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My dad, who is a geographer, collected rocks. I have many memories from childhood of the beautiful specimens he would bring home from his travels, or collect on our vacations. So when my husband and I took our kids camping for the first time here in Michigan, we picked a random state park that just happened to include a section of Lake Michigan shoreline covered in the most beautiful beach pebbles I had ever seen. And I fell instantly in love.

Granite in every conceivable color combination. Quartz, and basalt, and unakite, and septarian nodules (which I learned are called lightning stones). You wouldn't believe the colors and variety just lying around on the beaches here. And oh, the fossils! There are the most gorgeous chain corals, and honeycomb corals, and our beautiful state stone (which is actually a type of coral) - the Petoskey. It made perfect sense to me to gather these wonderful treasures into buckets and take them home with me to enjoy all year long. It wasn't until my husband pointed out that the number of rock-filled buckets was growing, and unless I found a use for all these rocks, he was going to start using them to fill holes in the driveway...

 

I started making maps out of rocks, as a nod to my father, and as a way to justify collecting them and hoarding them in buckets in the garage. These evolved into pictures as I found stones whose shapes suggested whales, or turtles, or flowers, or people caught in everyday activities - dancing, bracing against the wind, hugging. Suddenly every rock held a world of possibilities. (And suddenly I had a completely viable excuse to keep going back to the beach for more rocks!)

If you'd like a 'pebble people picture,' or a rock map, or some other personal moment of your life captured in a beach pebble story, let me know. Some of the beach pebble pictures in the gallery are available for sale, but if the one you've got your heart set on isn't available anymore, let me know. I'd love to create a unique version just for you. (After all, I need excuses to keep going back to the beach, after all...)