The Art of Sea Glass

April 11, 2019

AHHHHH, the simple joy of strolling along the shore and then, there it is at your toes a shiny, tumbled piece of glass. Glass? So what’s the big deal you ask? The BIG deal is there is a piece of history between your sand covered toes! This may be your first look at a NATURAL, GENUINE piece of sea glass or perhaps you have bowls brimming with your lucky finds, either way you bend down and take a closer look. Smooth, rounded, blue or brown, what could this tiny treasure have been? Take a look out to sea and think; from where, how long, how deep, how far has this gem come? Once dumped as a piece of trash, this tiny find has been entrusted to you for its future.

Genuine sea glass can be found on most beaches of the world, but there are particular places that loads of sea glass seems to flourish. If you are lucky enough to be on a beach that is near a river that feeds to the ocean, you are in prime hunting ground, my friend! You have probably come upon an abundant discovery. Many dump sites of times past were located near rivers and as time progressed the contents of those dump sites unfortunately found their way into the rivers. While environmentally not a desired result, for a collector of sea glass, the discards are a real find. As the rivers feed into the oceans, they deposit debris along the riverbanks as they twist and turn to the grander bodies of water. Things like bottles, dishes, pottery and medicinal decanters all roll and tumble for decades and create beautiful fragments of their past.

Today’s sea glass collectors boasts bowls of assorted large and small pieces of sea glass that many (like myself) have turned into practical and sometimes impractical pieces of art to nurture the collector’s desire to create SOMETHING with these found objects. Colors of brown, green, white, blue, red, amber and lavender fill the bowls and jars at our seaside casa. To begin a sea glass creation, I touch the pieces scattered in front of me. Then with perhaps an enchanting vision in mind, I embark on this quirky art form, with the intention of turning these pieces of unknown origin into an object of fanciful beauty and unique appeal. These glass shards are layered and scattered until they take on a life of their own and these fragments are reinvented into a whimsical piece of art. Many times I combine sea glass with sea shells or other beach debris, like the tiny replica of a pipe, placed atop an abundant collection of white, frosty sea glass and then formed carefully to fit inside this cigar box, purchased on the island of course. The labels on the cigar box are left untouched to evoke the mystery of its discarded contents.

Another piece of art was designed using a jewel box shell as the inspiration, then carefully layering each piece of pale green shard, honed to perfection, into the shell.  The jewel box shell actually has a natural hinge at its base, perhaps the reason for its name. Crowning the collection of fragments, is a tiny white ribbed cantharis shell (I think), as a simple, but quite effective finishing topper. But the FUN ELEMENT of this piece has to be the tiny wooden arm, holding a petite sea urchin shell. This tiny SAINT’S ARM was found in a village in Ecuador, where the primary source of income is wood carving and design. This intricately carved hand was intended to be a part of a carved saint. I believe it is the perfect unexpected addition.

Sea glass collecting is a delightful and rewarding pastime/hobby. Creations are limited by your imagination and your dreams. So put on your flip-flops, bring out the plastic sand pail and join the thousands of beach comers exploring the shorelines. Find your first frosty piece of shiny history and you too can become intoxicated by the magic of this unexpected find. DREAM, HUNT and CREATE! That SAND will feel really good BETWEEN YOUR TOES!






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