There are of course several ways in which people collect glass, but one that is very popular and attractive to many is that of gleaning the beach, preferably after a high tide has receded in search for sea-glass. You might find that you have seen the glass collector at work….
Wandering along the beach at low tide, eyes glanced downwards as each step is taken so purposely and slowly walks the glass collector. At intervals, she stoops and bends and admires the piece of glass in her hand. This one particular piece she holds, like all the others that have been smoothed by the tumbling tidal waters, the action of rock rolling repetitions year upon many a year. Her pockets which after a while begin to weigh heavy, and sag under the load they contain. The wind whips along the shoreline, coming in from the south-west, clouds sailing along like little white puffy boats and gulls shrieking aloud a cry muffled in sound by the wind.
This particular day the glass collector has found pieces that are misshapen and many different colours; many are green of varying shades, some brown, clear and then the rarer blue or even orange or yellow lilac or reddish pink. Each one gives the glass collector a delight at the discovery and joy of possessing these beauties. She has a purpose for gathering these sea-shaped and worn glass fragments, for to her they will become items of beauty and delicacy, eventually. Back in her workshop they will be graded and sorted and turned into pendants, earrings, and bracelets. Her gift of creativity and of crafting to put it in a modern turn of phrase, to ‘up-cycle’, what has been thrown overboard or carelessly left on the beach and dragged down into the depths of the sea to remake a material into something remarkable and of use once more.
There is nothing nicer than to wander along seeking treasure, always with the unexpected hope of discovering that one extra special smoothed shard that will make such an ideal present. This style of beachcombing is popular and the glass collector can be seen on many a coastline; gathering up what some people just do not see. There are many who merely trample along regardless of what is under their feet, marching along towards the spot marked out for a picnic or place to ‘camp’ with shouting thrilled children scampering along swinging buckets and spades. The glass collector has a discerning eye, to spot that green or blue or rarity almost as if they are waiting to be found, knowing that they are special and to become wanted again.
So, perhaps next time you are down the beach and heading towards you comes the glass collector, do say hello, they will not see you as they are intent on finding something of exceptional value, that you may have never considered. If you are lucky they may show you one or two in the day’s collection Gaze in wonder at the colours and shapes; be inspired by the glass collector’s devotion and creativity. She may even be wearing some of her own jewellery if you notice and I am sure you will receive a warm smile for she knows a thing or two about what the beach gives for those who seek her treasures.
The following link gives details of where to look on British beaches:http://www.odysseyseaglass.com/sea-glass-british-isles.html
It would seem that this pastime is worldwide, wherever there is beach sea glass seems to wash up relentlessly with each new tidal flow. But any internet search of sea glass will help you to find beaches in Europe and America also have sea glass. This summer on holiday why not join in the search for something special and create your own unique jewellery. There are many videos detailing how to wire wrap sea glass into pendants or earrings.
Happy sea glass hunting!