Girl vs. Island: Sea Glass Therapy

I know I have mentioned sea glass hunting a few times. But I hadn’t dedicated a whole post to sea glass, and it deserves it, so here we are.

Renting the cottage on Tilghman Island for summer (and now fall) weekends to write a novel* has been quite an enlightening experience in many ways. Spending time alone and in my own four walls for the first time taught me a lot about who I am. Not to get all Oprah-y on you with a bunch of self-discovery bullshit or anything. But to be honest, I’m kind of a different person now than when I signed the lease to that place back in May. Not in a bad way. Just different.

It actually is kind of ‘major life journey’ish. And you probably don’t want to hear me wax poetically on about that… so for today I will just tell you about the sea glass.

I have been sea glass hunting for nearly a decade and a half that I’ve lived here on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. When my teenagers were little, I used to take them to a beach called Betterton Beach up in Kent County, and that’s where we started finding it. Over the years we collected a jar or two of mostly white, brown, green, and the rare cobalt blue piece.

But when I started staying on Tilghman Island I realized that its location where the Choptank River meets the Chesapeake Bay, combined with its rich history (island settled by Choptank Indians) meant that the sea glass abundance and quality were beyond compare on the Eastern Shore.

The challenge? Well, technically there aren’t any beaches on Tilghman Island. Like other islands in the Chesapeake, it is basically sinking. The water level is rising rapidly each year, and the land erosion I saw in just three months is astounding. Pretty soon there won’t be any more sea glass hunting on T.I., unless you have scuba gear and love murky water.

But I have found (and charmed property owners into letting me search for) the last few sea glass spots on the island. Above is a picture I took of what I found in a day. Whole bottles, purple glass, turquoise, lots of blues, and the most amazing thing: the pottery. Notice the pig snout and the teacup handle? I also have pinks, yellows- and even the two most rare colors in all of sea glass hunting: red and black. In total, I have a crab bushel full that I’ve collected this summer.

So what am I going to do with it all?

My first sea glass necklace

So what am I going to do with it all besides hoard it? Well, I started making some jewelry. Above was my first piece. I think I’ve made around 10-12 so far. I gave the first half of those away to friends with birthdays and my daughters, and now I am sort of stocking some pieces to eventually be for sale.

Although I completely love and could not do without my real therapist, hunting for sea glass has been the best therapy of my life. Seriously, it’s kind of like “Everything I Ever Needed to Know in Life I Learned From Sea Glass Hunting.”

Sea glass is simple. If it’s a pretty piece that’s worn enough on all the sides, you keep it. Even if it isn’t perfect, you keep the blue because it’s rare. You throw back the pieces that aren’t ready yet- they are just broken glass, not sea glass. There’s a difference. The best pieces are the most worn pieces, and that’s because they have been tumbled the longest and the hardest.

They’ve been through the most, and they are the most beautiful. Even Oprah would agree.

Comments

comments

  1. Lisa Nolan

    October 10, 2012 at 1:17 am

    So love your post on sea glass, and your hide-away for writing your novel! Jealous? Who me? Hell yes! Well, somebody has to stick it out in the wild and write… and collect sea glass!

    And I think your idea to sell it as jewelry is awesome! I'd so tell my hubby to buy me some sea-glass earrings for my birthday!

    P.S. Thanks for being a part of my mom-writer Pinterest boards, and because of the writers you pinned early on in the process, my writing world has expanded (God forbid). Seriously! I could write an essay about it but I will spare you… And I'm not smooching butt to get a free pair of earrings from you, or a free first draft of your novel (although I am an independent publisher so maybe that's not a bad idea).

    I also started a new Facebook group for the mom-writers on the Pinterest board, cause, you know, we can never get enough time on Facebook. http://www.facebook.com/groups/MomsWhoWriteandBlo

    P.S.S The Halloween bitch epostcard was OMG hilarious! I should get that on a T-shirt and wear it as my Halloween costume!

  2. marymac52169

    October 12, 2012 at 9:09 am

    Lisa- you are awesome! thanks so much for reading and for your support!!!
    xoxo
    (i love the halloween bitch one, too and it would make a great non-costume COSTUME!)

  3. Cindi

    October 15, 2012 at 9:13 am

    Love everything sea-glass and wishing you peace on your island. I especially like your analogy of "Sea glass is simple. If it’s a pretty piece that’s worn enough on all the sides, you keep it. Even if it isn’t perfect, you keep the blue because it’s rare. You throw back the pieces that aren’t ready yet- they are just broken glass, not sea glass. There’s a difference. The best pieces are the most worn pieces, and that’s because they have been tumbled the longest and the hardest.

    They’ve been through the most, and they are the most beautiful." So true of life in general, yes?

  4. Dana Caffrey

    November 22, 2012 at 2:58 am

    Love your necklace, it's beautiful! I remember when we went to this coast in LA, my friend found this uniquely cut beach glass. The next morning she gave me the beach glass in a white gold necklace chain. I still have the necklace, it's like 8 years old now. Since then, I also collected beach glasse.

    SeaGlass.us

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