NASGA is a non-profit organization positively supporting sea glass collectors and the sea glass community with festivals, information, educational opportunities, commercial membership and more. The primary goal of NASGA is to establish a community of informed collectors and sellers of sea glass that are educated on the characteristics and significance of genuine sea glass.
Mary McCarthy will host a lecture “Sea Glass Marbles From Around the Globe” during the 11th Annual North American Sea Glass Festival in Ocean City, Maryland on Saturday, August 27th. Mary will share her knowledge and years of experience on sea glass collecting with you, particularly marbles along the shore of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. Sea marbles wash up on beaches around the world. Why? Were they used as ballast for ships? Did they come from the insides of bottles at bars? Or were most simply used as children’s toys, ending up in the waves after many years on beaches at play? This lecture will explore the origins and history of the different types of marbles that wash up on shorelines, and include a display of sea marbles from over 20 countries and waterways from around the globe.
Mary McCarthy is a bestselling author and lifelong journalist. Currently Senior Editor forSpliceToday.com, her writing career includes Salon.com,Washington Post, Philadelphia Inquirer, Baltimore Sun, editorial positions at regional magazines and newspaper humor columns. She has blogged for Katie Couric and appeared on The Today Show. She is an Adjunct Instructor for American University and an instructor for The Writer’s Center in Washington, D.C.
Mary started sea glass hunting when she moved to Maryland’s Eastern Shore in 2001. She often writes on sea glass related topics. She has spoken at the International Beachcombing Conference and Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center Sea Glass Conference, and joined NASGA this year as a commercial member. You can follow her sea glass finds in real time online at Instagram.com/marytmccarthy.
North American Sea Glass Festival, Ocean City, Maryland
Sea Glass Soiree Friday, August 26, 2016 5pm – 9pm
Sea Glass Festival Saturday, August 27, 2016 9am – 6pm
Richard LaMotte will host a lecture “The Lure and Mysteries of Sea Glass” during the 11th Annual North American Sea Glass Festival in Ocean City, Maryland on Saturday, August 27th. Richard will share his knowledge and years of experience on sea glass with you, accompanied by Celia Pearson’s beautiful images from his two books, Pure Sea Glass and The Lure of Sea Glass. Richard plans to provide insight into the art of identifying unique shards and review the basic science of how sea glass is formed. Learn why certain colors are so much harder to find than others and explore the history of sea glass. Questions are encouraged as this lecture will serve to be a valuable exchange of information between Richard and anyone seeking to learn more about these vanishing gems.
A little bit about Richard and his latest book, The Lure of Sea Glass: Our Connection to Nature’s Gems.
Richard LaMotte, author of The Lure of Sea Glass: Our Connection to Nature’s Gems, is America’s leading authority on sea glass. His new book, which focuses primarily on the emotional side of sea glass, was prompted by the many stories and anecdotes he has heard over the years from people who shared with him how much sea glass collecting has meant in their lives.
Since the publication of his first book, LaMotte has hosted or attended hundreds of events for sea glass collectors all over the nation. At these events, sea glass aficionados have had an opportunity to view others’ collections and learn more about the sea glass phenomenon. He is a former president of the North American Sea Glass Association, which annually holds a national festival for sea glass collectors and those interested in learning more about the subject.
The new book is a sequel to his classic, Pure Sea Glass: Discovering Nature’s Vanishing Gems, which was published in 2004. That book, which has become the definitive book on the subject, helped spark the increasingly popular pastime of collecting treasures from the sea. It earned first place in non-fiction from the Writer’s Digest 13th Annual International Self-Published Book Awards. Since 2004, his company, Sea Glass Publishing, L.L.C., also has produced calendars, note cards, identification cards and other products featuring photographs and information about sea glass.
LaMotte and his family have collected more than 40,000 pieces of sea glass, much of it from the Chesapeake Bay, near their home in Chestertown, Maryland.
