When I stroll ocean beachfronts, I always search for seaglass. The bays of my area also yield up bits of this treasure, but rarely a piece so perfectly frosted as those polished by the ocean.
Some of these pieces come from decades old blown glass. Glassblowing was once a major business in my area of New Jersey. You can read the history of glassblowing in South Jersey here: South Jersey Glass Blowing History.
The cast-offs and waste, known as culls, were often dumped as “fill” for construction or used in combination with concrete as artificial reefs to curb what was even then a problem…beach erosion. Pieces of this glass can be found today in a few areas.
I like the enormous concrete and fused glass slabs that have become home to mussels and other bay animals.
My best guess on how these huge pieces of artificial reef were fashioned is that culls and discarded molten glass, still warm enough to be semi-liquified, were covered with concrete and then dumped along the shoreline of the bays. Tons of glass was likely mixed with concrete as moorings for homes. To read more about mixing crushed glass with concrete take a look at this article: Aggregates
In the above photo you can see an example of a bed of mussels making their home on a large piece of concrete-fused glass. I find these pieces of unintentional art, combined with the natural environment of tides and animal life, breathtaking in appearance. When I recently photographed them scattered on a hurricane-damaged beachfront something within my spirit responded to their undefined beauty.
I have included almost every picture I took of these strange artistic fusions of glass and concrete. A bit self-indulgent perhaps, but I know that the next time I visit they will most likely be gone. Unappreciated by most, they will be plowed under again and encased in new layers of concrete, forever hidden. Hopefully, their images will have a long life in the archives of this blog.