Happy New Year!

seaglass party marblesHappy 2016 sea glass hunters of the World!   We’ve been busy organizing for the 2016 North American Sea Glass Festival in Ocean City, Maryland on August 26th and 27th.   Plans are underway for a festive VIP preview party on Friday evening, which will grant attendees exclusive first access to the artists and authors participating in the festival. Details will be released as soon as possible, so be sure to stay tuned to our website and Facebook Pages, NASGA Facebook Page and NASGA Sea Glass Festival page.  It’s going to be a great time!

As always, the 2016 North American Sea Glass Festival will have much to offer the whole family on Saturday, featuring expert presentations on the history and collection of genuine sea glass. The Shard of the Year Contest will offer opportunities to enter your authentic beach finds to win cash prizes.

We have a few new members on the NASGA Board and we’ll be posting the Board of Directors on a post soon!

Cheers to you and yours for a wonderful New Year!

NASGA’s 10th Annual Sea Glass Festival 2015 Shard of the Year Winner, Earl Brown

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.

earl brownThe 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 brown and kim hannon nasga vice president
Earl showing off his winning shard with
Kim Hannon, NASGA Vice President

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:

aqua brass lightEarl 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:

  1.  When did you start collecting sea glass and where did you get the “bug”?   Earl:  Five years ago.
  1.  Where did you find the gorgeous aqua piece?   Earl:  Between Fenwick & Bethany
  1. What do you think it was in it’s first life?   Earl:  Lather lens
  1.  What did you do when you found it?   Earl:  Yahoo loud enough, you should have heard it
  1.  What do you plan on doing with it?   Earl:  Too big for a necklace,  try to sell it or trade it
  1.  If you could travel anywhere to sea glass hunt, where would it be?   Earl:  Bermuda
  1.  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

Meet NASGA’s 2015 Sea Glass Festival Lecturer, Bill Winkler

The North American Sea Glass Association’s 10th Annual Sea Glass Festival in Ocean City, Maryland will be held August 29-30th, 2015 and will feature three lectures on Saturday.  Each of the lectures will offer attendees a unique look into the historical significance of objects found along the region’s DelMarVa shorelines, and we’ll also have a lecture on Greek Sea Glass.

winklerLGBill Winkler, with the Delaware Marine Archeological Society, will offer his knowledge of the local historical significance of sea glass and treasures, which can be found along the Delaware and Maryland beaches.

Bill has either spent time at the beach or lived by it almost his entire life. In the early 1950s his family vacationed in Dewey, Delaware, where they rented a cottage on Dickinson Street. That’s where his love for the ocean started. Since then, that love has taken him from coast to coast, provided Bill with a career and even a glimpse of a time when schooners either mastered the sea or were swallowed whole by it.

In ninth grade, a guidance counselor asked what career Bill wanted to pursue. He chose marine biology. He figured it would give him a chance to be by the ocean. That meant not being indoors—something Bill didn’t want to do if it would feel like the confinement of school.  Bill received his biology degree from the University of Hawaii in 1970, then continued in graduate school through 1973. He eventually left his studies to work for the airlines. My career included working for Island Air, Aloha and Western Airlines. By the time he left the islands, Bill had lived surrounded by the Pacific for a decade.

After Bill returned to the mainland, he migrated to the East Coast, where he made Pompano Beach, Florida, his home. Bill spent 17 years there fishing, surfing, scuba diving, treasure hunting for Mel Fisher and loving the beach life.

Yet Bill returned to Sussex County, just miles from where he had vacationed as a kid. Though Bill was a skilled diver, he had spent years working along Florida’s submerged barrier reef system, there was little demand for his services. So Bill ended up in the retail business with TreasureQuest Shoppe on Route 26, where he sells nautical decor and specializes in metal detectors, for treasure hunting.

Shipwrecks of Delmarva - art work by Robert Pratt, cartographer & research of the shipwreck locations with names & dates of sinking by Don Shomette. Of the 10,000 to 12,000 wrecks believed to lie on the sea floor, this is a one of a kind comprehensive representation.
Shipwrecks of Delmarva – art work by Robert Pratt, cartographer & research of the shipwreck locations with names & dates of sinking by Don Shomette.  Of the 10,000 to 12,000 wrecks believed to lie on the sea floor, this is a one of a kind comprehensive representation.

