North American Sea Glass Festival: Five Things I Learned

shard of the year contest at north american sea glass festival

I learned so much last weekend at the North American Sea Glass Festival in Erie, PA.

1. One of the things I learned was that my little beach is a pretty darn good place to get glass. I had a chance to look at some other sea glasser’s collections (they were mainly from Erie, PA and the Ohio area). Nice collections – but I dare say mine was just as good as some of the collections that I looked at and I just started this year. I also learned that there’s a very good chance that I have plenty of old glass in my collection. Richard LaMotte gave a presentation at the festival and he mentioned that if you find an area with lavender glass, it’s likely that it’s an area with some old glass. And I  find a good assortment of lavender sea glass at my little beach.

2. Sea glass is hot. Very hot. I think this trend is nowhere near its peak.

3. Sea glass jewelry is a good niche to be in. It’s still fresh and the market is not over-saturated.. yet.

4. Most sea glass enthusiasts are 50+.

5. The glass on the south side of Lake Erie is different. At least it is in Erie. I didn’t find a lot, but what I found was very round and frosted. Lovely glass. I think it gets worn down by the round rocks that you find all over the beaches there.

I have so much more to write about the festival. Stay tuned!

Photo: Just a handful of the shards entered in the Shard of the Year contest at the North American Sea Glass Festival.

Sea Glass Rocks!: The North American Sea Glass Festival in Erie, PA

I’ve never physically met anyone else who collects sea glass (other than my two kids and my husband and a few brief encounters with strangers on the beach.) Sure, I’ve connected online with dozens of other sea glass collectors, but I’ve yet to have a face to face conversation with another sea glass collector. In fact, many people in these parts barely know what sea glass is.

Them: “What are your plans this weekend?”

Me: “I’m going to the North American Sea Glass Festival in Erie, PA.”

Them: “Sea glass?”

Me: “Ya, sea glass. You know. Glass you find on a beach.”

Them: “Oh. Okay. Ya. Glass you find on a beach.”

Me: “But it’s not sharp. It’s been smoothed by the sand and waves and the good stuff is decades old.”

Them: Blank look. Eyes slightly glazed over.

Usually the conversation ends there or changes to another topic.

But things were a bit different this weekend: I was in the company of thousands of sea glass collectors at the North American Sea Glass Festival in Erie, PA.

As one sea glasser put it: “It looks like sea glass is the new buzz word.”

Four years ago, the first North American Sea Glass Festival attracted 1,000 people. This year 6,000 + came through the doors. I think this is only the beginning of the sea glass phenomenon.

An entire industry of jewelers and artisans has blossomed around the sea glass movement. And consumers are loving it. I couldn’t even get near many of the sea glass jewelry booths at the festival because of the crowds.

I am so damn inspired!

(I shot the video above at the North American Sea Glass Festival. Okay, so it’s not award winning footage, but it will give you an idea on how very crazy-busy it was!)

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