Growing up in a British coastal village, summer sunny days at the beach were the norm. The beach was sand and shingle with some large, smooth, white rocks at one end that my brother and I nicknamed Polar Bear Island. I can't remember why and we never saw any. At the beach, after egg and sand sandwiches, warm lemonade and a splash in the freezing north sea, I became fascinated by, and collected, the small glass pebbles that littered the shore.
My favourite colours were the turquoise and the pinks but I just as easily loved the navy blues, the transparent ones and even the dull brown and greens. Pebbles collected on the beach would end up in an old, clean, marmalade jar that I kept by my bed so I could wake up and marvel at the colours, shapes and sizes of this wonderful glass. I know, I was a dreamer as a child. I think I still am. I also kept another marmalade jar with ladybirds in it, but that's another story, and yes, there were airholes in the lid and things for them to eat.
Anyway, my fascination with glass as a creative medium and art form springs from picking those pebbles off a north-east beach on the edge of a pit village. I adore glass art and when I'm up in Sunderland I always try to pop into the National Glass Centre to see what's going on and what's new in the shop.
On my last visit there I went a bit woah! There were pebbles for sale, made into jewellry and art, only there were calling it seaglass. Seaglass? Never heard of it! They're pebbles, surely? But seaglass it is. It's doing a roaring trade and it's not exactly cheap. I've just spent too much on a pair of pebble ear-rings and it's made me more than keen to start collecting again next time I'm on a beach. And this time I'll keep the pebbles in an empty, clean, marmalade jar by the side of my bed until I move back up north, back when I'm near the Glass Centre again, where I'l take my treasure to someone who knows about these things. Someone who'll help me make my very own jewellry from the jewels I find. Problem is, with so much glass recycling going on these days, will there be any
seaglass pebbles left?