This Friday, we’ve chosen 22-year-old small business owner and artist Millie Storey from Workington, Cumbria as our latest #CreatoroftheWeek.
Her sea glass pieces are the perfect gift for any and every occasion, (seriously, go check out her Etsy, Christmas will be here before we all know it!)
We had the chance to catch up with Millie recently, to talk more about sea glass, her inspiration, and what her business has done for her life overall...
What first inspired you to set up Moosmagicalfinds?
What first inspired me was my mental health. I know it's strange, but I struggle really bad on a day-to-day basis, and I love walking along the shore to clear my head.
I noticed when I was walking along the shore, there was loads of sea glass, so I thought, ‘I’m gonna start collecting this’ and then it came to the point where I had jars and jars and jars of it.
So, I thought, ‘I'm gonna make some jewellery’ and I’ve found that it has been a really positive distraction because it keeps me, my mind and hands busy.
Do you ever find that looking for sea glass has a mindfulness effect on you?
Yeah definitely. All the colours are just so nice to look at and you can find loads of rare pieces.
Because it’s all so bright, it makes you feel happy. There's also a sense of achievement in it because you find pieces yourself and you make something out of that.
It’s also nice when I wrap things because my mind just runs free and it’s just me in the moment doing it.
Do you find all your sea glass locally in Cumbria and do you have a favourite place to go to find the sea glass?
Yeah, so it's all on the West Coast, but my favourite place is Harrington because that is basically on my doorstep.
I also like going down there because there are loads of dogs. I’m obsessed with dogs; I’ve been getting all the snuggles!
Do you have a favourite colour of sea glass?
Yeah! I think it’s called Cobalt Blue, but it's a deep blue colour and it is the rarest piece to ever find.
So, whenever I find that obviously, you can imagine, I’m jumping to the high heavens, it’s absolutely awesome because it's so rare.
It’s also impossible to find another piece of it that looks the same to make something out of it, so I’ve barely got any pieces of it.
It’s difficult because I want to make a necklace out of a big piece that I found, but I can’t, because I don’t want to give it up until I find another piece, so I’ve kept this one piece for myself because it’s such an achievement to find it.
Do other pieces of sea glass have names? Do you know much about where they come from?
Cobalt Blue is either from medicine or poison bottles. There’s a brown piece that’s near enough black called Pirate Glass too. There’s loads of history in it! There’s also Olive, Seafoam, Kelly Green, Aqua- there are loads!
Tell us about your creative process and about how you design and create your pieces
The behind-the-scenes part is very, very busy! I get all the pieces that I want prepared and align them on my table and I’m like, okay, so, I’m gonna do this one and then this one. Luckily my boyfriend helps me drill, because I had a go drilling through the sea glass and oh my god, I nearly lost a finger!
My boyfriend sits with me for hours and hours doing it and I appreciate it because if it wasn’t for him then I wouldn’t be able to make all these gorgeous pieces.
It’s such a challenge doing it because I’ve got so much sea glass and I’ve got to ratch through it all to find the right pieces!
Keyrings were my main thing when I first started. I didn’t have a drill or anything, so I literally bought wire off the internet and started wrapping the sea glass pieces.
I was showing my mam and she said ‘Oh they’re nice! Where did you get them from?’ I told her I’d created them and she was dead shocked because obviously it was random when I started it and she said ‘You know what, you could actually sell them.’
So, I uploaded a couple onto Etsy and that went down really well, and I thought, ‘I’m going to start up an Instagram’ and then it turned into this business just out of the blue.
Did you study art at school at all?
I’ve been creative since I was little.
I did art in school but after that I just focused on my music. But I didn’t think I'd end up doing this, I watched loads of YouTube videos on people with small businesses making their own stuff and I thought, oh my god, that could be me one day and now here I am doing it.
It’s just crazy because I didn’t think I would ever be able to do something like this.
What inspires and influences you and your creations?
My family has always been my biggest inspiration and I love to hear their thoughts and opinions on everything. They’ve been the biggest supporters ever throughout all of this so far, so they give me their ideas.
I also like to ask my friends what ideas they think I should do, but my family are just the best, I can’t say anyone else is my influence over my family.
Everyone around me is really creative. My mum, my nana and auntie are all creative and my friend too, they’re creative in the music sense, because she sings and plays guitar like me.
I like to just surround myself with creativity because it's just such a nice and positive place to be.
"I didn’t think I'd end up doing this, I watched loads of YouTube videos on people with small businesses making their own stuff and I thought, oh my god, that could be me one day and now here I am doing it."
Would you say sea glass has had a massive effect on your life overall?
I think so. I was dead nervous when I first started up.
But the support that I've had so far- people love it. Even if it’s just a few likes here and there and even if I just get one like, it’s still a massive thing.
Starting this business was huge for me. I was so nervous, I was crying all the time because I just thought, what if people don’t like it and I don’t know what to do?
I did my first (Traders Day) stall in August, and I met so many new people there.
Meeting other people that do similar things, other artists, or any creative person is just the best because we're all so different, but the same at the same time. It’s just nice to meet new people.
Do you think it’s important for people to support small businesses?
Definitely. Being a small business is so difficult because you’re by yourself, I feel like there’s a lot of pressure.
My sister and my mam share my page constantly and that really helps me out. Just having that support is the best thing ever.
What future plans and goals do you have for Moosmagicalfinds?
Hopefully, one day to get my own shop or work alongside someone in their shop and sell there.
But I don’t really think about it too much, I like to live as the days go by.
Being at home and doing this is the best thing ever because I'm surrounded by all the things that I love and it's just a nice environment to be in. It’s just calm all the time.
I’ve also got something exciting coming up for Christmas, which I can’t wait to share with everyone!
Make sure you go give Millie a follow here to keep up with her work and check out her latest Christmas announcement.