I sorted through pounds of sea glass in the last few months.

It has been a time of transition in my personal life. I have d-cluttered with the same energy I nested with when I became a mother. Now though I am pairing down. Everywhere I seem to see where I have collected, held, saved and clung to so much. Too much. More than I want or need.

I cleared the closet of the white blouse I wore at dinner the night before I was married as well as the pink sandals I wore. I got rid of the platform sandals I wore with my wedding dress. I even gave away the red and gray flannel shirt I wore the day my Nana died. It always made me think of the day she died and not of her or her life. So, with so much clearing and with new eyes I looked at my collection.

In my early days of collecting I picked up every piece of teal or aqua or purple I found regardless of how rough the edges were or how clear the glass was. At first I held on to every piece saying, “I can use these to show the difference between ready and uncooked sea glass.” Then I thought these less than jewelry quality pieces could be used for mosaics or wind chimes.

But, years later, I have decided I need not hold to what if. If what if happens I will find what I need. So, I went to beach with a full bucket of sea glass. There were bottle necks that were sharp and bottle tops and clear glass with letters or numbers that made them seem as though I must grab them.

And in truth, there was the hunger, the type which can’t be filled unless it is overfed. Instead of waiting, trusting and knowing I’ll find the pieces that are ready when they and I are ready, I rushed and filled my hands too soon with junk that wasn’t quite what I wanted or needed.

So, there will be more sea glass in future years for me and other hunters. Maybe I will recognize an old piece or two. My daughter who was with me wants to check the beach daily to see how much the glass has transformed and how far the ocean will pull each piece. We will let the ocean do her magic and appreciate the clear space where there is enough room to figure what is needed next.


Check this out!!!!

My aunt has only been beading for a few months and has incredible talent. And she’s only been sea glass wire wrapping for weeks and has made a few wire wraps. But, can you see how pretty the sea glass is and how nice it looks against a pale palette? There are no two ways to make art. There are lots of similar styles and people certainly borrow ideas from each other. But, the act of creation makes each and every piece unique and when someone adds their own flair it just shines. I love this!

My aunt came for a visit the week before last. I showed her some basic wire wrapping techniques. She’s been making incredible jewelry with beads. She has an eye for color and detail and I’m sure this is because she is a painter. Anyhow, she found an ivory pendant that had a shell shine. She wire wrapped a piece of sea glass and the teal color looked incredible against the off-white background. It was so pretty. She made a necklace with the same off-white tones as well as adding more color. It was a stand-out piece.

The possibilities are endless when it comes to making sea glass jewelry. I’ll ask her to take a picture of her necklace and see if I can post it here.

If you have come to my site when it is so infrequently updated I thank you. I tried to write as an inanimate object – an exercise from the book Writing as a Spiritual Practice and came back to sea glass.

I. A Young Sliver of Glass

I am stuck in the sand, half buried and what I hear is the tide moving away. I am lodged  behind a rock for how many more hours? Will a dog kick me loose if she digs? Will a parent lift me up to protect their toddlers bare feet? These are my freedom fantasies and they never happen. No humans are wading in the water or walking by.

            Immobilized in a spot not of my choosing. The sky, the sand and the water are all I have to look at whether I am wet in the water or dry in the sand. I am so tired of making shapes out of the clouds that float by. I yearn to join the seagulls over head who can sit on the water, walk on the land or fly through the air. I am stranded.

            Why aren’t I a sea gull? Why aren’t I a human who can choose to come here but can also leave? Why am I a broken piece of glass without a home where I can rest? The endless pull of the ocean waves yanks me down to the sea floor and shoots me up near the surface. I am in an endless cycle which ends with me being abandoned, wet, sharp and alone on another unfamiliar strip of land.

            The glass that surrounded me is gone. Mother, the elegant opening who kept us all in shape is still in my memory. My father was the base of the pitcher, thick and solid and holding us up for years. My siblings and cousins, aunts and uncles, grandparents were severed from one another in less time than it takes to scream. We slipped and cracked on a ceramic floor before we had time to know we would be broken.

            We were swept up, at first with care, and I thought, maybe we would be put back together. Some of my cousins were placed in the palm of a hand with what looked like love. I was confused when they were tossed into the tall black garbage can. I heard them scream as they fell beside coffee grinds and paper and wet paper towels. I know what they slid past because moments later I followed them.

            In the blackness I could at least hear the voices of my parents trying to call each of our names, trying to collect and gather us back up again at least with words. They tried not to sound afraid but I could tell that they did not know what was happening. For two weeks, we stayed in total darkness, sobbing most of the time, and sometimes plotting and planning as though we could escape. We tried to imagine scenarios in which we would end up together or resume the shape we had once been.

            No one wanted to talk about how our eldest aunt, the one we all adored, the handle, had broken into so many tiny pieces we had not heard her voice and were certain we never would. No one wanted to acknowledge that the tiny flecks of glass, miniscule pieces in infant form would never develop. Each and every fragment was needed and essential to holding the pitcher together and even as we struggled we knew what we had been was gone.

