My Journey to Creating with Sea Glass
It's been almost 30 years since I've been fascinated with sea glass. Visiting my brother in Victoria one time, we ended up at the beach by Beacon Hill park... the sun was beating down and the perfect open ocean wave continued rolling onto shore as regular as a heartbeat - and then pow! Tiny little bits of colour caught my eye... shining and perfect. Kinda forgotten about after that visit. I was 18.
Anyway.... I got hooked again some years 4 or 5 years later working as a dive guide along the coast of BC. Sometimes you could find bits of old broken pottery especially near the native middens. I picked these up and let my imagination roam as to what they may have been. In my wildest thoughts I would find enough to put a lost plate back together... Yes I'm a dreamer. Once in awhile you would luck out and find an old glass trading bead. It was always fun to search when the opportunity came around. At the time though, it seemed more interesting to look for old bottles underwater... preferably one that wasn't being occupied by an octopus. One particularly amazing find was a handblown whiskey flask that was just laying with only the spout visible out of the muck as I was swimming on the bottom between Nanaimo and Newcastle Island. It was dated to the time my great-grandfather was a rum-runner. He was Captain on the Chief Skugaid for a time as well.
My mind wanders wondering if maybe at one time the bottle was in his cargo hold or offered as a bribe to those that would turn their blind eyes toward the case of contraband set aside just for them to do so. When I find sea glass, I often wonder what it was before... I talked with local bottle collectors too and found lots of the colours seemed to match from certain areas.
So I guess we can fast forward to 2002. I found myself with a beautiful baby girl and a whole new life, no more able to work on or under the water. That part sucked more than I could imagine... and my partner at the time kinda did too. We just moved to Victoria and I was sad more than I was comfortable with. Then I realized it was so important that I was a good mom and so I went to the beach because it helps me let go of negative feelings and really be in the moment. I packed her up and we rode the bus. I often carried her down the long stairs at Beacon Hill park while she still slept in her stroller and once again those tiny shiny bits came to my rescue. Ahhh... that was so much better. Together we enjoyed many days there and my collection grew.
When I had any time to myself that's where I went. The bigger the storm the better. I learned that Victoria used to barge their garbage
out to sea from the Gorge. My pops told me this. Sometimes my great-grandfather took the barges out as he had all kinds of captains tickets back then.
Pops told me if the weather was nice they would head out further and shovel it off and if the weather was foul they would quickly unload as soon as they hit Broachie Ledge where it started to get deep. Just in from there became my favourite beach and my journey began. Without finding any help on the internet, which was still evolving, I glued the sea glass and wrapped it and coated it with all sorts of stuff... all these experiments took away from that feeling I had when I saw it those days shining in the sun on the beach and I was somewhat disheartened. However, I knew that I was supposed to keep at it... like that voice in your head that urges you on for reasons you aren't quite sure of at the time. Eventually I learned to drill... this was another learning process that took a few serious years of trial and error to even begin to perfect, but I got it. I love the way the things I create make people feel.
The surface of the glass has a story that takes years if not decades to unfold, which is a complete reincarnation of it's previous one. When my daughter was 4 and her and I were on our own, I decided I wanted to try and start my own business making sea glass jewellery to support us. Community Futures in Nanaimo taught me how to run a business and gave me a basic living allowance to do that while I got my balance. I haven't looked back since.