Have you ever read 'I want to Age Like Sea Glass' by Bernadette Noll? Sea glass enthusiasts often share and refer to this wonderful poem which begins…
“I want to age like sea glass. Smoothed by tides, not broken. I want the currents of life to toss me around, shake me up and leave me feeling washed clean. I want my hard edges to soften as the years pass—made not weak but supple. I want to ride the waves, go with the flow, feel the impact of the surging tides rolling in and out.”
You can read the full poem here including the inspiration behind it and how sea glass helped the author to feel more connected to her sister for whom she was grieving.
The Fascination with Sea Glass
Many people I speak to tell me how much they love sea glass and I can only imagine the many reasons there might be for this.
For some it’s childhood memories collecting tiny treasures from the coastline, for others it’s the reminder of the power of the ocean and the magnitude of what it holds. For me it’s many things including the mindful activity of looking for it with the sounds of the waves in the background, marvelling at the way in which the ocean has transformed something from a piece of waste to a piece of treasure and just the excitement of finding a shape and wondering what it will eventually become. Because for me, I can see shapes in my head for almost every piece that I pocket.
The Age of Sea Glass
A really smooth and rounded piece of sea glass can take 100 to 200 years to form and that really blows my mind if I’m honest. I’ll never get my head around the fact that such a perfect piece sitting there in the sunshine as you stroll along the shore could be that old and I think that’s why I love using it as a medium for my artwork. I love finding ways to preserve it for even longer once the sea has finished working its magic.
The Qualities of Sea Glass
Once I've been on a glass hunt, I always clean my finds before sorting them into colours and sizes. I also try and keep pieces separate depending on where they were found as I often find the characteristics of glass from different locations varies, which also fascinates me.
Seaham glass is very smooth, rounded and pebble-like which I attribute to the roughness of the north sea and the amount of pebbles on the beach there. I’ve also got glass from the Isle of Wight which is flatter, still smooth and nicely frosted, but flatter than Seaham glass and I’ve been gifted glass from Spain before, which is a very distinctive beautiful bottle green. The wide variety of shapes and colours that I’ve collected over the years has helped me to develop the range of designs I have created as each piece inspires something new.
Sea Glass Hunting Offers Something for Everyone
As I sit here writing this, I have just been visited by a lovely lady who has gifted me her collection of treasured finds and trusted me to make something out of it for her. This, for me, is extra special as I have no idea what inspired her to save each chosen piece into this collection which is now going on the next stage of its journey, all I can do is see what it inspires within me as I help it on its way.
What about you? What are your reasons for collecting glass and what do you do with it?
Are you looking for inspiration to make your own piece of sea glass art? Why not try this beginner’s kit which contains everything you need to get started, and if you're really feeling creative, you can add your own finds and make it something really special.