By Christine Sansbury
In a partnership between themselves and the forces of nature, Amy and Drew Burchenal take special treasures from the sea and transform them into beautiful pieces of jewelry.
After meeting in college, Amy and Drew moved to New York and worked on their professional careers. They created the House of Z as a creative safe space for their artistic pursuits, Drew in music and creative writing and Amy as a photographer and artist. Along the way they developed a passion for sea glass.
At the time Amy sold her art at an outdoor market in New York on weekends. One day it occurred to her that she should make something from their sea glass collection. A small table in her booth slowly began to take over and jewelry making became her primary creative outlet. Drew jumped in and they learned silversmithing and jewelry-making techniques.
After living though September 11th in New York, the couple began questioning the demands of their professional lives and decided they needed a change. When a small space on St. George Street in the historic section of downtown St. Augustine came available, they took it as a sign to return to Florida to be closer to their families.
The House of Z became The House of Z Sea Glass shop and is an ongoing collaboration that combines their love of travel, beach combing, and art.
They still love to explore the Florida shorelines for sea glass, the more elusive the beach the better.
WHY DO YOU THINK FLORIDA IS FAB?
The amazing beaches and lush hammocks. The abundance of wonderful state parks. The incredible variety of fresh seafood. The burgeoning food scene concentrating on farm to table cuisine. The laid back vibe of living in a small beach town.
FAVORITE FLORIDA SPOT
St. Augustine Amphitheater – Where else can you listen to world-class musicians in an intimate setting nestled under the arms of live oaks?
The St. Augustine Alligator Farm – It may seem kitschy, but the rookery here supports one of the most diverse colonies of migrating birds you’ll ever see. In the winter the bird population soars and you can spend a whole day watching them perch, feed and carouse above the swamp. Oh and there are alligators, LOTS of alligators!
Marineland Beach – We always send visitors here. It is one of the most interesting beaches in Florida, where coquina rock formations create tidal pools and dramatic ocean plumes.
Fort Matanzas – A tiny fort on Rattlesnake Island in the middle of the Matanzas River. It’s like the little brother of the Castillo De San Marco.
FAVORITE FLORIDA PRODUCTS
Kyle’s Seafood – This is the type of old Florida seafood shop that is disappearing. Family run, selling seafood fresh off the docks caught by local fishermen. Can’t get it any fresher than that.
No Ad Sunscreen – A family favorite for decades!
Hyppo Gourmet Ice Pops – Blackberry Clove, Strawberry + Datil Pepper, Hibiscus Mint, you can’t go wrong
Cee Bee’s Citrus Blueberry Jam – Made with locally grown Florida blueberries!
St. Augustine Musicians – OK, maybe not a product, but homegrown talent nonetheless. Check out the Local Honey Documentary featuring Sam Pacetti, Amy Hendrickson, Michael Jordan and host of other “Bluecollar Musicians”
All photos courtesy of House of Z.