Amanda and Paul, Mornington Sea Glass. Photo credit: Elizabeth Whyld Photography
Amanda and Paul. Photo credit: Elizabeth Whyld Photography

 

“Behind every sea glass gift is a family that genuinely cares about the history of our seaside town”

 

Amanda Hilditch, an Australian designer with a passion for the marine environment, founded Mornington Sea Glass. With a background in research, a sea-change to the Mornington Peninsula inspired her to combine her love for the ocean, interest in research and enjoyment of being a part of a thriving handmade community in the region.

We live on the beautiful Mornington Peninsula in Victoria, Australia. Although we didn’t start out making jewellery and have quite different backgrounds, myself in research and Paul, the building industry, we both have always loved creating. As a hobby we joined our local lapidary club to learn how to silversmith.

Amanda made the leap to turn it into something more. However, the whole family enjoys collecting.

 

Meet the family of beachcombers! Photo credit: Elizabeth Whyld Photography
Meet the beachcombers! Photo credit: Elizabeth Whyld Photography

 

 

Where the idea for Mornington Sea Glass began.

When our daughter was very young she believed mermaids in Port Phillip Bay used to leave her little piles of treasure for her to find. She would leave them messages in the sand and little presents in return for the ‘sea gems’ they would scatter along the shoreline for her to find. In her world, it was a treasure hunt secretly left for her.

We initially got caught up in her excitement and then the more we researched the glass the more we discovered how historic some of the glass was and how extensive sea glass collecting is around the world. Our defining moment was finding a beautiful tear shaped drop of white glass one morning that I knew I had to wear somehow so I would always feel connected to the bay.

We started out, as Mornington Mermaid Sea Glass but it was a little wordy so we dropped it to Mornington Sea Glass. Our sea glass actually comes different beaches around the Peninsula, as well as from interstate and overseas travels.

 

The original "Mornington Mermaid". Photo credit: Michelle Pragt
The original “Mornington Mermaid”. Photo credit: Michelle Pragt

 

“The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever”- Jacques Cousteau

 

 

It’s my ‘inner nerd’ that loves the history of the glass the most.

When you take the time to look around, clues to our past on the Mornington Peninsula can be found everywhere. It could be an old homestead, a historic building façade down the main street of town, a landmark plaque, a local antique shop or an art or photo exhibition featuring the work of past artists.

 

“I love that in amongst our modern existence all around us are reminders of bygone generations who have lived and shaped the Mornington Peninsula”.

 

These clues to our past can also be buried in amongst the sands and hidden in the rock pools along the Peninsula’s coastline. Small pieces of our history survive sometimes well over 100 years in the Bays of Port Phillip and Western Port and the open waters of the Bass Strait. Who knows exactly how these little fragments of glass or china have made their way onto our shores, but whatever the reason, nature has breathed new life into these discarded bottles, glassware and pottery pieces from previous eras and resurrected them as beach treasures.

Coming from a research background, finding out what something may have been from long ago appeals to me the most about sea glass. One of my favourite quotes is from an article in The New York Times, which described sea glass collecting as

 

“a hobby that seems an odd mix of amateur archaeology, environmental monitoring and antique collecting, with a little chemistry thrown in.”

 

I think that sums it up pretty well…

 

Aside from the history and the science, there is excitement in each find…

The magic in sea glass for us comes in so many different forms. It can simply be the way the glass glows along the shoreline in the early morning light, to finding a rare colour and dreaming its age and origin.

It is also special because it is a shared passion and very much a family affair. Searching for sea glass is something that brings our family together.

Sure the ‘magic’ may get lost somewhat at times as our family is quite competitive with everyone trying to find the rarest piece, but in the rush of everyday life, it has a powerful pull on our family that draws us to the beach together.

At unexpected times friends, children from the kids school or sports, shop owners and even people we don’t know, hand us bags of sea glass they have collected. We have been able to enjoy beachcombing for sea glass with our extended family, friends, local community and have even connected with a global network of avid beachcombers!

Hunting for sea glass has a way of evoking childhood memories of days gone by at the beach, provide comfort during difficult times to revitalize the soul and to connect you back to the wonder of our living oceans.

It has a knack of connecting you back to nature, drawing you back to the history of your local town and bringing people from many different backgrounds and experiences together, all sharing a common passion.

 

We love it!

Amanda, Paul and family x