My obsession with sea glass started in 2015 after an elderly woman ran a stop sign and crashed into me totaling my car. My ankle took almost 4 years to rehab. I got depressed with my limitations and the surgery needed to fix it, so my eldest daughter told me to just go to the sand and walk (no excuses for canceled walking dates, you can walk alone)!  She tossed out, ‘Look for sea glass.’ It is an absolute ‘Easter egg’ hunt that has kept my attention for 6 years solid now.

I am so intrigued by the journey a tumbled piece of glass takes before it transforms into a gem worthy of a piece of jewelry. These broken bits of old “trash” can be tumbled by the ocean for more than a hundred years. Even small bits of old glass can be traced back to what they might have originally been (some pieces in my personal collection are from the late 1800’s.  Color, tumble, size, shape all play into the value of a piece of glass. I LOVE how the ‘moment in time’ is so part of the hunt and each found piece seems to be destined for the owner who discovers it. The timing of walking in that exact spot the moment it is revealed or glimpsed even for a fraction of a second in the turn of a wave before …swoosh…. being buried by the sand, but maybe seen again, or maybe not. Quick reflexes, and often blind stabs in the water to recover or grab a piece is a sport! I love all of this! I never would have thought I could be happy getting socked with ice-cold water, nabbed by rocks that draw blood as they are hurled in the waves, to get a piece of discarded glass trash! But ,….. then there might be a chance it is a 1890’s vintage German swirly marble, or an art deco peacock feather looking egg-sized bauble, or a coveted stopper that might have held poison at bay or perfumed a famous lady!

There is a worldwide community that I am now part of. I literally have friends, sea sisters (and bros) all over the world and have even traveled to meet up with some and share in the sport of the hunt. I think the entirety of knowing that the treasure I seek has a backstory, that the weathering by the salt water and rocks add to the beauty, that the tumbling and turbulence makes the piece better…it just mirrors life.

I love that I am making something pretty, even beautiful, from ‘old trash.’ My photographs show peace and balance and reflections. I love when strangers come up and call them rocks, but are amazed by the play of light through the ‘stones’ and want to hang them in their homes! I am challenged by every aspect of this art and have worked more hours than I ever have as a speech/language pathologist (my profession for the past 36 years). I get lost in my photo shoots, in the editing, in the choosing of which shot to blow up, which pieces of glass to photograph, how and where to stack them, which are meant to be worn, which will be tree ‘toppers’ and which will be showcased in mosaics or frames. 

I NEVER take it for granted how unbelievably blessed I am to have the ability and resources to do art and pursue this hobby. I want to encourage others to just DO IT and not to give up. You have to believe in yourself and keep pushing to hone your craft and learn from others by supporting and being positive yourself. I want people to know my art is original, one-of-a-kind inherently– due to each and every single piece of glass being discovered in the surf or on the shore and never manipulated from how it was found. I LOVE seeing the hallmark of authentic sea glass, ‘C’s’ that mark the surface and show in the close up photographs that the sunlight plays through. I want people to “sea” my work and want to take care of the ocean. I want them to feel peace and to feel the po’sea’ bilities of discovery– for themselves, for treasures, and for others as we are all one people. I have become more open and have really enjoyed meeting and talking to all ages and all sorts of people. I have also discovered that I enjoy being alone with my thoughts and being free of cluttered thinking that has plagued me forever. Tumbled by the sea, discovered by me, upcycled with TLC!!!

Meet Lauri Allen

Sea Glass hunter, photographer, crafter, jeweler, mom of 4 daughters and 36 year speech pathologist!

Shout Out LA