            But it made no sense. We had worked so well sitting all together on table tops, filled with water from which we were poured. We were carried out onto porch tables in the late day sun, used in the morning to deliver orange juice at tables filled with people. We were used repeatedly. We had purpose and function. We weren’t disposable and yet there we were in the trash.

            Why weren’t we worth keeping and keeping together? Didn’t we matter any more once we had broken? Hadn’t our time, in service, meant anything to our human host? I thought she cared about us. She held us carefully, cleaned us by hand and never put us in a noisy machine. She displayed us when we weren’t in use as though she needed to keep us in reach. But it was she, this same woman who delivered us to our final fate, a pit in the ground where we finally had a moment of sun, air and hope only to be emptied in rotting trash with flies and ants and maggots.

            What had I done that was so bad to cause this? Why was I ending up alone?

I could think of little else for years. At first, I tried to stay as close to any family member as possible but each and every time another bag of trash emptied one of us was pushed deeper in the ground or pulled down, deeper into the hole in the earth. We scattered so far that eventually we could not even hear each other’s voices.

            Many days I could not cry. I let the sun burn down on me as though a personal punishment for breaking. I tried to convince myself I didn’t need parents or family. Hadn’t I wanted to break loose, be free and end the suffocating confinement of being surrounded on all sides?

            It’s hard to even admit that. Did I cause this with my own dissatisfaction, unvoiced? Was I because I had not appreciated the ways in which we held each other together? And why was I thrust, eventually, into the ocean with the trash where the chances of ever being back together with my family ended? Who decided I must be sentenced to the open sea where I am dragged through sand, where I must dodge shells and rocks and coral if I am to not be broken even more?

            I say I want rest and I do but then I am lodged into some new and strange place every 12 hours. I do not want to notice the trees or the birds or the view or get too attached to any one place which will only be stolen away by a large wave. The waves beat and spin and dump and abandon me but then they taunt me by always reappearing to claim me once more. I hate this existence. Why am I stuck in this agonizing hell?

2. Sea Glass in Old Age

I feel as ancient as the ocean floor, as timeless as the wind and yet each sunset makes me young. Every night no matter the weather, no matter how bland or electric, whether visible or impossible to see the sun goes to bed. Every night, from under water or perched high in a sand pile, I give the sun my full attention and respect and know, even if I can’t see her, she is setting and settling into her night. She is my mother now and I adore her. She is my lover and my north star. No matter where I travel and how many times I spin in circles she is what is reliable.

            The moon also keeps me company and is my evening companion. He doesn’t even pretend to hold the same shape and I realize that was the mistake of my youth. I had assumed I was meant to always stay the same when even the moon loses most of himself twelve times a year. Despite the constant rebuilding he returns just as vibrant, at full power, no matter how dark the nights gets and how much he loses.

            I do not welcome the cold air or the violent waves. But I no longer rage against the tides. I am not the same. The salt air, the star fish, the snails and the fish are my new family. I am as much a part of the wet sea and crisp air as any being that was born to this particular ocean. What is a cousin or a sister? If I can play hide and seek with the seaweed itself who is to say I am doomed? I was not destroyed by the cracks and breaks, and yes, the ultimate shattering.

            I will become a part of the soil and sand and I will be the ocean floor itself some day. Even if another human being picks me up and puts me in their pocket and I am joined again next to and inside of other pieces of glass, I will miss this endless bounty and I will return to it again. Nothing, not in nature or in me, lasts forever. Only the sun and the moon and the air and the ocean are forever so why wouldn’t I learn to be gracious to my new and glorious home?

            It has taken a long time to understand I cannot be broken apart from life. It has taken me decades to let my sadness all of way in as just as long to let it go. I miss my family but the bitterness and rage at life has subsided. I am not only the stab of pain I once was. I can recall without guilt, when I hated my father’s heavy strict voice booming below me, when I tired of my mother’s open mouth always pursed. I envied my aunt’s place on the outside of the pitcher because she had the freedom I craved.

            I imagine I see them now but with so much time passing would they recognize me? Would I know them? Surely they have changed at least as much as I. I am now thicker in the center, my texture is less sharp but heavy and grainy and the point’s edges have been worn down by the sea. I have chipped and flaked and there are scars covered up with a gentle white coating.

            Some day I will be the sea floor, disintegrated, not in brokenness but because I am bound by the rules of time. I will become the sand. I will be the womb, the ocean floor holding another broken fragment discarded. From that place, though she may feel bullied by tides and waves, I will love her. She will not be able to hear me but I will watch, cheer and love her anyhow. I will watch every sunset, feel the sun’s heat and witness the moon’s metamorphism.

Here’s a link to a site where there’s some wire wrapping and some glue use. See what you think and what you style is. I tend to use glue (or non toxic cement) only on wind chimes as I like to be able to unwrap sea glass if I tire of a piece.


For those of you who like more intricate designs and bead work, check this out. To be honest, I’d stop about half-way through and leave some space around each piece if sea glass. But, even with the same directions you can insert your own personality and style.


Finally, here’s a third style. I show all three of these because the techniques are not the same. Do what works for you and the sea glass you are working with.


