Sea Glass Match Made in Heaven

By Mary McCarthy, NASGA Education Chair

It’s always fun to find a match of a sea glass find with a fellow beachcomber in another part of the world, and of course to discover the history of our finds.

I often have many beachcombed finds on my phone; there are up to 10,000 photos stored there at any given time “for sometime.” One day on Instagram I saw a post from Jody in California that she found a beautiful sun-purple figural bust:

It immediately reminded me of something I found that I had taken a photo of, but hadn’t posted yet because I hadn’t identified what it could have been. It had an odd block shape at the corner that had confused me, the seeming headless perfect companion to hers:

I recognized Jody’s as a powder jar lid, “Wendy” by Fenton and sent her a photo of the original:

So, I did what I always do in a case like this, I consulted the “man upstairs,” from whom I have learned all things sea glass identification and apprenticed for years.  I texted the photo to Richard LaMotte, founder of the North American Sea Glass Association and author of Pure Sea Glass, who doesn’t live far from me and in fact once tried to rescue a wayward kayak paddle off a shoreline for me!

Richard said he thought my find was a Victorian glass bookend, something that hadn’t occurred to me and something I had never seen before. Now I had an answer and could post the headless find.

Jody and I are hoping to unite the headless sea glass couple at an upcoming sea glass festival in California to get a photo and unite their coast to coast matchup!

UV Glass Mystery

By Mary McCarthy, Education Chair, NASGA

UV sea glass flower frog

Recently at the Santa Cruz Sea Glass and Ocean Art Festival, NASGA Education Chair Mary McCarthy was on hand doing sea glass identification. A woman brought her necklace that included a UV piece with a unique curve. The size of the interior curve provided a clue: it was once a hole!

The source for the piece is a depression era vaseline glass flower frog. Flower frogs, nicknamed because they “sit in water,” feature holes that were used to hold flower stems. Often a two-piece item with a removable lid though sometimes made as one piece, water is placed inside to nourish the flowers. The identified vaseline glass, probably from the 1920s-40s was made with uranium and therefore glows under blacklight.

Unusual Finds Along Chesapeake Bay

By Sharon Brubaker

Long, long ago, when dinosaurs roamed the earth and the skies were pierced with cries of enormous birds, something was happening geologically just below the water. Unusual formations in the silt and mud began to take shape that would, millions of years later, reveal themselves and wash up on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay. These “formations,” resembling hollow rock balls, tubes, ocarinas, and more avant-garde shapes, are created from sand, clay, and iron oxide.DSC_0555.jpgWhen my family and I first moved to the shores of the upper Chesapeake and roamed the beaches in search of beach glass, we also began to find peculiar, round, metal-like objects.  We felt certain they were a type of ammunition for guns used during the Revolutionary War because George Washington had munitions created in the Principio Iron Works just a heron’s flight across the bay, near the port of Charlestown.

Being new to the area and excited to show our finds to our neighbors, our newly found friends chuckled and told us that the strange formations were called ‘pop rocks,” small hollow stones of which our neighbors would toss into beach fires and watch them explode. Another neighbor told us that the formations (are) derived from ‘Indian paint pots” and that Native American tribes used the iron oxide inside the stones to paint their faces. But it was not until we met another neighbor, and now long-time friend, Alice Lundgren, that the mystery was solved. The formations, in all their various shapes, are known as “concretions.”

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Alice has a collection of well over a thousand concretions ranging in size from a quarter of an inch to about twelve inches, all of which she has gathered from the bay. Alice was a true inspiration to my family and me, and we soon joined forces to not only hunt for sea glass, but to eagerly search for concretions. These unusual rock formations date back to the late Cretaceous and Eocene eras.  Even more fascinating than the “pop rocks” are tubular rocks. The tubular concretions are iron oxide formations that reflect a pipe-like structure.

When we go exploring along our nearby beach, Alice, a seasoned concretion seeker, has the ability to spot the stone tubes instantly, yet the rest of us are not so fortunate, as the finds appear camouflaged to the untrained eye. Some of the concretions boast unique shapes, such as small cups, snowmen, and acorns while the tubular concretions often resemble coral, branches, and even small musical pipes (although they do not carry a tune))! Similar to sea glass, each concretion seems to carry its own story and personality.

Having been formed millions of years ago from sedimentary rock, concretions have been significant and mystical to many cultures. Some cultures believe them to be holy stones while other cultures believe the stones bring luck, or perhaps represent the divine feminine. However, theories of modern science suggest the concretions are fossils or meteorites.

As beachcombers, we are treasure-hunters.  We are always seeking the next great find. The Shard of the Year Contest, which is one of the highlights of the North American Sea Glass Association’s annual Festival, would be ideal opportunity to view both natural and manmade treasures (this year’s North American Sea Glass Festival will be held in Wildwood, New Jersey on October 27 – 28).

*Many thanks to Alice Lundgren for sharing her collection of concretions, and to Meredith Keating and Brandon Boas for their photography.

 

 

NASGA Meet the Member – Suzanne Hunter – The Sea Glass Grotto

NASGA’s Meet the Member Interview – Suzanne Hunter – The Sea Glass Grotto

Q: How did you learn about NASGA, and how long have you been a member of the association?

   A:   I heard about NASGA through it’s current President, Kim Hannon, when I participated in one of her events. I have been a member for 2 years as The Sea Glass Grotto.

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Q: Can you share your personal sea glass story, or how you discovered and developed a passion for tumbled treasures? 