LaMotte has been interviewed in leading newspapers including The Washington Post, the Baltimore Sun, the New York Times and the Boston Globe. His work also has been featured in magazines including Coastal Living, Parade and DelawareBeach Life.
North American Sea Glass Festival, Ocean City, Maryland
Sea Glass Soiree Friday, August 26, 2016 5pm – 9pm
Sea Glass Festival Saturday, August 27, 2016 9am – 6pm
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.
Bill 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.
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.
Each member of NASGA will have the opportunity to share their involvement with NASGA and the NASGA Mission, and “introduce” themselves as members of the North American Sea Glass Association. We’re calling this the “Meet the NASGA Members” blog series. We’re excited to share our next member with you.
Our next NASGA Members are Sue Lemmons and Cheryl Eashum from SeaGals Gallery of DE. Sue answered the questions for the two of them.
NASGA: How long have you been a member of NASGA?
We are new members this year, but have been following the organization and related links and members’ sites for several years.
NASGA: Can you share your “personal sea glass story” (how and when you became interested in sea glass)?
Our sea glass journey began long ago. As sisters, we have always been very close. We grew up camping and doing all the things that do along with that, including beachcombing. Our jewelry boxes were full of fossils, beach stone and sea glass from the Delaware coast. Over the years, we continued our beachcombing and collecting beachy things. As these things began to pile up, my husband, a neat freak (a real challenge for an artist…), asked me one day to either get rid of the piles or use them. So, of course, I chose option number 2, and I used them! We started with a lot of shell and beach stone art. It was Cheryl who came up thought to wrap beach stones into pendants. They were quite popular. Then we thought about the sea glass we had been collecting forever, wrapped it and quickly learned that there was there was an entire sea glass culture out there. We were hooked and have been making jewelry and sea glass art ever since. Lucky for us, our families have been very supportive of our venture.
NASGA: Please tell us about your particular craft and when you formed your business or began practicing your skill. (For members who create jewelry, the questions would, of course, differ from those who design mosaics or authors).
Eight years ago, I assisted a Girl Scout troop with arts and crafts, of which many were beach themed items we invented, such as shell ornaments, soaps, etc. We decided to create a business badge, which would incorporate learning basic business and marketing skills by selling their items at a local craft show. When unexpectedly asked the name of our business, we impulsively replied “SeaGals Gallery”, since we were all girls. The items we had were a huge success, and although the girls were pitifully bored, that moment rekindled my deep-down desire to create. The next year, my sister, Cheryl, joined in and together, we have cultivated and grown SeaGals Gallery of DE. Although we started with ornamental decorative type things, we moved into sea glass jewerly world six years ago- and now- cannot imagine life without it!
NASGA: Are you also an avid sea glass collector (or do you solely enjoy working on your craft or skill), and are you partial to a certain type or color of sea glass?
We are absolutely committed to finding and using the glass in the state in which it is found. We like to find the pieces with words, letters, and unusual shapes, and of course, all the different colors. We also use pottery, fossils and still at times, pretty beach stones. Cheryl is very creative with pieces that have markings or patterns, using them as a background to create pendants with tiny artistic scenes.
NASGA: If you are a collector, can you tell us about your collection and whether it may be difficult to part with some of your creations or incorporate your favorite pieces into projects?
We have quite an extensive collection, so we try to separate by color in organizers and jars. We have specific pieces that we are partial to and will probably never part with those pieces. These special pieces are the ones that we found on trips or were found by someone close to us and have sentimental value. We also have jewelry that we made for ourselves that would be hard to part with, although we have sold jewelry right off our bodies before, at client’s insistence. There was one piece that sold that way and although I was hesitant, I decided to do it, thinking I could make another for myself. I haven’t been able to find the same elements since, so, I learned that lesson the hard way.
