discovered on local beaches.
“All my life I’ve been an aspiring artist who never had time to take formal classes,” she said.
Sometimes she uses her own pieces of glass, and other times, she does custom jobs that incorporate sea glass found by clients.
“The art of making sea glass is the art of perfecting how to piece it together,” she said, adding using the right glue is a key part of the process.
Her first commissions were for friends and local realtors, who gave the custom artwork to people who bought beach houses. From there, several local stores started carrying her art. All along, she was learning as much as she could about the medium of sea glass art, and her own creative process. There are times she picks up a piece and knows immediately what it will transform into in a piece of art. Triangle shaped glass often becomes sailboats.
“One time I picked up a piece and it looked just like New Hampshire,” she said, adding, "After a walk collecting glass, I separate the glass into colors and into sizes. It took me a long time to figure out that was the best process.”
The most heartwarming projects are those where people sent her their own glass with a special request. She recalls creating a piece for a woman who lived on the ocean her whole life, before moving to a nursing home. Even as her dementia progressed, the woman would mention the beach when she looked at Cindy’s sea glass art piece next to her bed.
Cindy donates 100 percent of her profits to charities, and also creates pieces to be auctioned off for charity.
Creativity runs in the family. Her daughter Jen Sorenson, also of Rye, is a modern quilter, soap maker and lover of all crafts who has won national awards for her quilt designs. Daughter Katie is a teacher who expresses her creativity through multimedia videos made from drone footage, and her husband Mark has just released his debut novel, “A Restaurant in Jaffa,” a cyber terror thriller.
Through it all, Cindy says she found her artistic calling. “I love working with sea glass. It’s a whimsical way to express myself and I have a lot of fun doing it.”
For information about Cindy’s art, visit www.sealoudesigns.com