Back when the environment wasn’t a priority, the waste we produced from everyday life (milk bottles, broken houseware and ink bottles for example- although these are far less common today) was taken off-shore to be dumped in the ocean. Tonnes of waste were left in the sea, and most still remain there being washed around by the wildlife and currents. All except glass, which has been through a weathering process that finishes right on our shores: beach jewels, mermaid tears, sea pearls; a material with an outstanding lifecycle. Right from being thrown into the sea, branded useless, it is smashed, broken and rounded until it is presented to us in a completely new state. These small, transformed pieces of glass have been in the making for over 20 years and each has its own story. Where did it begin? A garbage truck loaded onto a boat in Indonesia, or a waste shute emerging from a factory in China? Studies show that only 28% of glass waste has been shown being recycled in previous years, despite the material being 100% recyclable! Much of this ends up in landfill, although the remaining debris is sent straight to our beaches for discovery.
What’s even better about this resource is that the process of creating these gems straight from the recycling bin is near impossible using manual methods; the process must take place using the ocean and its power. There is just no alternative for the time needed in order to recreate this. Consequently, no two pieces are the same and it makes each one so special; something that should be treasured and used- not disregarded. It is a concept -and product- I would love to share with everyone else, in hope that they too can come to appreciate them and prioritise the sustainable material over others that have come to overrun the oceans; a material that remains untouched for thousands of years: plastic.
Drilling the glass came to be a much more tasking process than I had believed it would be, my only other experience with a drill of this sort was with sea shells- much thinner and evidently a much easier object to drill! After watching and reading endless tutorials and articles on the subject in the hope that I wouldn’t shatter all of the pieces I’d gathered, I began drilling. Initially, it took over twenty minutes to drill one piece, however, once I had figured out the pressure and angle at which to do this it became a lot easier. I only lost a couple of pieces out of the twenty or thirty I had gathered which was satisfying although I am still improving my technique.