Melanie Enman grew up visiting Kennebunk Beach, enjoying the feel of the sand between her toes and the sound of the waves crashing, no matter what the weather. She even got married on the beach. Over the years, she also searched for what she calls her “treasures” – pebbles, shells, drift wood, sea glass and other bits of flotsam and jetsam cast on the sand by the sea.

For years, Enman left her pile of treasures on the beach rather than taking them home. Then one day she saw some “pebble art” at a local crafts show, and she found a new calling.

“I came home and told my husband, ‘I’m going to start making pebble art.’ He was like, ‘What are you talking about?'” said Enman, who now lives in Windham.

It was November 2017. Her first piece was a gift for a friend with a passion for hiking who was celebrating her 40th birthday. Enman created a pebble version of her friend hiking, her two children trudging along behind her. The friend loved the framed piece so much she ordered two more on the spot to give as gifts. Just six weeks later, Enman had sold and delivered 60 pieces of her pebble art. Soon she was so busy she was working until 3 or 4 in the morning, and squeezing in work during her 2-year-old daughter’s nap times. By April, she had to let go of her small cleaning company to focus on her new business, Mainely Tidal Pebble Art.

Enman’s subject matter varies, from a pebble ballerina wearing a shell tutu to a biker zooming down the road on his motorcycle – one of her bestsellers. A stork carrying a baby in a “sleeper shell” is, Enman says, “huge for baby shower gifts.” Another customer favorite (usually for wedding or anniversary gifts) is couples – couples getting married, couples riding motorcycles, couples sitting on a park bench with their puppy. One piece depicts a fall wedding with the bride, dressed in a shell gown and veil, kissing her pebble groom, with a heart-shaped pebble strategically placed above their heads. A nearby tree drips autumn leaves made of brown and green seaglass.

Enman, who lives in a big farmhouse but works out of her family’s camper, now visits lots of beaches. “Every beach has something different that I need,” she said. “Some have bodies, some have legs and arms, some have heads. A lot of times on my pieces I’ll put a yellow snail as the sun, and I have a certain beach I go to for that.”

Enman hand-picks the frames. A lot goes into her pricing – how hard it is to find the materials, how long it takes her to make the piece, the size, the frame – but generally pieces start at $55. Custom orders start at $75 for a 5×7 and may go up to $125 or $150 or more for an 8×10.

Most of Enman’s artwork is sold on Facebook – she likes the personal interaction she gets there with customers – but she also sells her work at Upcycle Maine Home Furnishings in Gorham, where she has 30 pieces and inventory changes once a week, and at The Deep Blue in Kennebunk. Enman will be at the annual Freeport Fall Festival Oct. 5-7.

— MEREDITH GOAD

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