Born of Waves and Currents by Terry Callahan

The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum will hold the Eastern Shore Sea Glass and Coastal Arts Festival on Saturday, November 20 from 10am-4pm and Sunday, November 21 from 10am-3pm.
But what is sea glass? “Sea glass, also called beach glass, begins as bottles and glassware and other glass-related items that get discarded either in the water, old dump sites, along the shore and then is tumbled by the waves and currents,” explained festival founder and director Kim Hannon.
When she moved to the Eastern Shore, Kim found artists that crafted items from the sea glass they found along the shores of the Chesapeake Bay. “Being an advocate of reduce, reuse and recycle, it was amazing to me how they turned trash into treasure! Soon after, I would walk along the public beaches along the Bay in hopes of finding sea glass while I searched for other beachcombed finds.”
While always respecting private property, there are “plenty of public beaches to beachcomb” with many chances to find not only bottle shards, but also pottery and shards from old factories in Baltimore and old dumps.
Over the past ten to fifteen years sea glass has increased in popularity. Kim feels the biggest reason is being part of the sea glass community. “People of all ages can beachcomb for sea glass and other finds and the best part is beachcombing is FREE and a great way to get outside and enjoy nature. Finding sea glass is part treasure hunt and part history lesson.
“Many people not familiar with sea glass are stunned to know the sea glass is actually discarded trash. There are so many neat things to do with sea glass. One of the best things about sea glass is that there are no two alike, so every piece is unique. I’m always amazed at the imagination of the artists who create one-of-a-kind pieces.”
Kim opened her shop, Ophiuroidea, in St. Michaels in 2009 and soon after recognized that there was strong love for sea glass on the Eastern Shore. “I started the festival to help bring people to the Town of St. Michaels in the off season and it was a great way to promote the local artisans and give them an opportunity to sell their creations.”
The first Eastern Shore Sea Glass and Coastal Arts Festival was held in 2010 inside Ophiuroidea, then located at the beginning of town in St. Michaels. “Over the years, the attendance has grown, as well as the number of artisans. We started out with five artisans in 2009 and this year we will have almost 90 artisans from all over the country. In 2019 we were able to move to the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, which has been fabulous!” Since the festival moved to the museum, attendees not only can enjoy the amazing sea glass creations, but also explore the museum and enjoy live music.
Several local artisans have participated since the early festivals. “Some of the artisans specialize in only sea glass jewelry, some do sea glass art, some do a little bit of everything. We have some amazing pottery and driftwood artists, too! I’m really excited to see all the new creations this year!
“I’ve been lucky to have such a strong business community in St. Michaels supporting the festival, particularly the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum working with me to have the festival on their beautiful waterfront campus.
“The festival started as a small artist showcase and has grown to be the largest sea glass festival in the country. It’s had its challenges, particularly the growing pains at the old location, but thankfully we now have a new home at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, which is great for the artists and the attendees, plus it helps bring in revenue to the CBMM. It’s been a very rewarding experience and I look forward to the festival after more than two years hiatus due to COVID pandemic,” says Kim.
Kim Hannon’s shop, Ophiuroidea, is located in St. Michaels and Kent Narrows, MD.
Visit www.seaglassfestival.com for more information and tickets for the Eastern Shore Sea Glass and Coastal Arts Festival.
PLEASE NOTE: For safety reasons, non-service dogs need to be kept home during CBMM festivals, including the Eastern Shore Sea Glass & Coastal Arts Festival. Carry-on alcohol from dock or land is prohibited.
For the safety and comfort of our guests, CBMM staff and volunteers will be masked at all festivals and special events. Guests—both unvaccinated and vaccinated—are encouraged to wear a mask indoors due to high community transmission and current guidance from the CDC. Masks are available at the Museum Store and Welcome Center, front desk, and other points on campus during festivals. (CBMM website)