Stay Glassy: Scottish Sea Glass Finds
As I scattered through the tiny, vibrant pebbles, I felt something that I had not felt in a long time, contentment.
My mind is often a kaleidoscope of thoughts, feelings and dreams, always developing and creating a complex labyrinth of colourful scenes. Something as simple as beach-combing gives me that distraction which keeps me for the most part, sane. There seems to be something quite addictive in brushing my hands through the earths discarded pearls, eagerly searching for little glimmers of colour. Almost a metaphor in itself, when are we not searching for something little to keep us going, or make us feel better about our situation?
Beach combing has recently become one of my favourite past-times, stemming from my combined love of the sea and all things shiny. As I have gotten a little older, my perception of beauty has somewhat, altered. Sometimes the most beautiful things are those which come at no cost.
It isn’t uncommon to find me perched haphazardly on a pile of rocks, sporting an eagle eye and a longing determination whilst hunting for my very own type of treasure. I spend hours brushing my hands back and forth, day-dreaming and hunting for fragments, feeling accomplished every time I come across even the smallest of slivers.
Each of my sea glass finds encourages my imagination and allows me a sneak peek into someone elses world, even if it is only for a few seconds. I imagine love stories, ship-wrecks, drunken sailors, foreign lands and bottled messages that never transpired. The frostier the glass, the smoother the edge and the more my imagination is fed.
Imagination has become both my enemy and one of my greatest tools. It has both depressed me and gave me some of my most successful ideas. With imagination, anything is possible.
‘the true sign of intelligence is not knowledge, but imagination.’ – Albert Einstein
My Sea Glass Finds
What I find, nobody else will and there will never be a duplicate. I may find my fragment on a wild, rocky beach in Scotland, someone may be sitting in another corner of the world, holding onto a particle from the same bottle. They will never know me. I will never know them, yet we are connected. I may be holding a piece of glass, to which one of its counterparts may be floating alongside a bale of turtles in the Caribbean. I’ll never know, I’ll never have an answer and for this reason, I’ll never be wrong. So, without further adieu, here are some of my sea glass finds, where I have found them and what I plan to do with them.
United Glass Bottle Manufactures, circa 1913 – 1959
Found on Whinnyfold Beach, North East Coast
By no means am I a sea glass expert. Most of what I have discovered has been through tireless searching on Google and endless trawling through forums. This piece of brown/touching-amber glass is by no means attractive. It does tell a story, which is just as valuable to me as the aesthetic. Upon researching, I found that this was likely the base of an old American whisky bottle, made by the United Glass Bottle Manufactures between 1913 and 1959. Who sipped from this bottle and what was their story? This glass base is older than me, at a minimum of 50 years old.
Dunbar & Co, circa 1913
Found on Cruden Bay Beach, North East Coast
This washed up on Cruden Bay Beach in an area that rarely ever attracts sea glass. The ‘Edinburgh’ engraving is still in pretty much perfect condition but the frosting points to ageing. The edges are smooth but not perfect. Research tells me that this was part of a ginger beer bottle created in 1913 in Edinburgh. I am not 100% on this as it seems unlikely that is has been in the sea all these years and only travelled up to Aberdeenshire.
These are far from the prettiest pieces of glass that I have found on my travels but they do hold an interesting story. Sea glass finds like this aren’t best suited to be used in intricate art but can be used in crafts with concrete and aggregate. Some people use pieces like this in stepping stones in their garden but I am saving all of my amber and brown glass to make a concrete picture frame. Definitely a work in progress!
Found at Chanonry Point, The Moray Firth
Chanonry point, near Inverness is a sea-glass mecca. We visited during high tide so there wasn’t much ‘beach’ to comb. However, there was a phenomenal amount of sea-glass and perhaps more interestingly, pottery.
Sea pottery can be found on beaches all over the world but it is mostly plain and discoloured as the sea has washed away any text or patterns. Perhaps as the Moray Firth is inland, the sea hasn’t had such an effect on discarded pottery, leaving it more intact, patterned and colourful.
Sea Glass Crafts
Sea glass is popular with jewellery makers and crafters all over the world, but what you decide to do with sea glass really depends on its ‘grade’ and appearance. Occasionally, I find a piece of glass that seems ‘too pretty’ to use for crafting and so it gets stored for another day (or until I figure out what on earth to do with it).
Most of my sea glass goes on projects, like arts and crafts. I have been working on this lamp for a number of weeks now and am super excited to see how it turns out. Crafting with sea glass is definitely fiddly stuff. For this lamp shade, I have been using fishing line, extra strong glue, a template and flattened sea glass. Misshapen, bumpy sea glass is impossible to glue and will mostly fall off (which results in colourful language).
Save Our Seas
Most of the sea glass I have found has been on Scotlands East Coast, primarily in Aberdeenshire, St Andrews and Inverness-shire. On every one of these beaches, there has been a problem with rubbish. This issue is getting worse. As the world continues to produce more and more plastic, this will continue to heavily impact our seas and the environment as a whole. If you are interested in beach-combing or sea glass crafts and want to do your bit, please check out the Save Our Seas website. A little, really does, go a long way.