YORK, Maine — When she could not bear the bodily and psychological toll of sitting and watching a pc all day, Cherie Herne left her profession in 2014 as a graphic internet designer.
Herne, an eighth-generation York resident and daughter of New England rock ‘n’ roll legend Bobby Herne, had been identified with Lyme illness. She stated she skilled joint ache, was extra forgetful than typical and at one level believed she was experiencing early onset dementia.
“It harm me a lot to sit down and maintain issues with my hand or maintain the mouse,” she stated.
Pc code that had as soon as been acquainted began to look at occasions like a overseas language.
“It was like I might not learn it,” she stated.
Earlier than her analysis, Herne thought-about herself to be wholesome. After conducting quite a lot of exams, medical doctors knowledgeable her that her situation is incurable, she stated. Her muscle and joint ache are prone to worsen, alongside together with her lack of power and reminiscence loss, she stated.
Sufferers with Lyme illness who’re handled early on with antibiotics sometimes recuperate shortly and utterly, and most who’re handled afterward reply properly to antibiotics as properly, although some might endure long-term harm to their joints or nervous techniques, in line with the U.S. Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention. Signs usually enhance over time.
A current CDC estimate based mostly on insurance coverage information suggests about 476,000 Americans are identified and handled for Lyme illness annually. Typical signs embrace fever, headache, fatigue and a pores and skin rash. If the illness is left untreated, an infection can unfold to joints, the center and the nervous system.
Lyme illness, which is transmitted to people via the chew of contaminated blacklegged ticks, is the most common vector-borne disease in the USA, in line with the CDC.
Paddling in a brand new route
On a sunny Thursday afternoon, when the tide was low, Herne lugged her paddleboard from atop her automobile to a tucked-away shore on the York River, near the Harbor. She paddled her method effortlessly via the water, as her chihuahua, Piggie, sat adoringly by her aspect, sporting a pink mermaid life-vest for when she inevitably falls in.
Herne stated climbing on rocks and steering a paddleboard retains her in form, which eases the ache brought on by the illness.
Across the time of her analysis, Herne needed a clearer route and ultimately sought assist from a enterprise coach, who noticed that she clearly wanted to be doing one thing on the water as a result of it’s the place she feels probably the most snug, pleased and wholesome.
When Herne was out on the water, she started to gather driftwood and sea glass as a passion and would paddle to close by shores looking for the proper supplies for her artwork.
Herne paddleboards in close by cities as properly as a result of York has an ordinance banning beachgoers from taking rocks and sea glass within the city. However driftwood is honest recreation in York, and is taken into account disposable, Herne stated.
Herne earned a $1,000 stipend from creating two items for the Eagle Parade to Profit The Seacoast Chapter of Veterans Depend, which she selected to spend on two inflatable paddleboards — that buy was probably the greatest selections of her life, she stated.
As she paddleboarded and picked up driftwood day by day, her assortment grew, and Herne realized she wanted to do one thing productive together with her hoard of driftwood accumulating mud within the basement. Her inventive roots kicked into gear, and she or he started by making her first craft, a mason jar stuffed with sea glass normal with a tag and ribbon of a bride and groom’s identify. Three weeks after posting six of those jars on-line, Herne made her first sale.
“I heard the ‘cha-ching’ noise from my telephone, and I had by no means heard that earlier than … it was so thrilling,” she stated.
Her subsequent product was the start to Herne’s “declare to fame,” she stated. It was a wreath made out of white paper plates and wicker with driftwood glued on. The product has gotten a lot stronger since that first wreath was made. By means of trial and error, Herne’s creations are made with larger high quality supplies, she stated.
At the moment, Herne was nonetheless working full-time as a graphic designer to pay the payments, so she created new targets each month.
“First it was, ‘Can I pay for my meals this month?’ Then I stated, ‘All proper, what if I pays payments this month?'” Herne stated. “And, ultimately, I might pay my hire and all of my payments.”
Eight months after that first itemizing on her Etsy store on-line, she was in a position to stop graphic design and moved into her basement workshop to create items for her new enterprise, Salty Girl.
Herne now works from 8 a.m. to as late as 10 p.m. some nights doing what she loves. She has moved on to create elaborate driftwood Christmas bushes, wedding ceremony arches and 36-inch wreaths as artwork inside folks’s properties, she stated. The Salty Woman signature turned a bit of coronary heart on a stone, which comes with all Salty Woman indicators, sailboats and wreaths, together with a handwritten, detailed thank-you be aware.
Salty Woman has expanded at a speedy tempo because it first started in 2014, Herne stated, and it stands to develop extra. She’s employed two part-time workers who assist Herne with communications, delivery merchandise, accumulating driftwood and varied different wants. Based on Salty Woman’s web site, the Etsy store has generated upward of seven,000 gross sales. Herne plans to maneuver out of her rental dwelling quickly to purchase a house with additional cupboard space, she stated.
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In the course of the pandemic, enterprise surprisingly grew, and extra locals started to purchase her merchandise, Herne stated. When she first opened her enterprise, she created a equipment for making her driftwood wreath, which turned a well-liked vendor. When the pandemic hit, she expanded that choice and added extra “do it your self” kits.
Now, Herne barely must exit and paddleboard day by day to gather driftwood as a result of folks will all the time drop it off and donate it to her, Herne stated. Though she would possibly want the fabric much less, she nonetheless makes her method into the waters a number of occasions every week, up till the late fall.
The partitions in her basement are lined in driftwood from high to backside, in addition to a two-story, 2,400-square-foot storage unit up the road, which is overflowing. Items of sea glass and artwork made out of driftwood are scattered all through the home.
Deep rooted historical past in York
Herne, 61, studied graphic design in Denver earlier than shifting to Vail, Colorado, she stated.
“I really like the West, however the ocean all the time calls you once you have been introduced up on the ocean. … It is in your blood. You simply cannot depart it … I attempted to go someplace, and it simply calls you,” Herne stated.
Ultimately she moved again dwelling, had two youngsters and owned her personal enterprise.
Herne stated she is impressed by her father, who died at age 61, and sometimes feels him together with her out on the water.
Herne’s father, Bobby Herne, was well-known in New England for helping to invent one of the first guitar synthesizers and being a well-liked guitarist himself. Bobby Herne was one of many first white musicians within the space to play with Black musicians, within the All-Stars group within the Nineteen Fifties, she stated. If her father have been alive at present, she thinks he’d be actually pleased with her.
“I’m like a complete product of my dad,” Herne stated.
Being able to make a residing from a passion and a ardour is one thing Herne hopes others can do for themselves.