PORTER | A pirate’s booty of opaque green, blue and milk-colored gems lay before them.
Students at the Beach Glass Jewelry workshop at Indiana Dunes State Park were ready to turn the colorful glass pieces into works of jewelry art.
Three filled-to-capacity workshops offered newbie jewelry makers the materials, tools and instructions to create one-of-a-kind treasures from the trash.
Nature creates beach glass from glass pieces that have found their way to lake or ocean, workshop leader Amber Ross said. When the glass is tumbled by waves and sand, it acquires a smooth, sometimes polished texture.
Many collect beach glass for its beauty, but Ross hoped participants would enjoy taking it a step further by creating unique pendants, bracelets and rings.
“I just learned a couple of months ago,” said Ross, an IDSP naturalist. “It’s exciting — I love it. I get to interact with the crowd and make it personal.”
Most workshop participants used beach glass Ross provided, but some brought their own.
Jean Jannasch attracted attention with her coffee can full of beach glass she collected from the shorelines of lakes Michigan and Superior.
“We’ve been collecting it for quite a long time,” said Jannasch, of Valparaiso. “That’s why I was excited about this ... to see if I can make something with it.”
Kelly Clark brought her own silver turtle charm to add to the beach glass necklace she was creating for her daughter.
“I saw this on Facebook. ... I thought I’d jump onboard and give it a try,” said Clark, of Chesterton. “If it turns out, it would be nice. If it doesn’t, I’ll keep it for myself.”
Donna Knoll, of Michigan City, brought beach glass that she and her husband found in Aruba.
“He asked me, ‘What are you going to do with that?’” Knoll said. “I said, 'I don’t know, but I know it’s popular.'”
Knoll was inspired by beach glass jewelry she saw in a gift shop.
“I thought it can’t be that hard to make,” Knoll said.
Ross was pleased with the positive response toward the class, and speculated many were making Christmas gifts for friends and family members.
“With as good a turnout as we’ve had, we might do it again in the spring, especially around a holiday,” Ross said.