Glass Floats Galore Return to Central Oregon Coast, Lincoln City
Published 10/01/2015 at 5:02 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff
(Oregon Coast) – The central Oregon coast will again be abuzz with the sight of glass floats.
As autumn leaves begin to fall, the Lincoln City Visitor and Convention Bureau begins another colorful season of their revered event, Finders Keepers. This marks the 17th year of Finders Keepers, which runs from October 17, 2015 through Memorial Day 2016.
2,016 officially numbered glass floats will be carefully hidden along the 7-½ miles of pristine beach in Lincoln City, from Roads End on the north side of town to Siletz Bay on the south end. Floats can be found above the high tide line and below the beach embankment, and are always hidden during daylight hours.
If you find a glass float, you get to keep it.
As if daily float drops weren't enough, keep an eye out for special glass art drops throughout the next several months, which will boost the total count for this season to over 3,000. These special drops will include a combination of antique Japanese glass floats, sand dollars, crabs, starfish, and holiday-themed floats. For a schedule of upcoming drops visit www.oregoncoast.org/finders-keepers.
This year, a new artist joins the list of studios that produce the glass art for Finders Keepers. Paris Birdwell, a glass artist with Gorge Glashaus in Troutdale, Oregon has over 20 years of glass blowing experience and is excited to be participating this year.
"I caught the glass bug when I studied under Dale Chihuly in Tacoma, Washington" said Birdwell. "Ever since, I have been blessed to call this my profession and am so excited to be a part of Finders Keepers."
Birdwell, who takes her inspiration from nature, crafts glass art pieces that are both unique and eye-catching.
"When I was a child, I would often play in my grandmother's garden," said Birdwell. "That is where I grew an affinity for plants and animals. I channel those early childhood memories into my passion for creating glass art."
Her love of nature becomes immediately apparent in her glass art, especially her popular peacock-feathered floats.
"The glass floats are so iconic," said Birdwell. "When people find the floats on the beach, it's an exciting experience. I think that is what makes Finders Keepers such a unique promotion. It captures visitor's imaginations."
Birdwell hopes that her passion for creating glass floats can be shared with the visitors to Lincoln City. "I want to say thank you and good luck to all of the visitors who find my floats this year," says Birdwell. "By participating in Finders Keepers, they are supporting local art and the artists who create them."
If you happen to find one of these glass treasures on the beach, including those from Paris Birdwell, make sure to share your photos of them via Facebook at www.facebook.com/LincolnCityOregon or on Twitter using the tag @lcvcb and #FindersKeepers.
The official handcrafted Finders Keepers glass floats will be signed and numbered, and when they are found, they become collector’s items. Bring your discovered treasure to the Visitors’ Center at 540 NE Hwy 101 in Lincoln City to receive your certificate of authenticity and a biography of the artist who created the float. If you have limited mobility or are unable to walk on the beach due to disability, stop by and fill out an entry form for a chance to win a glass float.
Finders Keepers began in 1999, when a local artist first thought of glass floats as an intriguing way to launch the new millennium. Lincoln City sponsored the project, hosting the inaugural season in 1999-2000. Each year, tourists continue to come from around the country to search for their own brightly colored, signed and numbered glass float. It now brings out thousands to the central Oregon coast to search for these tiny treasures.
In days gone by, visitors searching Oregon's beaches often found treasures from the far-east: blown glass floats in intriguing shades of green and blue. Used by Japanese fishermen to float their nets, these spheres were as small as two inches or as large as two feet. They were collected, polished, and admired; the ultimate find for any dedicated beachcomber. Today fishing vessels around the world use buoyant plastic, making glass floats a rare find - except in Lincoln City where these treasures can be found every October through May during the Finders Keepers season.
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