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Turning broken glass into artwork, thanks to the sea
Beachcombing on a beautiful island off the coast of Thailand was deeply inspiring for jewellery designer Becky Morgans.
At the time, the mother-of-one’s home was a beach hut, with a workbench and simple living quarters.
She spent hours combing the beach for shells and sea glass to set in silver and create beautiful rings and bracelets.
She explained: “Sea glass comes from broken bottles that have been swept out to sea and have had the ocean polishing it for months.”
She sold finished pieces to tourists and locals.
Ms Morgans, 39, returned to England five years ago with her son, Andaman, now eight, and now lives near Cowley Road.
Her passion for making jewellery started in 2000 while travelling through Nepal.
Local silversmiths showed her how to fashion rings from silver in the traditional way.
“You hammer the silver into the shape you want,” she explained.
“We used a tin can with paraffin, and would make a flame to heat the silver, so it was really back to basics.”
Back in the UK and living on a canal boat near Woodstock, she hammered her silver jewellery on the towpath.
A fascinated passer-by introduced her to a North Oxford jeweller, who took her on as an apprentice.
Ms Morgans’ schooldays were spent at Burford primary and secondary schools, before training to be a beauty therapist at what is now Oxford and Cherwell Valley College, in Oxford.
Aged 19 she and a boyfriend bought an old horsebox which they converted into a mobile home.
Interested in wellbeing, learning massage and reiki, she was working at Eau de Vie, in Cowley Road.
She was set to travel around Europe in the horsebox when she was knocked down by a car and left with a serious compound fracture.
With their travel plans on hold, Ms Morgans and her boyfriend lived in the horsebox for two years in Oxford.
She said: “We parked in Aristotle Lane, then Port Meadow.
“On our own, people were really nice to us. They were fascinated with the box, because it was beautiful inside.”
In 1995 her leg had healed enough to travel but the adventure was cut short after four weeks when shebroke it again.
For a while Ms Morgans lived on the canal boat and worked as a support worker for adults with learning disabilities. She followed her dream of travelling to Australia, New Zealand, India and Asia.
“I would just work, work, work and save, save, save, then rent out my boat so I could go travelling.” Now settled in her Oxford home and workshop, she sells her work through the Julia Beusch Gallery in Woodstock, at exhibitions and market stalls. Her signature style is still sea glass.
“I source from County Durham, where there was once a huge glass factory,” she said.
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