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RIGHT, cradling two companion pieces, this rounded couch of clear glass from Werts’ collection lived a former life as an insulator for telegraph or telephone wires. Glass insulators were phased out by the 1960s, so if this piece could talk, it would have quite a story to tell.


BOTTOM, one aspect of a sea glass obsession is the collecting; a second aspect is the arranging. McGrath and Werts have each spent hour upon hour reorganizing their treasures; some glass is sorted by color, some by shape and some by size.


OPPOSITE PAGE, Werts holds up a favorite piece, showing McGrath how it glows in the orange light of the sunset. The two friends often compare finds, and they agree that sea glass is best celebrated with others who appreciate its beauty and the thrill of an impressive discovery.


smoothed edges certainly make the cut. Stoppers from old medicinal bottles have special places in Werts’ and McGrath’s collections, as do curved handles, round container bases or the mouths of bottles worn down to glass rings.


And both women agree that some days certain colors or even shapes seem more common in a search. Werts says, “Sometimes you wonder what little mermaid is sorting, saying ‘Today’s a marble day!’”


McGrath has noticed from her many years of serious collecting that the abundance of sea glass has declined. Beach combing competition has


increased, most societies have started to recog- nize that the ocean is not a giant garbage can, and plastics have replaced many glass products, becoming the well-recognized scourge of the sea. Rather than deter McGrath and Werts, a reduc-


tion in sea glass has simply increased the pleasure of great finds. On very special days, the sea glass seems to find the collectors. McGrath tells the story of a morning walk when a wave splashed onto the sand and tossed a beautiful piece of lavender glass directly into her path. “You have to believe in something cosmic when something like that happens.”¢


20 carPinteriaMaGaZINE


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