This oyster shell jewelry is designed by now Mainer, Tenley. Tenley is a jewelry designer and creator and uses lobster shells from local lobstermen in her community as the focus for her jewelry. Born in Southern California, she was first inspired to create jewelry upon discovering the natural beauty found in abalone shells. From there she delved into working with pearls and semi-precious gemstones. Tenley spent her summers in Maine and moved here permanently in 2005. Tenley earned her BA from Kenyon College in a collaborative major combining the disciplines of biology, economics and political science. Research for her thesis brought her back to the Maine coast, examining the lobster industry from three perspectives: that of the lobstermen, the natural habitat/biological influences and the overall government regulations on the lobster industry. Her interest in shells, nature-created beauty and lobster fishing in Maine synthesized into Lobster Designs.
While knee-deep in odoriferous bait, working as a stern-woman aboard her husband’s lobster boat, Tenley tried to envision a way to capture the “romance” of the fishing process. The result: recycling lobster shells to create a beautiful piece of jewelry that celebrates the tradition behind this demanding industry. She has expanded her vision to include mussel and oyster shells harvested from the mid-coast of Maine.
Tenley is a mostly self-taught jeweler. She apprenticed briefly while living in Philadelphia, learning the art of PMC, Precious Metal Clay. Much of Tenley’s early work in beaded jewelry has been sold in and around Philadelphia including venues ranging from the Rittenhouse Hotel to local craft galleries in New Hope, Pennsylvania. While Tenley’s focus is dedicated to Lobster Designs, her past creative work has encompassed floral design at two of our country’s top event companies as well as studying and
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