2018 Lectures Announced for the North American Sea Glass Festival in Wildwood, NJ

The 13th Annual North American Sea Glass Festival will be held on Saturday, October 27, 2018 and Sunday, October 28, 2018 at The Wildwoods Convention Center in Wildwood, New Jersey.

The North American Sea Glass Festival is the premier sea glass event in the country celebrating the history and beauty of sea glass.    The event will be held on Saturday from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.  Admission is $7.00 per day, Children Under 12 Free.  There will be a two-day ticket available for purchase on Saturday for a reduced rate of $10.

This year the festival will also include Sunday lectures.   The North American Sea Glass Festival will feature expert lecture presentations on the history and collection of genuine sea glass.  Each lecture will be approximately 45 minutes.  There will be a Q & A session after the lectures.   The lectures will be located in the main hall of the festival.

Lectures: Saturday, October 27, 2018

11:30 a.m.

Beach Marble History in Wildwood, New Jersey and Beyond

The National Marbles Tournament has been held in Wildwood since 1922. Learn about the history of beach marbles found locally and why they’re found on other beaches around the world.   The lecture will feature Doug Watson, board member of the National Marbles Tournament explaining the history of the tournament followed by Mary McCarthy, who will showcase her collection of vintage sea marbles while discussing the many types of marbles you would find along the East Coast and beyond.

Screen Shot 2018-07-10 at 8.43.28 AMDoug Watson has been involved with the game of marbles for over 20 years. He won the 1999 National Marbles Tournament at age 14. With a team of other mibsters, he traveled to England to compete at the World Marbles Tournament. Doug has competed in the U.S. Marble Championship, Rolley Hole Tournament in Tennessee, the Former National Champions Tournament, and the NMT alumni tournament held every 5 years in Wildwood.  In more recent years, he has taken to the microphone on the Wildwood beach as emcee for the annual National Marbles Tournament in June; he’s also a committee member, continuing the tournament’s 95-year tradition.  Doug also runs a local marble club in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, where he coaches kids between the ages of 7-14 to learn the competitive side of playing marbles. This year he coached the National Champion runner-up. He is an avid collector of antique and contemporary glass artists marbles.

Screen Shot 2018-07-08 at 10.13.55 PMMary McCarthy is Education Chair and a Board Member of the North American Sea Glass Association and Co-Executive Director of The Sea Glass Center nonprofit. She is a bestselling author, Reiki master, and lifelong journalist and editor including work for Salon.com, the Washington Post, Philadelphia Inquirer, Baltimore SunGlassing magazine, Chesapeake Family and splicetoday.com.  She is the founder of thehealingbeach.com. In addition to many conferences, she has lectured at American University, University of Maryland, The Writer’s Center, and she teaches at Inn at Perry Cabin in St. Michaels, MD. She is a mother of four and beachcombs and kayaks on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

 

2:00 p.m.

Bottle Bottoms, Lips, and More

Richard LaMotte returns as our keynote lecturer with an informative sea glass identification lecture covering tips for dating unique bottle shards top to bottom. Learn techniques to quickly discern which bottle bottoms and lips in your collection date prior to 1800, 1860, 1900 and 1950.

Screen Shot 2018-07-08 at 10.14.50 PMRichard LaMotte is the author of the award-winning book Pure Sea Glass and a sequel titled The Lure of Sea Glass. He was a co-founder and past-president of the North American Sea Glass Association.  Richard works and lives near the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland where he began sea glass hunting in 1999. In 2002 he began researching glass history for a lecture which led to extensive research into glass colors, as well as the physics and chemistry behind the frosted glass found along the shoreline. In 2006 Pure Sea Glass was awarded first place for non-fiction in Writer’s Digest 13thAnnual Self-Published Book Competition.  Richard and his book have been featured in The Washington Post, on Martha Stewart Living TVCoastal LivingParade Magazine, Baltimore SunThe Boston Globe, Delaware Beach Life, on NPR and Maryland Public Television.

