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Glass balls of mystery

Artist works with fishing floats to make unique works of art
Errington artist Kim Naylor shows off one of her glass fishing ball creations.

When you take one of Kim Naylor’s genuine fishing float candle holders in your hand all the wonderful mystery and enchantment of the sea seems to wash over you.

You wonder what parts of the world this glass float has seen, how long ago it was made and who used it.

“I love the mystery behind them,” said Naylor, as she revealed some her fishing float products in her home studio in Errington. “Some of this glass could be over 100 years old.”

Naylor comes from a family of fisherman and years ago her grandfather handed over his collection of glass floats to her. She became enamored with them and now the self-taught artist continues to search for more of the now rare objects.

“They are very hard to find,” she said. “We went up to the [Queen] Charlottes last year deliberately trying to find them and we didn’t find any.”

Today she will get them from fishermen friends, she’ll track some down or people will give them to her. Naylor breaks the glass balls and uses stained glass techniques to put them back together. She adds solder sea stars, a bit of abalone and sometimes kelp, and the finished product is a stunning, rustic, decorative piece.

Naylor’s company is called Keeping Afloat and besides the candle holders she also makes hanging floats and large decorative pieces.

She incorporates the glass from the floats into her jewelry, as well as other materials like sterling silver, semi-precious stones and beach stones. Naylor also makes adorable little pea pod necklaces using vintage silver plated coffee spoons and fresh water pearls. Her products range in price from $13 to $150.

Naylor said the best part of her job is scratching her creative itch. She also feels her work keeps her connected to where she comes from, she said.

“When I work with the fishing floats I think about my grandparents and my father and the fishing industry and how it was.”

As for her creative ideas, her family may also have something to do with that.

“I’m pretty sure my ancestors whisper in my ears sometimes,” she said.

Find Naylor’s work as well as over 40 other vendors from around the Island at the Arbutus Open-Air Market this Saturday, July 28 at the Coombs Fairgrounds.

Entrance is free and plenty of food vendors will be on-site. The event happens from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Locally Naylor’s work can also be found at Bowser’s Salish Sea Market, Old Ivy Gift Cottage in Coombs and Complements in Qualicum Beach.