Meet The Maker : Gaynor Hebden-Smith – Handmade Jewellery

Gaynor creates contemporary jewellery in Fife, Scotland. Her gorgeous pieces are made from combining reclaimed sea glass, sterling silver, metals, beads and crystals. Each piece of Scottish Sea Glass jewellery is completely unique, as no two pieces of sea glass are ever the same.

Sea glass is also known as mermaid tears or sea jewels. Gaynor collects the glass on the beaches and shores of Scotland as well as rivers, lochs and lakes. All her pieces of Scottish Sea Glass jewellery use genuine and naturally tumbled glass. The power of the sea turns the glass Gaynor uses in her jewellery from what was once ‘sea litter’ into beautifully pieces of frosted, magically shaped ‘sea treasure’. Read on to find out more about this wonderful range.


1. Could you tell us a little bit about you, and how you came to start your business?

My name is Gaynor and I have been running my business, Scottish Sea Glass for over ten years now.  I originally started out in life working as an Occupational Therapist and loved using crafts as a therapeutic tool.  Following a break to bring up my children I made the decision to follow my heart and started working in the creative industries full time.  I’d always loved collecting the pieces of glass washed up on the shoreline since I was a child and decided to use my creative skills and my sea glass collection together, turning the discarded glass into wearable art.

2. How long have you been living in Fife? How does where you work inspire you?

I live in Dunfermline, Fife – close to the Firth of Forth.  I’ve lived here for 15 years. My husband is an open water swimmer and whilst he was in the sea, myself and the kids would be collecting the washed up treasures.  This is where the idea to start my business came from. I work in my little workshop at home and the view from the window, together with the sea glass itself inspired my work.

3. Where does your inspiration come from?

My inspirations for designs often comes directly from the sea glass itself.  The shapes are all so beautiful and unique and when it lays in a wee pile on the workshop floor, certain pieces laying together looks so perfect, the design ideas flow from here.  Also, I am asked to make some very inspirational bespoke pieces for customers, whilst working on them I can envisage new designs during this process.

4. When you are not creating, what do you do?

When I am not creating, I enjoy spending time with my husband and children, our two dogs (Monty and Pootle) and two cats (Ebb and Flo).  I also love practising meditation and yoga and run Mindfulness / Meditation classes in my local area every week. I do love a slob out with a good box set too!!

5. What’s your favourite current piece?

My favourite piece to make at the moment is the ‘Sea Love’ pendants.  Carving the hearts out of sea glass is so relaxing and I love smoothing the glass, after shaping it – working with the contours and finer details is the best ‘switch off’ ever.  Then at the end a beautiful little heart is ready for someone to wear. Also making these pieces means I can use glass which otherwise wouldn’t be jewellery ‘perfect’ – the glass used in this design often can be less pretty with cracks in it.  I can smooth away the cracks and this piece of glass which otherwise would have been considered worthless, eventually is perfect in it’s own right.

6. What is the most challenging aspect of your work?

Working for myself – there isn’t a guaranteed income.  If I don’t get orders – I don’t get paid. But thankfully this has never been a problem.  Also, meeting all the red tape required for running a business has been something I have learned over time and often found this challenging.

7. If you had one piece of advice to give other makers, what would it be?

Believe in yourself.  If you find your work beautiful – others will too.  That, and make sure you have a radio close by … personally my fingers don’t work unless the radio is on!!

8. Are there any particular artists or sculptors that inspire you?

I love Sarah Jane Brown’s work.  She uses driftwood, metals and other materials which folk might see as ‘nothing’ …..her vision and talent transforms them into such beautiful little sculptures.  I have a few of her pieces here at home.

9. Describe your work in 3 words!

Grateful, love, dream.

(I am grateful every day that  I get to work doing what I love and have a job I could only have dreamed of years ago!!)

10. Without giving away any state secrets, what’s next on your design agenda?

I am looked into combining sea glass with other materials to create more interesting and natural designs.

We’re certainly looking forward to more of Gaynor’s lovely work. To see our full collection of Scottish Sea Glass, click here.

… don’t forget to let us know what you think of Gaynor’s pieces by leaving a comment below. Stay tuned for future posts on more of our lovely artists!