 

Lectures: Sunday, October 28, 2018

11:30 a.m.

Sea Glass Sourcing: Beaches Known to Relinquish Specific Finds

Discover how exploring beaches can help you connect to the sources of unique finds based on local history.   Ellie Mercier will share her passion for sea glass with her informative lecture on sea glass hunting and what makes each place unique.

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Ellie Mercier, a current as well as former NASGA board member and longtime member of the association, has lectured at several beachcombing events and is the author of The Sea Glass Companion, a comprehensive hobby guide. When she isn’t teaching college English, writing, or working in her sea glass studio, Ellie is likely to be found combing along the Chesapeake Bay. She is also a proud mother and grateful daughter, and is especially thankful for her husband John, who puts up with her compulsion to bring home every stray remnant that rolls ashore.

 

2:00 p.m.

Hurricane Maria: Renewal, Hope and the Love of Sea Glass

One island’s story of destruction and rebuilding through the lens of the sea glass community.

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Carolyn Pigford is a sea glass hunter, diver, and owner of Huntress by Sea jewelry. Originally from the foothills of Maryland, Carolyn has been sea glass hunting in Puerto Rico since 2008 and a full time resident there since 2014 when she started making sea glass jewelry. After Hurricane Maria, Carolyn was amazed by the way the sea glass community came together to help the victims of Hurricane Maria and is sharing some of the stories of the rebuilding and how the beachcombing community has been affected in Puerto Rico.

NASGA Meet the Member – Steve Gladhill and Tammy Thatcher, STBeachFinds

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?

SteveTammy

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.

Steve hard at work

 

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.

NASGA Meet the Member – Wendy Garver – Silverwhimsies Jewelry

NASGA’s Meet the Member Interview- Wendy Garver, Silverwhimsies Jewelry

Wendy Garver is the owner of Silverwhimsies Jewelry. She is very passionate about creating unique and special pieces for people who want something a little bit different. If we had to describe her jewelry we would say it’s very organic. Leaving the sea glass in its original sea tumbled state is essential to how she designs her jewelry. Unlike gems and cabochons, sea glass has little nooks and crannies that the bezel folds in to creating uneven, gnarly shapes. Another important element in her jewelry designs is the use of scrap silver. She melts down whatever scrap silver she has then she hammers, flattens and shapes the silver so it echo’s the lines of the sea glass. She never knows what she’s going to end up with until the piece is finished. Each piece of Silverwhimsies Jewelry is one of a kind.

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

A:  Rebecca Ruger of Glassing Magazine was following me on Instagram and she contacted me to tell me about NASGA. I was just starting out with my business and knew nothing about NASGA but I applied and happily I was accepted. That was 2 years ago!

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

Me a work (1)A: My sister gave me a jar full of sea glass that she had collected from around the world. I was learning about bezeling stones and thought I’d give bezeling a piece of the sea glass s try. I loved the final product! I realized that I much preferred the organic shapes to the very defined cabochons. I never could color inside the lines.

 

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. 

AI took a Metalsmith class at our local college and fell in love. I experimented with copper in class and then moved on to sterling silver which is my metal of choice. Fusing the silver is a major part of my designs. This technique is very unpredictable and takes some practice but the results are as organic as the sea glass. Nothing goes to waste at my bench. My silver scrap box is my go to destination when I’m starting a piece which I then fuse to new, virgin silver. The end result is a recycled piece of 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: I collect sea glass to make my jewelry.

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

A: I love doing shows throughout the year. The feedback is very important to me, it’s my fuel. Keeping track of my inventory is my biggest challenge but I’m developing a system to track what sells at different shows. Square has a fantastic inventory system and I highly recommend it. The initial input of your inventory is a daunting task but from then on you just add what you make each day. Now when I sell a piece I can pull up the inventory number on my ipad and Square does the rest. It’s full of reports and it allows you to track your business. I love it!

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

A: Having the NASGA logo on my website has brought me many customers. I think it gives the artist credibility and assures the customer that I deal with only real sea glass.

