TOPICS > Arts

Patchwork Nation: Looking for Treasures in Lincoln City

BY JOANNE ELGART JENNINGS AND JASON LELCHUK  December 11, 2009 at 12:00 AM EST

For decades, antique glass floats were a big find for beachcombers on Oregon’s coast, having drifted thousands of miles across the Pacific Ocean.

Used by Asian and European fisherman to float their nets for much of the 20th century, these beautiful glass spheres were hand blown in many colors, shapes and sizes.

Now that fishing vessels around the world use buoyant plastic, finding a glass float is a more rare occurrence – except on the beaches of Lincoln City, where more than 2,000 of them are found each winter. From October through Memorial Day, the city’s visitor’s bureau hides these glass treasures for beachcombers to find. Those who don’t find them can take a short drive to Jennifer Sears Glass Art Studio and blow their own glass float.

When the PBS NewsHour crew was in Lincoln City as part of the Patchwork Nation project, senior correspondent Ray Suarez tested his hand at glass blowing. Glass artist Kelly Howard was his guide.

With contributions for camera from Malcolm Brown and music from Kevin MacLeod. Photo courtesy of Kelly Howard Contemporary Glass Sculpture