NASGA’s Meet the Member Interview – Steve Gladhill & Tammy Thatcher, STBeachFinds
Q: How did you learn about NASGA, and how long have you been a member of the association?
A: We learned about NASGA after doing our first Eastern Shore Sea Glass Festival in St. Michaels, Maryland back in 2014. After speaking with Kim Hannon and receiving encouragement, we became members in 2015. That year we participated in the Ocean City, MD show. We have participated in the NASGA festival each year since.
Q: Can you share your personal sea glass story, or how you discovered and developed a passion for tumbled treasures?
A: Ours is truly a story of soulmates. We have both grown up on the water most of our lives. We dated as young adults but went our seperate ways. Life changes occured about 8 years ago we found ourselves together again. As we continued to take long healing walks on the beaches, a love developed not only for each other but for the beaches, waterways and all their treasurers. We live our lives knowing that sometimes things discarded years ago come back as beautiful diamonds.
Q: Please tell us about your particular craft or skill, such as tools and techniques, training and experience, and how your product or skill has evolved or changed over time.
A: We have a divide and conquer method. Steve is the one who does all the drilling. If it has a hole in it, he did it. Tammy on the other hand does all the wire wrapping. Our techniques are all self taught by watching how to videos.
Our skills improve with every piece we create. Every piece is unique and teaches us something new. The fun part of the process begins with selecting the perfect pieces for the item you are preparing. The satisfaction comes when the pieces turns out better than your original vision.
Q: Are you also a sea glass collector (or do you solely enjoy working on your craft or skill)? If you are a collector, can you tell us about your collection, and is difficult to part with some of your creations or favorite pieces?
A: We started this as true collectors. After going to a few shows and speaking with other vendors and collectors we decided to try our creative side. It has bloomed and evolved into a business that keeps us engaged when we are not at our 9-5 jobs. As for those special pieces, we hold on to a few for us and family but feel sharing them is the best reward.
Q: Can you share some of the joys and challenges of your business and craft?
A: Joys are simple. Just taking the day and spending it outdoors on a beach searching for treasures. What could be more prefect. Challenges we face seem to be the uneducated public and the flood on the market with manufactured glass. We spend a great deal of time with customers who have questions trying to help them so they can help educate others.
Q: How does your NASGA membership benefit you professionally and/or personally?
A: NASGA has been a great resource for us. The information provided, the people we meet and the venues are always top notch.
Q: Do you plan to exhibit at the upcoming festival in Wildwood, New Jersey, and is there a particular NASGA festival that stands out as a favorite, or a memorable experience associated with a previous NASGA festival?
A: We plan to be at Wildwood, NJ. We believe the festivals get better every year. As vendors, we enjoyed the Friday evening meet and greet. We were able to speak with people from other areas and talk about what is working for them. This time was very valuable and fun. As for the festival itself, we believe keeping the fun atmosphere and different lectures as well as the contest is the key to keeping the public informed and aware. An educated public is our best customers.
Q: Can you tell us about some of your other interests or hobbies?
A: We love the water and anything associated with it. We have a small boat and enjoy exploring. You would think that since we live on the bay we would vacation elsewhere but the ocean calls and we must answer. In the winter we still spend time in the water at our local aquatic center. Steve has an extensive fossil/sharks tooth collection and would love to talk to anyone who is willing to listen.
Q: How can the public learn more about your craft or skill, inquire about your calendar (upcoming exhibits or events), and/or contact you if desired?
A: We are reachable on our business Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/Stbeachfinds/ We post our upcoming shows and usually have the next one pinned to the top of the page. Our home number is 410-586-3527 and has an answering machine for messages. We do work full time jobs so please be patient and we will get back to you.