Also, check out sea glass on the etsy site and you will find countless ideas, can buy pieces for inspiration and see the enormous range of things people make with sea glass.

If anyone has stayed with this blog despite how boring and outdated it has become I have to say THANK YOU! I can’t promise I’ll update it as much as I used to but I can say that with spring here and the hunt on I can’t NOT write.

Last week it was warm enough for my daughter and two niece to hunt sea glass in our pajamas. Right away my daughter found a blue and white marble. Then, her cousin found a weathered bottle neck. Really, this was in the first few moments of the hunt. Now that I have more sea glass I’m not so greedy when I hunt. I want others to find treasures. I walk behind the girls and pick through what they missed or what they didn’t want. How often do parents eagerly stay back so the next generation can taste some joy we feel is a secret they have yet to discover?

Today, as I picked up my napkin and coffee cup from the table where I worked I thought of all the times I left crumbs on the table as a child. My mother would say I left a crumb trail and i didn’t realize the way she knew this is because she would be the one picking up each and  every one of  those crumbs. My daughter doesn’t thank me or think it is grand that I wash her clothes or keep food in the house. She’d notice having NO clothes or nothing to eat but she does not think about the fact that without attention food and clothes wouldn’t be readily available to her.

I have taken so much for granted in my life assuming it to be a birth right. And now that I have been through a life transition I know that good times and bad times, people so dear they seem essential and people yet unmet or imagined can change places. What is a comfort is to cling to and share the treasures. Walking, after breakfast on the beach in pajamas and feeling the sun on our shoulders and listening to the water is a gift. It’s a rare and calm moment in what is too often hectic living.

To pause, and reach for a color and shape not sure if it is rock or sea glass, touching the edges carefully and studying it is a respite. I watch the three girls walk up and ahead, together, planning and chatting and hunting. I hope they will be friends and not only relatives and they will walk together for decades, be comfy with unbrushed teeth, uncombed hair and a day without too many plans. I hope, they treasure in each other, the gems in spirit maybe not yet ready to be plucked or picked up or examined but forming.

It was almost sixty degrees today and in New England that means everyone is out in shorts, on bikes and blades or just going for walks. For me, these last few days have meant I’ve been able to hunt at the beach. The air off of the water is still raw and chilly but there is more warmth to the shawl of sun the sun shoulders me with.

Yesterday, I found a weathered dark cornflower blue piece of sea glass. I’ve found blue pieces on my beach but often they are pieces of glass not yet cooked. I found a light blue piece of pottery which was also weathered. My other favorite was the lip of a bottle, wider than for soda and it had a pattern. The pattern, though distinct, was also muted and had the sugar coated look. There were soft hues of purple and nice aqua pieces as well as various shades of green but mostly it was the ocean air, the sandy gravel and the scanning the shore which I was taking in, gathering and collecting.

Spring is coming!

Ocean Waves

The waves were crashing over the sea wall last week in a coastal town in MA the day after the storm we missed. From my car I could see them swelling towards the shore and I had to wonder how many pieces of glass were being tossed and thrown and if they were thrashing and fighting or riding the waves like glorious surfers?

There was no beach and I couldn’t hunt. But I could think and dream of hunting and what was happening under the surface. The glass, the gems and the bounty of the sea is coming. It’s a long way until spring is officially here but once Feb. arrives and the sun seems to shine longer and harder, I can feel it. Warm sun on the shoulder blades, flip flops on the feet and a walking willingness to hunt are growing in me.

I don’t add links to my blogs if the blog isn’t updated regularly. I resent going to visit a page and finding the same old info (as in weeks old) and try to be a considerate blogger if I’m lucky enough to have readers.

Yet, I have had trouble posting and keeping on top of this blog. So here’s my reason. My personal life is in major upheaval. And, my lap top died. One of these things alone wouldn’t do it but together, it’s just a huge challenge. Single parenting with a child who has trouble falling asleep makes the after child is in bed hours more of a hope than a reality when one has to tip toe down stairs to the computer to add posts. So, I can and will find new times and routines. But, until I do, if you are a visitor, thanks for checking out my site once or continually.

I won’t promise how much I will be posting in the new few weeks and months but I can promise the figuring out if and how I can do it more often is a priority.

And, maybe the warm weather and the spring (hey, it’s in the not just a dream future) will inspire more hunts and posts!

There are small bits of pottery shards in one bowl. There are light blue, purple and white pieces of milk glass in a vase. In tiny candle holders are my prized bits of red sea glass as well as a larger bowl with all of the dark blue glass. On the fireplace mantle there is a collection of bottle necks in mostly thick white (all sizes) as well as some blue, brown and green and one turquoise one as well).

These bits of sea glass hanging around my living room as the wind chills through a closed window and the snow accumulates warm my spirit. It’s a harsh feeling winter and the light and bright colors are a boost. I haven’t been creating much jewelry but I’ve been touching and moving around sea glass and it feels good. There’s a pile of sea glass and huge shells together on what I think was originally meant to be a cake display plate.