The year was 1750 and it was a cold crisp morning in early Spring. As the life giving breath was blown down the tube, the cylindric shape began to form. Slowly rotating, then rotating again, the disk was growing in size until it was just thick enough to hold its shape. The glass blower was one of the
best to be found in the region and he was proud of his craft. No one could make a such a large piece of glass as thin as he could. Taught by his father, and his father before him, people would travel from far away to buy his glass. After the glass was cut, cooled and polished, it rested against a rough homespun blanket while the maker sat on a cast off log to eat his small meal of a thick slice of ham and a chunk of brown bread. The glass looked at the man and the clearing beyond, staring in admiration at the stately trees that surrounded them. It wondered what he would become. Would he be a window for this workshop? For the small house lying in the distance?
About a week later a wagon arrived. Strong men picked up the large pane of glass and carefully nestled it in a large wooden crate made from the same Black Forest firewood that fed the flames which had liquefied the glass to make it malleable. The box was packed with dried grass to cushion every side so that even the most jarring movement would protect it from harm. The wagon slowly rambled down the road and made its way down to the Kammel where the crate was loaded onto a river boat, and after a long leisurely cruise, it was taken off the boat and then loaded onto a much larger, ocean going Merchantman. Deep down in the hold, the crate was secured with many other beautiful items from the Danube. Blue and white pottery from Meissen, fine wool and other 'luxury' items were bound for the New World while raw materials would make the return trip home. Where was he going? Where would he end up?
When the ship landed at the port of Philadelphia about two months later, it was a fine sunny morning. It seemed to take a week to unload all of the cargo and when the crate was finally pried open, and the grass and dust wiped away, the finely dressed American stood back and admired the pane of glass. In
fact, several onlookers cautiously cast a sideways glance as no one had seen such a large pane of glass before. The glass was re-crated and drawn again by wagon to its new home on Portland Poynt. It remained crated until it was finally freed and carefully framed in by the finest woodworkers in the town and then topped by a beautiful pediment. The glass faced the ocean and would spend its days lazily gazing at the sea and was lovingly washed almost daily as the salt spray would frequently mist it's clarity. Townspeople would stop and admire the large window on their afternoon walks as it was quite an unusual thing to have a large window in the front of a house at that time. The glass stood proud to have made the owners so happy.
The house stood for almost 152 years and during this time it saw families come and go and suffered through foreclosures and additions and remodels. One year a rock was thrown at the glass and cracked its once shiny surface. 1927 saw a new need for the property and it was zoned for commercial use. The dilapidated house was torn down to make way for a store and the once beautiful window was unceremoniously disposed of by being thrown off the cliff into the ocean below along with what ever else was not salvageable. The glass crashed down into a million pieces and was washed away in the outgoing tide. The glass was sad. Was this to be its ultimate fate? Tumbling endlessly along the ocean floor?
Years passed and one day in the early 1980's, a young man was walking along the Jersey Shore. He had been having a hard time lately and just wanted to be alone and think. Wandering almost
aimlessly along the sandy beach, stopping only to look up and watch the strong surf crash onto the beach, he happened upon a strange looking stone. It was a frosted white color and he marveled on how smooth and warm it felt in his hands. When he stooped down to wash it off in the seawater, he noticed how it glinted strangely in the sunlight. Somehow, just holding it made him feel better. He pocketed the sea glass, wondering where it might have come from, not knowing that it had been that beautiful pane of glass, carefully and lovingly made in a forest in Germany. He displayed the piece of sea glass on a prominent spot on his mantel to be admired by family and friends. The glass, albeit smaller, was once again happy knowing that he brought joy to a new set of people for many years to come.
Today I decided to take my daughter to the beach to try and find some sea glass and shells for our respective hobbies and mainly to de-stress from the previous week. The weather had been unusually wet from a cold front that had come down from up north, causing rough surf and heavy winds. Ideal conditions for finding lots of detritus washed up on the beach. I timed our arrival to coincide with the low tide, however, instead of finding the beach strewn with frosted white sea glass, we found instead, miles of frosted white jellyfish - a beach combers nightmare, to be sure.
We slowly trailed the low tide mark, growing increasingly dismayed at not finding much in the way of glass or shells.
It never seems to amaze me how the beach landscape can change from day to day seemingly at the very whim of Mother Nature.
After carefully dodging the jellyfish, I glanced down to find a tiny emerald green spec on the sand. Not the beautiful large specimen that I had hoped for, but, as you know from my previous posts, I was eager for anything at this point.
Bella, watching me with my new found fascination with Sea Glass, asked me if she too could look for some glass, and if she could keep it. Of course I replied, 'Yes! What you find is yours!'
