One of the pleasures of winter on Tiree is a daily walk to the sea. Although the days are short and wild, there is more time for foraging, as the studio is only open by appointment. Inspired by Sophie Morrish's exhibition 'Biomass' at Taigh Chearsabagh in North Uist, I have been making vessels for my collection of sea glass and sea glass words.
The first set of vessels were slumped over bat-washed sea bricks in an attempt to get a sea-worn feel. All the glass slumped over these bricks thermal shocked, and so I tried again making blocks from vermiculite. Interestingly a Lewisian gniess rock under the same conditions acted as a successful mould. (Lewisian gneiss, at 3 billion years old, is one of the oldest rocks in Britain and is common on Tiree).
Thanks to everyone who responded to my call for words that they associate with sea glass. I used some of them to make this bowl.
Collecting sea glass is compelling, addictive, contemplative and free! The gently sea worn glass discarded over generations is tactile and ephemeral, shifting with the daily tides, abundant after storms or scarce under deposits of sand or seaweed.
It is not really suitable for using in kiln forming although I have had some success with small pieces in simple hangers. In terms of compatibility it is not as reliable as more recently manufactured bottle glass and some of it is very 'stiff'. So probably the best thing to do is hoard it as inspiration for vessel making, and carry on collecting.