Tuesday 15 March 2011

Sea Glass Sun

There appears to be a growing interest in 'sea glass' or 'beach glass'. You know, the old bits of broken bottle and crockery, tumbled by the surf until frosted matt-smooth, made pleasing to the eye and hand. Certainly more pleasing to the hand than when newly-broken anyway.

Whilst not being particularly interested in bits of old glass, I do find the subject interesting. What you have here are smashed bits of human-made detritus, turned into 'jewels' by the natural processes of tide, surf, sand and sun. But you also have that all-too-human interest in objects/resources that are in limited supply: It takes a relatively long time to render a jagged piece of glass down into something beautiful, and that gives it a perceived 'commodity' value. It brings out the inner magpie.

I'm sure that craftspeople and jewellery-makers have long been interested in sea glass. And the current interest seems to stem mostly from hobbyists looking to find the largest, most rounded and most colourful (bright blues and reds) pieces. For many I'm sure it conjures up thoughts of peaceful walks along sun-drenched beaches, taking in the salty air, lazily searching the tideline for these bright and tactile prizes. It probably does not conjure images of members of Victorian-era households dumping their rubbish on the shore to be claimed by the sea.

The snow is low on the hills today and the sky is pale grey and ominous. I see a smudge of brightness among the clouds, so faint that I can look at it directly: The sun glowing like an old piece of white/amber sea glass.

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