The art of threading mariner shells has been passed down through Aunty Lola Greeno's family for generations.
Greeno was taught how to comb beaches in Tasmania's North-East, North-West and Cape Barren Island for mariner shells in unmistakable shades of blue, green and pink by her mother.
This practice continued when Greeno taught her own daughter to do the same, and now continues with her grandchildren.
"We used to collect them as kids; we'd have two or three, but never enough to make a necklace," Greeno said.
"I collect shells with my family - my daughter and grandchildren. I wanted to make sure I shared that with them."
Carefully graded by size and quality, Greeno stores the shells at her Riverside home, ready to make necklaces, bracelets and, sometimes, earrings.
She has even made a crown honouring Lucy Beeton, from the Furneaux Islands, called Crown For Lucy.
"I started making necklaces with my mother," Greeno said.
"She talked about my grandmother leaving shells in the house and I thought it was a lovely and very important cultural practice.
"I thought I had to learn how to do it while mum was still alive," she said.
There are five mariner shell varieties, with the king mariner shell the largest.
"The green mariners are fairly prized and sought after as there are not many places to get them," Greeno said.
"Blue mariners from Bruny Island are longer and reflect more blue. I think it's the minerals in the sand."
Greeno's lifetime practising this ancient art was recognised with a national award by the Australia Council for the Arts on Monday night.
The Red Ochre Award for Lifetime Achievement was presented to just two artists at the National Indigenous Arts Awards at Sydney Opera House: Greeno and actor Uncle Jack Charles.
The event is held on May 27 each year to coincide with the anniversary of the 1967 referendum, Australia Council deputy chairwoman Lee-Ann Tjunypa Buckskin said.
"On this auspicious date, it is significant that we are supporting and celebrating our First Nations artists at important stages in their careers," she said.
"There is a profound sense of cultural strength as we acknowledge these artists from across the generations, from emerging to mid-career, to some our most celebrated and acclaimed elders."
Greeno also works with scallop and mussel shells, animal fur and even echidna quills, with her work exhibited around the country and sold through Handmark Gallery at Evandale and Art Mob in Hobart.
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