 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: I have applied and hope to be at Wildwood in the fall. Last year in Ocean City, Maryland was my first NASGA show and it was a great success. I loved being able to meet so many talented artist and meet the brains behind the operation. Loved it!

Me

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

A: I’m a workalcoholic and spend most day light hours at my bench. I have a crazy 4 year old yellow lab that requires a whole lot of attention which I love being able to provide. Working from home has so many benefits, that being one of them.

 

 

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 keep my website up to date with shows that I participate in. It also has the “about” page that fills in the gaps and my contact information is available there as well.

The Slowly Vanishing Gems

by Ellie Mercier

While beachcombing last week, I began to reminisce about the frequent “aha moments” associated with the thrill of the hunt. Less than two decades ago, a morning stroll along my usual stretch of the Chesapeake Bay would undoubtedly yield a pail full of treasures, including smoothly tumbled bottlenecks, colorful shards of historic pottery, and cobalt Bromo-Seltzer bottles, which were manufactured in Baltimore between the turn-of-the-century and the 1970s.

However, my fond memories of bountiful finds faded as I pondered the gradual decline of sea glass carried ashore with each passing year. Although a variety of circumstances have contributed to the slowly vanishing gems, legislation passed in the mid-to-late twentieth century to protect the environment is largely responsible. Without a doubt, the state of the environment takes precedence over a mere hobby, and regulations designed to cleanup the oceans have certainly benefited global ecology and marine life. Yet ever since the 1970s, when the centuries-long practice of discarding refuse into the world’s waterways came to a halt, discovering sea glass has become increasingly more challenging. Probably the most drastic threat to the hobby was the abrupt closing of popular dumpsites adjacent to rivers and beaches, which cutoff an endless supply of bottles and jars that would otherwise have been washed ashore decades later in the form of desirable, frosty finds.

Also responsible for the dwindling number of tumbled treasures, although to a much lesser degree than environmental regulations, was the widespread switch from glass to plastic. As Digger Odell, the notable bottle author and collector states, “Plastic was the undoing of the glass bottle” (bottlebooks.com). Some ecologists believe that Tupperware, introduced in 1946, paved the way for the plastic bottle. Yet manufacturing bottles from plastic was not affordable until the 1960s, when high-density Polyethylene (PET) became available, and soon thereafter, plastic became preferred over glass due to the lighter weight and lower cost. In fact, only ten years after switching to cans, Coca-Cola began to use plastic bottles in 1970.

According to Odell, “The invention of PET plastic forced both Owens of Illinois and Continental Can Company to join the movement to plastic.” Michael J. Owens, of the Owens Bottle Company founded in 1903, is credited with the invention of the automatic bottle machine (ABM), and avid collectors are likely to possess numerous remnants derived from Owens bottles and jars. Incidentally, the company, which was renamed the Owens Bottle Machine Corporation in 1907, became the Owens – Illinois Glass Company in 1929 due to a merger and continues to produce over half of the world’s glass containers.

Although advancements in bottle production have had little impact on the existing quantity of sea glass, the same cannot be said for the quality of found treasure. When the era of hand-blown bottles came to end during the late nineteenth century, bottles lost many of their charming qualities, characteristics that boast historical significance and often provide clues to effectively date and identify finds. To illustrate, bottle bases that possess a pontil mark – a brownish or reddish residue caused by the removal of a punty rod, a long tool that was used to hold the hot bottle while the lip was manually formed – date prior to 1858, while shards that feature hand-tooled lips are associated with bottles produced between 1870 and 1910. Other clues that enable collectors to identify found treasure include color, evidence of embossing, and bubbles present in the glass. Conversely, all bottles manufactured after the mid-1920s are machine-made and reflect little variation. Finds derived from such objects are limited to typical machine-produced shades of colorless, amber, and green, and possess thin even mold seams that rise all the way to the bottle’s lip.

