LAGUNA BEACH, CA — In times of tragedy, artistic-minded Lori Nayehalski turned to both art and the written word to honor the loss of her father, Edward Nayehalski.
“I was a daughter losing a father. It doesn’t matter how old you are when that happens,” she says. She found solace in a screenwriting class learning the art of telling stories in London. That screenplay, “There Once Was A Girl From Nantucket,” was a cathartic journey.
Healing comes in many forms, she says.
On her birthday she was still grieving the loss of her father and started painting. Over 400 paintings later, she realized she had found a way to heal inside rather than merely seeking outward support.
“It was like color therapy in a way,” she told Patch.
Moving to Laguna Beach, she felt she had already seen her darkest days, even when coronavirus struck. Shortly after arriving, the schools were shut down and she had her daughter going to school online.
Still, Lori painted.
By May, she had created over 20,000 textile designs in a month, while shut down. Out of those artworks, she translated eight of her favorite designs into the fabric of her umbrellas. She does limited production of the umbrellas to keep them fresh and fun.
“I’m selling happiness and sunshine!” she says. “They are for everybody.”
She finds creativity in the love and memory of her father and, upon moving to Laguna, in daily treks to the beach with her daughter, Genevieve, whom she calls her “little pearl.”
“You never get over the loss of a parent because it leaves behind this deep, empty gulf,” she said. “This is especially true when you lose a parent to a cruel and ruthless thief like cancer. You can cry an ocean of tears, but it just never seems to be enough to wash away that pain. And maybe a part of you never wants to be totally free of grief – because it honors your loved one’s passing. So I channeled it instead.”
Last spring and summer, the Laguna Beaches were closed due to the pandemic. Unable to spend time on the beach that they love, Lori turned her artistic passion into”a mass explosion” of textile designs. Upon reopening the beaches, she had an artistic vision: transforming her textiles into colorful beach umbrellas.
Thus, her business, Pearl Edward Beach, was born. Against all odds, in the summer of coronavirus. Her designs show her sunny side. Each ruffle and fringe-trimmed umbrellas sell at a $199 price point. Their patterns are bright and cheerful and include a beachy wood pole.
The fabric is UV 50+ and water-resistant. Each is in limited production, and a portion of the proceeds goes to Save The Children, she says. Later in March, she’ll be fundraising for San Juan Capistrano’s Surf & Turf Therapy.
While she waited for her first order of umbrellas to arrive, she rewrote her first screenplay into a novel, now available for purchase on Amazon.com.
Writing the story has been cathartic for Nayahelski. She refound a connection with her father on each page and views him as her guardian angel.
Nayehalski identifies with her main character in “There Once Was A Girl From Nantucket,” saying they are both strong, single parents who want a full life, security, and lasting love, “but we don’t want to sacrifice who we are to get it.”
“You just have to let go, live in the moment, and believe,” she says. “That may sound overly optimistic, but it’s absolutely true.”
She is teaching her daughter – whom she calls her “little pearl” this lesson.
“We spend all of our free time together on the beach if we can, making art and enjoying the sun: that purest of light,” she says, calling her life a “constant creation process. And I’m so thankful for each day.”
Learn more about Lori Nayehalski and her textile umbrella art at www.PearlEdwardBeach.com.