Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Sea Glass Hunting with The Travel Channel

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It was last October. My cell phone rang while I was road tripping, north through three states, heading home from the Sea Glass Festival. On the line was a producer from the Travel Channel who'd recently learned of the popularity and intrigue of sea glass. She asked, would I consider filming a show with them on "How to Cash-In on Sea Glass".

After a long philosophical discussion about the history, enchantment, story and journey behind each sea glass piece, I kindly shared that "cashing in" wasn't what sea glass was all about and nicely I said "no thank you".

Flash forward another nine months and they've contacted me once again.
"We'd like to change the story a bit, do an adventure show, follow you in a kayak, interview you about sea glass history, color rarity, the love of collecting."



So I agreed to help with a show where we trek to a remote hunting spot, I do some sharing of the origin of pieces, talk about color and discuss why people love it so much.

I packed a suitcase, took a night flight to San Francisco, grabbed a latte and met "the crew" and huntin buddy, Charles, at a quiet marina at 8am one summer morning in July.

The spiffy new kayaks borrowed from a local outfitter, awaited us on the dock. After hooking on waterproof sound packs and running through a quick show outline, we floated away from shore. The TV show's producer, camera crew and sound guy followed us in their zippy Zodiak filming us as we ventured out; around rocky outcroppings, under a bridge, then further into the rougher bay.

After paddling through the fog for about an hour, the wind and chop began push against us. We rounded a point and soon ported on a beach, unloaded crew and gear. Then perfectly, the sun began to shine on our day.


The entire day (I counted 11 hours) was spent on a warm beach; hunting, sharing, watching wildlife and sifting through our pieces. The show's host spent some extra time with me and some of my highly rare pieces which I packed along in my dry bag. We sorted them by color and laid them in our organic environment on a beach log.
The sun began to set so we kayaked back to the marina, gave goodbye hugs and sent the crew on to their next shoot. Though I'm not at all sure what footage they'll cut or keep, the show will air this winter.

Monday, June 2, 2008

West Coast Sea Glass Finds and Creations

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Sea Glass Hunting - In Hawaii

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I have returned from a wonderful nine days in Hawaii. Though most days were devoted to sunning, snorkelling and boogie boarding, I did hike about five miles one day in 86 degree heat to sea glass hunt.

With 40 plus mph offshore winds, the waves were high and the beaches were well churned up. This makes for prime conditions to wash fresh beachglass debris shoreward.

I hit a several mile stretch of beach that was virtually uninhabited. Though remnants of ancient homesteads built of stacked lava rock, dotted the dry, barren coastline, no one lived there now. Below me along the shoreline, cove after cove was carved with black rock that thousands of years before was molten and had rushed downward to the sea from a volcanic eruption. Tidepools had formed in the crevices of the cooled lava rock and occasionally an oasis of white sand and coral rested there in a patch. A spot of color (usually soft teal blues and seafoam greens) would stand out against the pebbly background. Sea glass! It beckoned as a smoothed, rare treasure amidst this harsh environment.

Many of these pieces were clearly from ship refuse; bottles jars, and even fishing floats that were smashed against the rough shoreline.


When one spends a lifetime along the water's edge hunting for sea glass, one also enjoy the benefits of the other treasures and the wildlife that the sea offers.
About mid-day, the protected, Pacific Sea Turtles would gradually make their way toward shore to spend an hour or two warming themselves on the sand. On my last day there, I was also blessed to be able to view two humpback whales breaching in a bay.

Ancient, carved tiki statues lined one beach I visited. I learned that over 500 years ago, this beach was a haven with religious significance for those seeking refuge and safety. There are many stories told of Hawaiians who swam for miles just to reach this very beach.


After a good 8 days on those sunny beaches, I began to get a bit crispy which, even for my olive skin is often difficult to do. Note the beach chair, poised and ready in the back of the car in case I happen upon the perfect beach.

All photos and text: Mary Beth Beuke - West Coast Sea Glass

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Sea Glass Marbles - How Do They End Up On The Beach?

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SEA GLASS MARBLES
At left: A true, well pitted, blue swirl sea glass marble. Occasionally, a true sea glass marble piece can be found on the beach. It is very rare to find a marble or piece of a marble. Each of these was picked up by me along a Pacific Ocean beach. The rugged and rocky shores of the Pacific tumble our sea glass quite nicely. But why do we find marbles along the shore? How did it get there? What was it used for originally and why, so many decades later is it rolling around the beach?

HOW DO MARBLES END UP ON THE BEACH?
I've heard several theories (and speak about them often at sea glass seminars) about why marbles occasionally wash up on the world's beaches.

