AMY’S GLASS HOUSE

Byline: Jennifer Owens

Amy Marx has collected a ton of sea glass — literally.
Found on a Connecticut beach and carted back to Washington, piece by piece, in plastic shopping bags, the glass is now an essential element of Marx’s jewelry, which she has been creating for herself and other producers since 1986.
“It’s insane,” Marx admitted, but not quite as insane as her onetime goal of matching each piece to its mate. “I would look for pieces that paired up. And I would keep all the pairs on trays. It was like a puzzle. But after a while, I realized that nobody believed me.”
Now Marx, who uses a band saw and glass grinder to turn found glass into fish shapes and pendants, said she looks primarily for color, especially the colors currently popular, light blue and pale green.
After a decade of creating huge, dangling earrings and carved animal pins in New York, Marx said the Washington look is much more simple.
“I’ve reoriented the line a lot for this area,” she said. “I basically took these components [of earlier, larger designs] apart to try and break them down.”
Last year, her volume reached $35,000, and she’s aiming for $50,000 this year.
The profits pay for Marx’s burgeoning second career as a painter. Marx, whose past jewelry has been featured on “Oprah,” as well as at Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue, now sells her pieces for about $15 to $30 at Washington’s weekly outdoor market. She has created Web pages for her jewelry, hoping that sales there will one day overtake her in-person business, which also includes some on-the-spot designing.
“The outdoors is fun, but it’s got some dangers,” she said. “And it’s tiring. It’s physically demanding, but you’re not getting any exercise.”

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