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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

North Beach Treasures: Building A Sea Glass Web Site

For some months, I have been working on a major redesign of the North Beach Treasures web site.

I suppose everybody has their own impression of what a web site should be "about." For some, it's purely a selling tool, or a way to market their product or art. For others, it's about sharing a passion or interest. For yet another group, a web site is about offering something "of educational value."

Emerald Green sea glass heart
I started North Beach Treasures in 2007, without much of a real "purpose," aside from wanting to put a separate identity on my sea glass collecting hobby. I have a long "history" on the Internet, and what I am "known" for has nothing to do with sea glass... and I didn't want to confuse people who "know" me with inconsistent results when they are searching for information.

Back in March of this year, I decided I needed to "do something" with this web site I'd started. Up to that point, it had been little more than a "place holder" with some pretty pictures and links to the places where I have sea glass for sale. In taking this step, I also had to sit down and decide what I really wanted the web site to be ABOUT.

I love sea glass, and I love beach combing. These have been part of my life since I was six years old. I also love macro photography-- I started photographing "nature in close-up" when my dad gave me my first "real" camera for my 16th birthday. The stunning beauty, bright colors and endless variety of sea glass allows me to combine these two things I care deeply about.

This led me to realize that the primary thing I wanted the North Beach Treasures web site to be "about" is to share how I see sea glass, through photography. On some level, I also wanted to share my own personal beach combing "experience." Everything else felt somewhat secondary. Sure, I wanted the site to be "useful" and "educational." And certainly, I wanted to have a place where people could find sea glass I have for sale.

I found myself thinking a little more about the sea glass "experience," and what that meant. Much has been written by experts about the where's, how's, why's and rarities of sea glass-- in a general sense. I wanted the site to include an "in MY experience" approach, above and beyond the "it is generally accepted" approach many sea glass web sites use.

Amberina art glass as sea glass
Investigating what "my experience" meant actually caused the web site to be delayed several months. Most of the delay was due to my interest in assessing the rarity of different colors of sea glass, and "quantify" that rarity. This has already been done, once, by sea glass expert Richard LaMotte, in his excellent book "Pure Sea Glass" (If you don't own a copy, you should buy it... NOW!). Running the numbers on 40+ years of beach combing was a pretty laborious task-- but I was helped a lot by my photographic records and fondness for journaling.

My own conclusions about the relative rarity of sea glass resulted in fairly similar results to those reached by Richard LaMotte back when his book was published, in 2004, although there were some minor differences. My "color divisions" were also slightly different, and I included "regional variations" as part of my assessment of rarity. All in all it was an interesting and educational experience... and it allowed me to extensively "play with sea glass."

And so, the North Beach Treasures web site is now up and running. It is in some state of completeness-- although there is rarely such a thing as a "finished" web site; web sites are continuously "under development."

I hope you'll go have a look!

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About Me

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1960 vintage Danish national now living in the Pacific Northwest... active in the global HSP community; active beach comber and sea glass collector; lifetime collector of postage stamps from Scandinavia; writer and consultant, primarily to the metaphysics and self-help industries, writer at OM Times magazine; artist who doodles on rocks; eBay & Etsy entrepreneur and studio and production assistant at Radio Nahmaste.

Diverse enough for you?