After years of selling metal detectors to people who discovered shipwreck artifacts on the beach, Bill and several friends founded the Delaware Marine Archaeological Society in 1997.

In 2002 the society completed the first maritime archeological survey in Delaware at no cost to the state. They focused on one 255-foot unidentified ship that was in the surf zone at Beach Plum Island. The fact that this boat remains anonymous is amazing, considering that it is one of the largest schooners built during its time. After years of work, we put together a 3-inch-thick report titled the “Beach Plum Island Project,” which details the architecture of the schooner. It includes VHS video, more than 300 photographs and plenty of drawings. Since the report was finished, much of the ship has been broken apart and scattered by waves, but at least part of her history has been documented.

Working in and out of the sea has taken Bill from the Atlantic to the Pacific, but now Bill finds himself on the same sandy shores he loved as a kid.  Bill finds himself at home along the Delaware beaches; although he still has the urge to seek adventure on an uninhabited island somewhere out in warmer waters.

Bill Winkler will feature a lecture, “The Historical Significance of Sea Glass & Treasures found along Delaware’s Coast” on Saturday at 11am during the North American Sea Glass Festival in Ocean City, Maryland on August, 29th – 30th.

Meet NASGA’s 2015 Sea Glass Festival Lecturer, Patricia Samford

The North American Sea Glass Association’s 10th Annual Sea Glass Festival in Ocean City, Maryland will be held August 29-30th, 2015 and will feature three lectures on Saturday.  Each of the lectures will offer attendees a unique look into the historical significance of objects found along the region’s DelMarVa shorelines, and we’ll also have a lecture on Greek Sea Glass.

Patricia Samford, Director, MAC Lab
Patricia Samford, Director, MAC Lab

The first lecturer featured is Patricia Samford, from the Maryland Archaeological Conservation Lab (MAC Lab) located in southern Maryland.  The MAC Lab is a state-of-the-art archaeological research, conservation, and curation facility located at Jefferson Patterson Park & Museum, the State Museum of Archaeology, in southern Maryland. The MAC Lab serves as a clearinghouse for archaeological collections recovered from land-based and underwater projects conducted by State and Federal agencies throughout Maryland.

 

NASGA: Patricia, thank you for participating in the North American Sea Glass Association’s 10th Annual Sea Glass Festival in Ocean City, both as a presenter, and as a Shard ID expert on Saturday and Sunday.  We’re excited to have you join us this year. 

 NASGA: You’ve studied both land and marine archaeology, specializing in ceramics and pottery. What is your favorite part about doing what you do?

 The Maryland Archaeological Conservation Lab, where I work, has over 8 million archaeological artifacts from across the state.  Ceramics and glass make up a good portion of the collections from sites that date after European contact.  Having those collections at my fingertips and being able to share them with the public through our Diagnostic Artifacts in Maryland website (http://www.jefpat.org/diagnostic/index.htm) is one of my favorite parts of my job.

NASGA: Is there a favorite beach that you like to frequent and refer to it as “your beach?”

My favorite beaches would have to be those of the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  I have not found that much sea glass there, but I am intrigued by all the shipwrecks off these shores, often referred to as “the graveyard of the Atlantic”.

MAC Lab Director Patricia Samford shows CSM President Brad Gottfried a canoe dating to 210 A.D. which is currently in the freeze drier to preserve it. The canoe has been soaked in a special solution that helps the cells retain their shape during the freeze-drying process. The vacuum removes the moisture as vapor through sublimation. The canoe will be weighed weekly and when the canoe's weight stabilizes the freeze drying is complete.
MAC Lab Director Patricia Samford shows College of Southern Maryland President Brad Gottfried a canoe dating to 210 A.D. which is currently in the freeze drier to preserve it. The canoe has been soaked in a special solution that helps the cells retain their shape during the freeze-drying process. The vacuum removes the moisture as vapor through sublimation. The canoe will be weighed weekly and when the canoe’s weight stabilizes the freeze drying is complete.                                                                    Photo Credits: College of Southern Maryland

NASGA: You’ve traveled to many different places and walked many beaches during your travels. Where is your favorite place to collect?

