Mindy Hardwick's Blog

Author Mindy Hardwick Muses about Writing

Finding Glass Floats on The Beach

on August 16, 2009

On Saturday, I got to help hide glass floats for Everett’s Fresh Paint: Artist At Work Festival. The event is sponsored by the Arts Council of Snohomish. It was great fun!  Local glass artist, Bob Mitchell makes and donates the glass globe floats for the float find.  The float find takes place on Jetty Island. We buried the glass floats in the sand, tucked them behind driftwood, and even hid some on the flats–so when the tides came in, the glass floats rose to the surface and floated into shore. 150 floats were hidden, and by the time I left my shift at 1 am, about 25 or so had not been found.

I first heard about glass float finds called, Finders Keepers, in Lincoln City, Oregon. The city has a kick-off weekend in October and continues to hide the small globe floats on the beach from October to May. In the past, visitors searching Oregon’s beaches often found treasures from the east: blown glass floats, in intriguing shades of green and blue. Used by Japanese fishing crews to float their nets, these spheres were as small as two inches (5 cm) or as large as two feet (.6 m). They were hoarded, polished and adored, the ultimate find for a dedicated beachcomber.

Now, fishing vessels around the world use buoyant plastic, a blown glass float is a rare find – except on the beaches of Lincoln City, where more than 2,000 of them are found each winter, a few placed on the beach each day the ocean permits it. The number of glass floats which are hidden reflect the year – so 2001 in 2001, 2002 in 2002, etc….

Each glass float is signed by the glass artist and numbered. Last year, I attended the event, but didn’t find any floats.

But, don’t despair–if you don’t find a float, you can pay to blow your own glass float which was fun too.

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