The 10th Annual North American Sea Glass Festival held in Ocean City, Maryland this past August was an exciting time for attendees, particularly those that entered the coveted Shard of the Year contest. The Shard of the Year contest gives private collectors an opportunity to show off some of their collections and win a cash prize.
The 2015 festival brought many unique finds, so much so that the five judges had a hard time deciding the final grand prize winner. After deliberation, the grand prize chosen was a stunning large aqua ridged piece.
The judging closed and the time came to announce the winners. The room was filled with anxious collectors, each hopeful that their piece would be the winning piece. The Shard of the Year contest has ten other categories, and as each winner was called up to the podium, they were beaming with excitement. Finally, the grand prize winner was announced by Richard LaMotte, former President and noted sea glass expert and author. As Richard held up the large piece of aqua, the room was full of oohh’s and aahh’s, and Earl Brown’s name was announced as the Grand Prize winner. Earl was in a bit of shock and quiet in his demeanor. You will see from the photos and his answers below that he’s a no nonsense straight shooter. Just as each piece of shard entered holds a story behind them, the photos after the contest tell a story. The photos taken inside immediately following the announcement, Earl was stunned. A few minutes later, in the photo taken outside with Kim Hannon below, Earl is showing off his beautiful winning shard and the smile on his face is emerging.
Earl entering the contest:
Earl explained after winning that he found the piece a week prior to the festival and was talked into submitting it on Sunday, making his win even more exciting! Earl had attended the festival on Saturday and showed one of the exhibitors who was amazed at his find and told him to enter the contest, however, Earl hadn’t planned on coming back on Sunday. After thinking about it Saturday night, Earl decided to come back and enter his new find.
Earl explaining how he found it:
Earl explained to Kim Hannon, that he was out sea glass hunting very early in the morning, while it was still not quite dawn, and as he walked along the beach, somewhere between Bethany Beach and Fenwick, he came up to the aqua piece which was embedded in the sand in a shoe print! Can you imagine? Earl believes that it may have been stepped on by night fishermen. Wow, they weren’t aware that they were stepping on such a gorgeous piece of history.
What the piece was in its first life: The aqua lens more than likely came off a 20th century small vessel starboard light, similar to the antique brass lantern shown here.
Earl’s Q & A:
- When did you start collecting sea glass and where did you get the “bug”? Earl: Five years ago.
- Where did you find the gorgeous aqua piece? Earl: Between Fenwick & Bethany
- What do you think it was in it’s first life? Earl: Lather lens
- What did you do when you found it? Earl: Yahoo loud enough, you should have heard it
- What do you plan on doing with it? Earl: Too big for a necklace, try to sell it or trade it
- If you could travel anywhere to sea glass hunt, where would it be? Earl: Bermuda
- Besides this beautiful find, do you have another favorite find you’d like to share? Earl: I have many nice pieces.
2015 Shard of the Year Contest Winners – North American Sea Glass Festival in Ocean City, Maryland. List of winners and where they live. To view Photos of all the 2015 Shard Winners, please visit our website’s 2015 Shard of the Year Winner Photo Gallery
Photos by Tommy Allen Photographs
Winners of the Shard of the Year Contest
Grand Prize – Overall Beauty – Earl Brown – Maryland
Winners for the other categories are as follows:
Runner Up to Grand Prize – Arlene Klaasen – Florida
Pottery/Ceramics – Stephanie Martucci – Delaware
Whimsical/Toys – Hailey Goddard – Maryland
Bottle Stopper – Kelsey Palma – Ohio
Most Unusual – Larry White – Ohio
Historical – Mike Yandle – Maryland
Art Glass – Virgil Hibbs – Virginia
Marbles – Gina Husta – New Jersey
Buttons – Cindy Williams – Maryland
Figural – Dave Wright – Virginia