I will be traveling to Scotland this summer and I look forward to beachcombing in the Outer Hebrides.  I hear that British sea glass is a rare treat!

 NASGA: Do you have any beaches on your “bucket list?” 

 I would love to visit Glass Beach near Fort Bragg, California.  The photographs I have seen of this beach are amazing.

 

NASGA: Do you have a memorable beach-combing experience you can share with us?   And what did you find?

 This was not beachcombing per se, but I lived in a small town in North Carolina on a tidal creek.  A nor’easter blew the water out of the creek and a friend and I were able to walk out on the creek bottom and pick up pieces of pottery from the 1700 and early 1800s, when the townspeople used the creek as their trash dump.

 NASGA: Aside from collecting and aside from your expert experiences, what are some of your other interests or hobbies? 

 I love to travel and have quite a few countries I would like to visit (not all of them with beaches!).  I also enjoy reading about the past and imagining what life was like to past generations.

 NASGA: Thank you for sharing your story.  We’re looking forward to the Ocean City festival and your presentation and expertise in ceramics and pottery. 

Patricia Samford’s Lecture Information:                                                                         Beyond Sea Glass: Identifying Sea Pottery
Saturday, August 29th   1pm – 2PM
Patricia Samford, Director, Maryland Archaeological Conservation Lab, Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum, St. Leonard, Maryland

Patricia Samford

Tucked away amongst the fragments of beautiful beach glass you have picked up over the years, there are probably more than a few fragments of pottery as well. Have you ever wondered how to identify and date them? If so, be sure to attend a talk given by Maryland Archaeological Conservation Lab Director, Patricia Samford. Using examples of colonial and post-colonial pottery from the Lab’s collections, Dr. Samford will provide tips for identifying and dating your pieces based on paste color, hardness and decoration. Patricia will also be on hand all weekend long as a Shard ID expert. Attendees are welcome to bring their sea pottery for identification.

NASGA Shard of the Year, a collectors dream come true

Each year during the North American Sea Glass Festival, the Shard of the Year (“SOTY”) contest, is held in memory of Joanne Schrieber, founder of the 2004 North East Sea Glass Festival.  Private collectors are given an opportunity to show off some of their special pieces.  The 2014 contest showcased nearly 800 entries, and was truly an amazing display of treasured finds.

All shards of genuine sea glass from around the world are eligible for entry into the Shard of the Year contest, not just shards from “North America”.   Every beachcomber treasure found has a little bit of history within it, but during the Shard of the Year contest, it’s a time to showcase the rare finds. 

It is a beauty contest, where the most unusual pristine piece is awarded the grand prize, $1,000 dollars, and is named winner of the Overall Beauty category, and bragging rights to it’s owner for years to come!  

Grand Prize winner, Lou Marcotte, with NASGA President Richard LaMotte
Grand Prize winner, Lou Marcotte, with NASGA President Richard LaMotte

The 2014 Shard of the Year grand prize winner, Lou Marcotte, submitted a beautiful red piece found in the Dominican Republic.

Overall Winner-Marcotte shard
Photo Credit: Gary de Blois

The piece was from a glass candlestick, made by Westmoreland Glass Company sometime in the late 1940’s, early 1950’s.   The pattern of this particular candlestick is Doric, and as shown in the photo below, the original was a beauty as well.

History photo credit:  Janice Pierce
History photo credit: Janice Pierce

The remaining categories were runner-up, pottery/ceramics, whimsical/toys, bottle stopper, most unusual, historical, art glass, buttons, figural and marbles.

2014 Shard of the Year Winners. Photo Credit Gary de Blois

 

A huge thank you to Gary de Blois, who photographed the 2014 Shard of the Year contest.  To find out more about the Shard of the Year contest and NASGA, please visit the North American Sea Glass Festival website.