A:   I started collecting with My grandmother, in North Wildwood New Jersey, in the 1970’s. Our nightly ritual when we were visiting would be to take stale bread to the beach after dinner to feed the birds, and find treasures!

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:  I making wire Jewelry with telephone wire from my father when I was a child, I would wrap stones, and flowers, and make paper beads. I developed my own Silver Smithing skills with the help of many books and advice of other artists, but I am primarily self taught. Learning is a never ending journey.

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:  I am a collector, and I have many pieces I will never part with, those are special to me because I treasure the memories of my childhood and my grandparents that they evoke. I keep them stashed away in my jewelry box.

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Q: Can you share some of the joys and challenges of your business and craft?

A:   The biggest joy and challenge is sharing the difference between real and artificial Sea Glass. It is wonderful to be able to educate people on the differences while also sharing memories, or stories, I feel like beachcombing as a whole is a very personal journey for each individual and I hear many stories about those adventures.

Q: How does your NASGA membership benefit you professionally and/or personally?

A:   I have the backing of a wonderful organization who stands behind it’s artists as being genuine sea glass and handcrafted wares.

 Seafoam Heart setQ: 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:   I am extremely excited about this year’s festival since it is in my home county. Wildwood, and Cape May County are absolutely wonderful in the fall, with a wide variety of events, wonder dining and fabulous weather, and I am looking forward to “hosting” my fellow NASGA members and sharing some of my favorites!

 

Q: Can you tell us about some of your other interests or hobbies?

A:   Being a mom, most of my favorite hobbies revolve around my kids, but as a family we enjoy beach time, camping and cooking. We are currently in the planning stages of a lengthy cross country trip in our Winnebago.

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:  I am not as tech savvy as I wish I was so the easiest platforms for me are on Facebook The Sea Glass Grotto and Instagram.

NASGA Meet the Member – Bruce & Gail Barton – Sea Glass Designs

NASGA’s Meet the Member Interview –  Bruce & Gail Barton – Sea Glass Designs

Q: How did you learn about NASGA, and how long have you been a member of the association?

A:  Sea Glass Designs has been members of NASGA since 2007. We attended our first sea glass festival the following year in Lewes, Delaware. We first learned about the association from an online search.

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Q: Can you share your personal sea glass story, or how you discovered and developed a passion for tumbled treasures?

A:  I first learned about sea glass while reading the novel Sea Glass by Anita Shreve. At the time we had just retired and were living on our boat in the Bahamas. I started to search the beaches and was rewarded with finding many gems. After reading Richard LaMotte’s book Pure Sea Glass, I became addicted to the hobby of collecting sea glass. I also learned while reading his book, the we were in a great spot to collect really old treasures.

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. 

Soldering area

A:  Bruce kept saying I was going to sink the boat if I collected any more sea glass and that I needed to do something with all the glass. For Christmas that year my daughter gave me a beginning jewelry making kit. I took the kit back to the boat and tried to follow the instructions on how to make a piece wrapped jewelry. After becoming totally frustrated, I asked Bruce to help me. He looked at the page once and picked up a piece of sea glass and within seconds made the pendant. He thought that was a lot of fun and continued making wrapped sea glass pendants. Who know that former engineers, make great jewelers. Bruce can just look at a piece of sea glass and know the best way to put it in a setting. He has since gone to many professional classes and studied under master jewelers. He is now an accomplished metalsmith. I have also been attending classes in jewelry manufacturing and design. I am not yet a silversmith, but my skills have improved greatly from my first attempt at making jewelry.

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 are collectors and well as sea glass jewelers. Most of the glass we find in the Bahamas is very old going back to the 18th and 19th century The island is rich in beautiful old sea glass as a result of numerous shipwrecks on the reefs off the island ds during the early 1800’s I do have a hard time parting with some of our treasures. I do keep my very favorites but share them with sea glass lovers at shows. We love to talk about the pieces in our collection with show goers.

Q: Can you share some of the joys and challenges of your business and craft?

A:  We still get excited every time we see someone wearing one of our creations. It never gets old. Bruce and I work at the business full time even when we are in the Bahamas for the winter. I don’t think we ever planned to come out of retirement to go back to work. When you work for yourself, you spend a heck of a lot more time at it than you ever did in a 9 to 5 job. Our business is always open.

Q: How does your NASGA membership benefit you professionally and/or personally?

A:  Being members of NASGA has been rewarding to us both professionally and personally. We learn so much from other members. Everyone is always willing to help you. Last year we forgot our side curtains for a weekend long show. Other member quickly came to our assistance and loaned us everything we needed for us to remain in the show. The best part of our membership has been the friendships that we have made. The members of the organization are all very special people.

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:  Our favorite show was the very first show we were in at Erie PA. Because it was our first show everything was new and exciting to us. We learned that members were very supportive and offered lots of help. Every show was special is some way, but we have done so many now, they start to run together.

Q: Can you tell us about some of your other interests or hobbies?

A:  In addition to beach combing, sailing has been a big part of our life. It started as a hobby and became part of our lifestyle. When we are not on our boat, walking the beach, or making jewelry, you will most likely find us on a tennis court.

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:  Our webpage www.handmadeseaglassjewelry.com has information about us, our show schedule and contact information. The can also follow us on FaceBook www.facebook.com/seaglassdesigns1/ and Instagram sea_glass_designs. Our email address is bbarton@sea-glass-designs.com