Reason #1: Years ago, many ships were loaded with heavy items to help provide ballast. Marbles provided this weight inexpensively and effectively. In the Puget Sound where the tides move fast and the inlets can be narrow, ballast is key. It reminds me of the white water rafting trips my family goes on down remote Hells Canyon in Idaho's back-country. The heavier, more weighted-down boats fare much better in the turbulent rapids than the lighter rafts. Ships along the Pacific Ocean's rough shore needed this weight to help with navagibility. Yet should they be smashed upon the rocks, the boxes of ballast marbles would surely be lost to sea only to wash up on shore decades and centuries later.

Reason #2: Back in "the day", young children played often with sling shots and marbles for ammunition. And the beach made a great place for target practice. Some children played games by floating a "moving target" piece of driftwood off shore then shot their marbles out into the water toward the target. Some seagulls often became the moving targets also. The resulting marbles which layed just offshore, one day washed beachward.

Reason #3: Painters often dropped a handful of marbles into a can of paint to help mix the batch. When the paint was used up and the can was tossed into the city dump (often times the dump was the sea), the salt water and ocean's natural biodegrating ability decomposed the paint can over the years. The marbles became what was left and each washed around upon the shore until individually beach combed.

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC
Look for photos of some of our rarest and oldest marbles in the August 2008 issue of National Geographic.
Occasionally we sell a rare marble on our website: Rare Marble
More About Sea Glass: West Coast Sea Glass

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Sea Glass Ball Fishing Net Floats

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My Latest Finds
Some of my recent sea glass finds include a handful of bubble-filled teal greenish blue shards. This is a rather rare color for us and likely comes from fragments of the vintage, Japanese and Korean glass fishing floats that have meandered their way across the great expanse of ocean to land on a Pacific Northwest beach.

Across The Ocean
These glass fishing net floats were found washed up on a beach in remote Alaska. Over a lifetime they've crossed the Bering Sea from Asia. Once used by fishermen to give their fishnets buoyancy, the floats were strung together on the nets then set adrift upon the sea.

Very Rare
The nets were supported near the water’s surface by these hollow, colorful glass balls containing air to keep them afloat. After a springtime storm, the sea glass hunter can still occasionally find a piece from a broken glass float. However a fully intact glass float is an extremely rare find. Occasionally we are able to sell one or two of these on our website, when available. Click here: Glass Floats

These were photographed by me on the beach in front of my home along the Puget Sound. Copyright Mary Beth Beuke
More About Sea Glass: West Coast Sea Glass

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Sea Glass Festival

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Sea Glass Memories:
It all came flooding back to me tonight. You see, the Sea Glass Association (see link at right) just recently spruced up the look of the Sea Glass Festival webpage. Since I'm the person who gets to help do the layout and content of the page, I got the first look at a recap of the past two years of enchanting sea glass bliss.

What's a Sea Glass Festival?
It's two days filled with sea glass related art, crafts, lectures, exhibits and hundres of crazy (in the good way) creative, adventurous beach combers who have a special penchant for those frosty little gems.

Sunny California:
The sunroom style exhibit hall overlooked the beach in Santa Cruz, California. The air was warm and the sun was shining all weekend as the sea glass festooned room seemed to glow with color. Museum like pieces were showcased upon white tables, while jewelry displays and table-top busts boasted glints of silver chain showcasing sea glass gems. Stories were traded, specimens were shown and prizes were awarded.

We Gotta Go Back:
There's a force...something unexplainable pulling many back to that alluring sea glass weekend. Though we cannot step back in time, we can review the bright photos and plan for next October!

More About Sea Glass: West Coast Sea Glass

Friday, January 11, 2008

Welcome to The Sea Glass Blog!

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Thanks for joining us as we journey the world's oceans; sharing tales, showing our sea glass finds, traveling together!


This blog is brought to you by the collectors at West Coast Sea Glass. West Coast Sea Glass, on the Pacific Ocean coast, is a studio that was developed as a result of a lifelong love with the ocean and sea glass collecting in particular.


We are lifetime beach combers who've traversed miles and miles of shoreline. Now our collection spans every major ocean and many remote locations of the world. Our collection, paired with our decades of jewelry design experience has put us in a unique place to share our sea glass knowledge with others.
Though this blog is new, our sea glass knowledge is not. Our hope is that you'll find these pages rich with information and that you'll even find them as enchanting as seaglass itself.
What's new: This fine, 7 piece bracelet is made with rare cobalt blues all bezel set in sterling silver. Considered quite rare, they've each been tumbling a lifetime on beaches along the majestic Pacific ocean.
Thanks for joining us! Please mark this blog in your favorites or click the RSS Feed button as we will update our stories and creations as often as possible.


Mary Beth Beuke - Collector, Artist, Owner; West Coast Sea Glass Studio

Please enjoy our latest sea glass video.

Turn up your volume and click the "play button.



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