Pieces of glass buffered and softened by the sea
Last year, while on my way out of the Manx Wildlife Trust Shop, I spotted a new display of beautiful sea-glass jewellery made here on the Isle of Man. Most of the frosted pieces, both large and small, were crafted into pendants wrapped in silver designs.
The one that caught my eye was an unadorned shard of light blue glass set on a simple silver mount. I bought it then and there and this necklace has since become one of my favourite everyday pieces.
With it being such a small island, I met the designer, Eve Kelly, shortly after and was cheeky enough to ask her to take me beach combing sometime. To my delight, she got in touch last week and invited me along for a morning of hunting for sea glass along the rocky beaches near Castletown.
I’ve been on a few beaches on the island and to be honest haven’t had much luck in finding anything interesting. Maybe I wasn’t looking hard enough but after my day out with Eve I think I might have just been looking in the wrong places. Starting on a rocky beach near Pooil Vaaish we walked slowly, backs stooped, trying to spot glimmers of colour in the grey stones and sand. Every now and again Eve would let out a little cry of discovery and pull a piece of blue or green glass up from the beach.
I found a few pieces at the beginning but walked past many without seeing them at all. Eve would point those out to me from time to time but after awhile my eyes started getting a bit sharper. I quickly saw how this hobby could become addictive – the thrill of finding a pretty piece of glass really hits on those hunting and gathering instincts we all share!
After an initial sort, Eve laid out the best pieces on the table and then selected one from the bunch. Then out came her tools and silver plated wire and she began working her magic. She works quickly, wrapping wire around the glass in a way to both hold the piece securely and to also add visual interest.
A twist from one tool can create a spiral and another one gently crimps the wire into an elegant bend. Within a matter of minutes she created a pendant that would have looked lovely around anyone’s neck. It was incredible to think that that piece had only hours before been lying alone on the beach under the cold January sky.