Where’s your happy place? The beach is one of mine. I love how no two days are alike there. The skyscape, the water, and the sand are always in motion. The beach glass I collect reflects the lakeside color palette—driftwood brown, crystal clear, azure, and leafy green like the sentinel forests bordering the shores.
After picking up beach glass for an entire summer, I finally had enough of it to make a stepping stone. I spray painted the beach glass white on one side so its colors would still be jewel bright when it was set in concrete. I mixed up a batch of concrete and built a mosaic of lake glass and stones in it. I’ll add this stepping stone to my garden, another one of my favorite places.
I’m so excited for spring to arrive! Warm weather means I’ll start beach combing again.
There’s a reason why beach glass washes up on the shores of Lake Michigan. It’s a testament to Milwaukee’s rich history of being the beer capital of the world.
The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 left the Midwest with a beer shortage. Milwaukee breweries stepped up their production to slate the region’s thirst. They continued to expand their market by using long-distance shipping to reach every part of the United States.
The supply of beach glass is slowly dwindling. Canned beer sales first overtook bottled beer sales in 1969. Fewer glass beer bottles in use today means less beach glass will be found in the future. It’s more common to spot plastic fragments on the beach now.
Lake glass begins as broken beer bottles or shards of glass containers that are weathered and calcified to frosty perfection by the wind, waves, rocks, and sand.
Maybe an emerald-hued piece of lake glass I found began with a sunset beatnik beer party. It took over 50 years in the elements to transform the glass to its current state. Its rough edges have been smoothed and it’s ready to return to land again. All good things take time.
Thanks for visiting!