Grandma’s Marathon runners can wear a piece of Lake Superior home

Grandma’s Marathon runners can wear a piece of Lake Superior home

Taking home a piece of the Grandma's Marathon course home as a keepsake, Jeanne Lassard designed jewelry for the runners.

Jeanne Lassard is something of a nomad these days, traveling the country and the world with no true home base. But she grew up in Clover Valley north of Duluth and still feels the tug of home.

“Growing up here, the lake is gravity. It’s like where we all go to decompress. It’s where we all go to feel better,” she said.

She’s always loved the smooth rocks tossed up on Lake Superior’s shoreline.

“I wanted to have them with me all the time,” Lassard said. “So I figured out how to make them, how to drill holes in them, and that’s how it started.”

She started turning small rocks into jewelry. After all, she’s never been “a sparkly jewelry person.”

Now, they’re her business, called I Dream As Jeanne.

“The collecting and the exploring and the being able to spend so much time by the water and spend so much time with the rocks, for me, it feels essential,” she said.

Natural materials just feel good to work with, she says. She has collecting days and sorting days, drilling days and assembly days. She uses a rotary drill with a diamond bit and puts the rocks in a pan of water to create small holes so she can run wire through.

And she has created an entire collection of bracelets, necklaces, and keychains for Grandma’s Marathon and Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon runners.

“I have such a tremendous amount of respect for the runners. I can’t even imagine running that far,” Lassard said. “Sometimes driving that far is exhausting.”

She hopes the jewelry reminds people to really take time to celebrate their accomplishments before they move on to the next thing.

“I hope that these pieces pull them back to that a little bit and like, look at what you did! You just ran 26 or 13 or 5 or 1 mile. Like you did that,” she said. “And that’s a huge deal.”

Through her travels, she’s collected rocks all over North America. And it’s led to a theory.

“That they’re kind of like the people, where they come from,” she said. “The Lake Superior rocks are sturdy all the way through. Like they’re hard, and they are what they are. It’s like, there’s no hiding anything with these rocks, which is a lot like the people I know that are from here.”

Rocks from the East Coast are hard on the outside but soft on the inside. The ones she collected on the California coastline are soft all the way through.

Whatever the runner or wearer is made of, Lassard hopes they bring some of Lake Superior with them wherever they go.

She will be selling the I Dream As Jeanne jewelry between Thursday and Sunday:

  • 11 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Thursday at the Civic Center Farmer’s Market
  • Thursday evening and Friday at Blacklist Brewing
  • Saturday at Canal Park Brewery
  • Sunday (if she still has inventory) at Blacklist Brewing