A steady decline in shipwrecks has also played a small part in the dwindling quantity of treasure swirling through the waterways. Again, alike environmental regulations, the correlation between shipwrecks and the quantity of sea glass is not at all intended to minimize the vital importance of safer ship travel. Credit for the decline in shipwrecks largely belongs to advancements in navigational technology, improved ship design, and international maritime legislation.

Historically, more ships have wrecked due to running aground on rocks, sandbars, or coral reefs, so state-of-the-art improvements in navigation have particularly increased the safety of ships close to land. Yet these very developments have also had a small impact on the quantity of remnants that wash ashore. Because glass and pottery do not float, treasure that escapes into the sea during a wreck rarely travels far from the point of entry into the water. Thus, unless a shipwreck occurs near the coast, it is unlikely that any potential finds would be carried to shore. However, more relevant to the dwindling supply of sea glass is the fact that close to three million wrecks remain undiscovered on the ocean floor, many of which are trapped in the depths of the sea, so the challenge for beachcombers is not a lack of shipwrecked treasure, but the inability to access the treasure.

As my search along the bay came to an end, a glimpse into my not-quite-half-full pail proved to be a cruel reminder of the circumstances that plague collectors. Feeling defeated, I began to ascend the steep wooden stairway to the top of the cliffs, all the while striving to invent a silver lining. Suddenly, a second glance into my pail generated an unexpected epiphany: alike other pleasures enjoyed in moderation, such as the occasional indulgence in a banana split, perhaps the case of the slowly vanishing gems simply warrants further celebration of the “aha moments.” With a brighter outlook, I reached into the pail to inspect my finds. My fingers first encountered assorted seashells, followed by a few prized pieces of driftwood and a sprinkling of shark’s teeth, all of which I looked forward to incorporating into projects. Eventually, my sandy paws made their way to the bottom of the bucket and retrieved two handfuls of smoothly tumbled, frosty gems, and despite the ordinary colors, I relished in the moment.

NASGA Meet the Member – Anne Marie Johnson – Sea Glass Treasures/Seaglassin

NASGA’s Meet the Member Interview- Anne Marie Johnson, Sea Glass Treasures/Seaglassin

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

A: In 2006, my brother Romeo and I, and my sister Anita and her husband Willy attended the very first large venue of the North American Sea Glass Festival (NASGA) held in Santa Cruz, CA. We attended as exhibitors and met newfound friends and soon to become board members Charles Peden, Richard LaMotte, Teri Reed, Jennifer Reed, Lisa Hall, Sharon Umbaugh, Linda Jereb, Mary Beth Beuke and Cindy Kuhn. As a result, we began learning about the history of sea glass, its competition with artificial sea glass and its true value in its natural state. When Romeo learned that we could become members of the association, we took the next step of joining NASGA. Luckily, I’ve been able to continue my membership for 11 years and have attended every festival to date.

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

A: We were already avid collectors of sea glass on Prince Edward Island, Canada near an old dumpsite that held the treasures from 25 to 50 years ago and possibly even 100 years. It was also in an area known for many shipwrecks from the past. Sea Glass had been brought to our attention by our brother Richard who was living in New Brunswick and already had a sizable collection. Others in the family like Carmella and Yvette had collected it years ahead of this, especially the blue and rare colors. Yvette’s husband George would bring a cupful of blue pieces every now and then to my sister Carmella who was already creating nautical wreaths and ornaments.

In 2006, when I retired from being a principal’s secretary at our local north central Wisconsin school, I flew to Prince Edward Island once or twice a year to help my 90 + year old mother who needed 24/7 care. She had raised 14 children, and all of us tried to share whatever time we could to make her life pleasant. For respite care for myself, I would take in some beach therapy! The constant lapping of the waves, the wind, sun, rain and sometimes snow on my face, the sound of the seagulls overhead, the lighthouse in the distance and the time of solitude were just what I needed. Finding beautiful sea glass pieces along the way was just an added bonus!