After about an hour, we decided to turn around and now try our luck at the high tide mark. The amount of trash on this part of the beach was staggering. We walked a little faster now as our parking meter deadline was rapidly approaching. I picked up a beach seed and slowly rolled it in the palm of my hand silently praying to the sea gods to grant me one good piece. I suddenly glanced to the left to see, what appeared to be, another half dried jellyfish on the sand....but this one was flatter. So I gingerly tapped it with my fingernail and LO AND BEHOLD IT WAS SOLID!! EUREKA!!
I held it up to the sky making a 'heavenly chorus' type of noise and gave a silent heartfelt thank you.
Bella was getting rather discouraged at this point, as little girls will get when their instant gratification needs aren't met. I told her to hold 'the lucky beach seed' and to keep looking, and what-do-you-know?! She finds a smaller piece of frosted opaque white glass within three minutes!! All in all, I think we had a very productive day and look forward to more 'de-stressing' days at the beach (hopefully without the 'stress' of course ;)
Did I mention that I have been dating someone? Actually it has been a little over five years that we have been seeing each other and have been engaged now for 3 of those years. Anyway...John league bowls on Tuesday nights and so my daughter, Bella and I have chosen Tuesday nights to start crafting.
As I mentioned in a previous post, she is making 'Beach Jars' that look something like this..
Naturally, living in Florida is conducive to visiting a lot of beaches, and on one of our more recent road trips to Bonita Springs visiting one of my oldest friends, 'Lisa Girl', she mentioned to Bella that she ought to start collecting sand and trinkets from the beach to put in jars as a memento for the trip. And so, a hobby was born.
As I have found a new found fascination with everything Sea Glass, this was a perfect way for the both of us to spend some quality time together, 'co-hobbying'.
Anyway, last Tuesday I FINALLY tried my hand at wire wrapping one of my sea glass pieces. I had watched a couple of beginner wire wrapping tutorials on You Tube (yes...that's how I roll) and went to our local craft store, AC Moore - great jewelry making supplies btw - and got down to business wire wrapping a small frosted white piece found on Ft Lauderdale beach the day after hurricane Matthew.
In case you do not know....south Floridians base a large part of their life time lines on the ebb and flow of hurricanes! I know, crazy right? Well, as it turns out, the first low tide after a hurricane is when you can find the most sea glass, and I found two out of my four piece collection that day (let me tell you - the struggles of a south Floridian Glasser is REAL folks!).
Here is my finished piece..
Hopefully one day I will make a really GREAT piece of wire wrapped jewelry, but for now, I am content to spend my Tuesday nights, practicing and watching my daughter construct her Beach Jars.
I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We spent the long weekend on the west coast of Florida, visiting relatives and, of course, glassing. Glassing?? Well...yes. Glassing is the term given to walking up and down a beach at low tide. head bent doggedly - sometimes painfully - down, looking for frosty glass fragments.
These are a few pieces that I've found along Ft. Lauderdale beach over the last year.
Yes. Three whole pieces. This seems to be rather a let down, compared to the glass filled beaches of California and the upper east coast of the US. However it was a bonanza compared to how we fared on the west coast of Florida!
After carefully preparing for my trip with hotel arrangements, etc, I scoured the internet trying to find out where the 'good' spots would be in that area. Some of the locations included, Anna Maria Island, Clearwater Beach and Honeymoon Island State Park. I downloaded a really nice Tidal App called 'Tides Near Me' to be able to tell, at a moments notice, when the next low tide would be. I scoped out a great lunch place to eat and then be able to walk out and do a little glassing on the trip up.
My daughter is the early riser in the family and she would faithfully wake me to get dressed and quietly sneak out of the hotel room so my son could sleep in, and we would drive to the beach to do a little walking and collecting. She also has started a new hobby of creating 'Beach Jars' from all the different beaches that we visit. We are having fun co-hobbying.
So...even though I came back empty handed, we found TONS of beautiful shells and we got to spend some nice mother-daughter bonding time. I am really looking forward to trying my hand at wire wrapping some of these recycled treasures from the ocean.
We truly have so much to be thankful for.
Well...if you have been wondering where I have been, I have a new love in my life. Sea Glass!
Now that my son has started attending high school, we are donating our time to service projects more than ever.
One is our monthly 'Beach Sweep' (where the city gets a bunch of people to clean the beach for free!).
One aspect of this monthly event that I have come to look forward to is collecting shells and now, Sea Glass.
For those who are 'not in the know', Sea Glass comes from a variety of sources. One being, glassware and/or bottles that end up in the ocean (for one reason or another) and gets broken up and tumbled in the sand and surf until it becomes a beautiful frosted lump of deliciousness resembling candy.