I’d heard about the beach at Seaham in County Durham being an amazing place for sea glass and after googling some pictures and drooling heavily, I persuaded the family to take a run up the A1 a few days ago, as it was half term, to make a visit.
There was a glass factory at Seaham from the middle of the 1800s to the early part of the twentieth century and with true Victorian disregard for the environment, at the end of the day, the glass waste was poured into the sea. The resulting glass, tumbled and frosted by the waves, comes up as little nuggets on the beach.
I’m afraid I didn’t notice much of the actual beach or surroundings – as soon as we got there my head was down, searching, and marvelling over the way the shingle and sand is dotted with little globules of glass like bubbles, most of them smaller than my little fingernail.
I collected and collected, mostly whites, pastel aquas and greens but also metal, pottery, tumbled safety glass with the metal grille still inside and a few prized pieces of the brightly coloured glass for which the beach is famous.
Dry, you lose the incredible depth and subtlety of the colours, but the frosting gives them a different beauty.
Then I sprayed them with water…
The wired safety glass.
The wave worn metal.
And the coloured beauties. Firstly, dry and frosted.
And then wet.
They’re only very small – the largest, the one with the big brown circle, is only about the size of a penny, but they are utterly beautiful and I can’t wait to get them incorporated into my textiles and jewellery.