Being a songwriter, I also used this time to write songs “in my head” and try to remember them till I got back to Mom’s to write them down. I did this as she sat patiently sorting my sea glass. She loved to hear and admire our special pieces and talk of our adventures and our upcoming entrepreneurship.

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: As my collection increased, so did my desire to use it creatively. I enlisted the help of my brother Richard’s wife Geri, who was so accommodating in helping me get started. Using the simplest design, I made my first pair of dangle earrings out of jewelry findings she sent to me. From that time on, my designs have taken on a life of their own, and I continue to be inspired to try something new. Wire wrapping is one of my favorites as each piece has a unique style due to its shape and size. But from the very start, I’ve always preferred simplicity. So I guess I could be called a true minimalist. My simple designs have been appreciated with positive reviews.

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: As many collectors find, we have many common colors of sea glass, but the rare colors come along less frequently. So there’s always a good reason to search. My most favorite pieces of sea glass are bottle stoppers and marbles. I’ve sold wire wrapped marbles but have never been able to part with my treasured bottle stoppers. Believe it or not, I found one of my favorite bottle stoppers (a black one) near the Navy Pier in Chicago while having met my daughter there for her research work. As an added bonus, we visited the Abegweit Ferry, which used to run between Cape Tormentine, NB and Port Borden, PEI, now docked and used by the Columbia Yacht Club, Chicago.

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

A: One of the favorite joys of my business is educating others on the history of sea glass, and the techniques of drilling sea glass. I offer jewelry tips if requested, as I man my booth at festivals. Hearing other’s sea glass stories are often enlightening as well. Over the years, my husband and I have traveled to Sea Glass Beach, Hawaii, and Monterey, Santa Cruz, Davenport and Fort Bragg in California. You get a different perspective in each location when talking to locals who have been sea – glassing in those areas for years. I also appreciate my husband’s enthusiasm and support with business ideas, traveling plans, computer technical advice, and drilling of sea glass, which have been invaluable.

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

A: NASGA benefits me in my marketing, as I use its policy of authenticity as my push for using no artificial sea glass. Talking about my NASGA participation and my membership in the “about page” of my website makes me look professional. I also appreciate donating to environmental causes through our organization. In 2016, I was on the NASGA communications committee, helping to organize the upcoming sea glass festival in Ocean City Maryland. This year I plan to attend the Wildwood Sea Glass Festival in Oct. 2018.

 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: Many of the NASGA festivals have also been an excuse for a mini family reunion. One year, we actually had 12 family members attend from PEI, Ontario, North Carolina, Washington DC and Wisconsin. My desire is to continue my business into my 80s and possibly 90s. It makes life interesting and meaningful and gives me a purpose! A memorable experience began at one of my NASGA booths when I sold a rare red sea glass pendant necklace to an appreciative customer. Little did I know that a year later, she would surprise me by traveling a thousand miles to Prince Edward Island to attend the Mermaid Tears Sea Glass Festival while sporting her rare red sea glass necklace. Believe me, it was a surprise I will always remember. Ellie Mercier, who was the speaker on PEI that year, was especially impressed and remembers it as well!

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

A: Other than sea glass collecting and making jewelry, my hobbies include swimming, walking, singing and songwriting. In 2002, I had some of my songs recorded professionally in a CD called “Songs of the Sea”. Most of my songs describe the beauty and warmth of the ocean, nature and family on Prince Edward Island. In one of them, I also describe my sea glass journey.

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: My business website, seaglassin.etsy.com, currently has approximately 450 listings of my sea glass jewelry with more than 2600 sales. My upcoming events include the annual NASGA Sea Glass Festival in Wildwood, N.J, the Santa Cruz Sea Glass Festival, the Erie and Buffalo Coastal Festivals, the Mabel Tainter Victorian Theatre in my hometown of Menomonie, Wisconsin, and the Mermaid Tears Sea Glass Festival on Prince Edward Island. This summer we will celebrate the Mermaid Tears 10th Anniversary Sea Glass Festival on July 28 – 29 with our very own Richard LaMotte as the guest speaker!