NASGA: How has your craft evolved over time (how has experience helped you to perfect your craft and whether you were self-taught or took classes or had some other type of training, or whether you perhaps happened to discover your craft by accident or had an experience that shifted your focus from one type of craft/skill to another)?
As mentioned, Cheryl started out wrapping beach stones and fossils and then we incorporated sea glass. We initially sold some really old sea glass & good colors for next to nothing! I do wish I had kept the large lavender one from my ‘old jewelry box’ though, but we live and learn! It is interesting to look at pictures of our original work and see how far we have come in technique and style. We make unique pieces for women, kids and men, but we really enjoy making Pirate and Wench bling the most!
NASGA: Have you previously been (or are you currently) active in the association (have you had the opportunity to organize a festival, serve on the board, deliver a presentation, participate in educational-related events)?
We have never organized a sea glass festival, but we have organized several craft shows, and it is truly a challenging experience. Those who have never set one up, most likely have little idea of how difficult it is. We did host classes for the first time last year, at the request of group hosting a week-long event. We initially committed to one class for about 15 people. These slots quickly filled during event registration, so we opened up a second class, both for 20 people and quickly filled all 40 slots. During the classes we discussed what genuine sea glass is, where if comes from and how to learn more from the NASGA website and the festivals. These folks were from all over the country and several from other countries, so it was really fun to share our passion and see their creative sides unfold. During the 2 hour class, each person were able to wrap at least 2 pieces, not all expertly, but enough to get a fair try with guidance. However, some were quite good at it and to see the pride of accomplishment from each attendee was very rewarding. One lady even went sea glassing while she was here in the one of the worst places for bugs, and we were so excited that she found glass. She wrapped it and did a nice job.
NASGA: How has your membership in NASGA benefited you professionally and/or personally?
Formal membership demonstrates commitment to the cause of preserving genuine sea glass.
NASGA: Is there a particular NASGA festival that stands out as your favorite (if the member has participated in several, or more than one), and can you a share a memorable experience associated with a previous NASGA festival (whether sentimental, humorous, ironic)?
This year will be our first NASGA Sea Glass Festival, but we’ve participated in many over the past 6 years. The first one in Lewes was most memorable. People loved our items, and we did very well. However, as the culture has grown, we’ve not been accepted into that show as often as we would have liked.
NASGA: What are some of your other interests or hobbies? If you could learn another skill (does not need to be art related) what would it be?
Hobbies: gardening, making jelly and canning. Other things I would do: Write mystery stories; rehab old houses, travel the world
NASGA: Where can readers find out more about your craft or skill? Also, are readers welcome to contact you, and if so, what is the preferred method for them to reach you?
I found a red marble very early on. I sold it on an artsy seashell pin for $5.00. Again, live and learn, right? I’ve never found another.
NASGA: How have you helped strengthen and support the NASGA Mission?
By continuing to get the message out to others that using genuine sea glass in natural state as found is true sea glass. We also throw back any sea glass pieces that are not totally ready yet, to secure future sea glass finds. Also, researching the history of found sea glass.
The Chesapeake Bay Trust is a nonprofit grant-making organization dedicated to improving the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers through environmental education, community outreach, and local watershed restoration. Since its inception in 1985, the Trust has awarded $70 million in grants and engaged hundreds of thousands of citizen stewards in projects that have a measurable impact on the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.
The Chesapeake Bay Trust partners to promote environmental stewardship through restoration, education, and community engagement. These resemble closely to the North American Sea Glass Association’s mission, to assist the work of protecting and restoring waterways and coastlines around the world, by mobilizing members, making donations and educating the public.
The Ocean Foundation is a global foundation with a mission to support, strengthen, and promote organizations dedicated to reversing the trend of destruction of ocean environments around the world.
In its first ten years, The Ocean Foundation has awarded more than $21 million on marine conservation for various programs and protection of sea life and coastlines. The Ocean Foundation is unique in that it combines resources with those of other individuals that have similar goals, increasing the philanthropic impact.