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Video: Anne Gorham Shares The Beauty Of Beach Glass On The North Shore

Sep 10, 2021 03:20PM ● By Editor

Watch the Finding Minnesota story from WCCO-TV here

Photo: WCCO-TV

By John Lauritsen of WCCO-TV - September 8, 2021

There’s plenty to do and see along the North Shore. There’s also plenty to discover right under your feet.

“I love the scenery. I love the lake,” said Anne Gorham. “The lake has moods. It’s different every day.”

No matter what mood Lake Superior is in people come from around the world to take in its natural beauty. And it’s a safe bet their journey to get here was quick, compared to the journey rocks and stones make to come ashore.

“I kind of like to scrape around,” said Gorham. “It is treasure hunting.”

The treasure in this case was once easily discarded. Gorham, a Duluth native, is blunt about what she’s looking for.

“I don’t think people realize that it’s trash for one thing. I’m finding trash, that’s what it is,” she said.

Or at least it was. Over time Superior took something broken and turned it into something beautiful.

“This one here was a Coca-Cola glass,” said Gorham while holding up a blue piece of beach glass.

Pop and wine bottles have been weathered and worn into beach glass which Gorham has been collecting her entire life. Some of the glass she’s found dates back to the Great Depression era.

“It’s formed naturally, at least over 30 years to get the perfect piece. From the action of the waves, the wind, and the rocks or sand that it’s in,” said Gorham.

She’ll make jewelry out of her finds, but what she’s really known for are her pictures. From dawn to twilight, the sun hits the blues, greens, and reds just right. Gorham’s work can be found at Lake Superior Art Glass in Canal Park.

“A lot of people come in looking for beach glass, asking if we know the right beaches to look for it,” said Dan Neff, owner.

Neff knows all about turning glass into art. And there’s a reason why finding certain colors of beach glass, is like finding gold.

“Pinks, reds, purples, all of those used to require 24 karat gold, making them extremely expensive and just rare. There wasn’t a lot of that glass produced,” said Neff.

For visitors, beach glass is something you just don’t see every day. For Gorham, it’s a life-long passion and her discoveries over the years go well beyond the glass.

“These are my favorite things to find. These are marbles,” said Gorham.

To become a treasure, the relics have to be frosted and the glass edges can’t be sharp. The hunt for that perfect piece is what keeps her coming back day after day.

“I think it’s soul-healing, you know? You are just hearing the sounds of the waves and the rocks under your feet,” said Gorham. “It’s awesome and I feel really lucky to live here. It’s my whole life. It’s a beautiful place to be.”

Gorham said it’s called beach glass when it’s found in fresh water and sea glass when it’s found in saltwater. Anne’s work can also be found on Instagram under the account Lake Superior Beach Glass. She said orange is the hardest color to find.

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