The North Shore

Trips up north are one of my favorite things.

Around my birthday for the last few years, we’ve been taking long weekends up north on Lake Superior. We spend time tasting local beers and staring out into the vastness of the lake. We even took a winter trip up to try some snowmobiling and snowshoeing despite the harsh weather. That was one of my favorite winter travels to date. Trips to the North Shore of Lake Superior became one of our first traditions.

The North Shore of Lake Superior
The shore near Grand Marais, MN

I design jewelry around places and our connection to them. I love finding the ties and turning a logical map into an emotional tether. When it came time for wedding plans I had already picked out a couple of areas for custom pieces just for us.

Often when people think of custom wedding jewelry they picture extravagant diamond studded or pearly pieces. While a little sparkle is nice, I knew what I wanted to do was take my map making to the next level. With locations in mind, I set to work on a set of cufflinks based on Grand Marais for him and a unique hairpin of the North Shore for me. We had already planned on Mokume wedding bands (which turned out to be an even better choice than I had dreamed), and I had already made a simple ruby engagement ring for myself and our short engagement.

North Shore Layers
North Shore hair clip layers, freshly cut and ready for fusing.

My husband is not a jewelry person. He doesn’t have a collection of rings or tie clips and I’m pretty sure he didn’t even own a pair of cufflinks before our wedding. It was an extra special treat for me to make him something customized and of a place we both love! I did a lot of tracing of the North Shore of Superior to get the designs just right. My hairpin also turned out to be a bigger challenge than I had expected. It was definitely in a different shape than a lot of the work I had made thus far. I fiddled with clip mechanisms and the long shape until it started to make sense.

The last time we took a trip to the North Shore was on my birthday weekend again, last summer. It turned into the unofficial weekend of our engagement.  As we hiked up the trail to Devil’s Kettle, he pulled out the little ruby ring I had made and put it on my hand. 

Custom Hand Fabricated Ruby Ring
Custom Hand Fabricated Ring with Lab Ruby

We have already planned another trip to Grand Marais and I can’t wait to hear the waves crashing on the shoreline again. I can’t wait to drive along the lake for miles and miles towards Canada, feeling like we never have to go back to the daily grind. I can’t wait to breathe the fresh air again and admire the eternal beauty of nature that Lake Superior is.

The North Shore is where I feel most at peace. It is just one of the many layers of my life that I’ve come to love.