The magical appeal of Lake Superior beach glass

March 2016

One of the joys of walking by an oceanside beach during a vacation is collecting beach glass and shells that wash up on shore.

That’s why it was such a surprise to discover an entrepreneur turning beach glass found on the shore of Lake Superior into colourful works of art.

Minnesota resident Anne Gorham and her three children Signe (7), Trygve (4), and Odin (2) spend much of their time searching Lake Superior beaches for treasures. Her Instagram account showcases her many creations and is enjoyed by over 9,100 devoted followers @lakesuperior_beachglass.

Gorham admits to collecting beach glass since she was a child. “My mom used to call them ‘mermaid tears’, which added to their magical appeal”, says Gorham.

Much of the glass has tumbled around the lake for years, from coke bottles, wine bottles, car parts, even dishes from shipwrecks – with the waves of the lake over time smoothing the edges of each piece.

“Making art pieces with beach glass was super rewarding because it pushed me to create with items only found on the shores. Also, because I don’t manipulate my pieces I have been very thoughtful in how they are used in my mosaics. I also love how the glass holds light. The shapes are so organic due to the Lake’s tumbling. It makes the beach glass pieces look like they were created by nature and not trash from a human.

I had been taking pictures of my finds in stacks (cairns, inuksuks) for about a year when I realized I had found a niche when multiple people started asking if they could purchase prints of my photos. It was never my intention to sell my work, but business has gone well so far” admits Gorham. She has followers from all over the world Canada, Australia, Europe, Japan and South Africa.

What’s next? “I have so many ideas! I am working on developing additional products and prints. I’m planning on doing the Lake Superior circle trip with the kids sometime soon. I am excited to document my finds along the way. It’s a trip I’ve taken many times, but never with small children, so we’ll see how it goes! Fingers crossed.”
View Gorham’s work at

Bill Wrightsell is a marketing consultant and regular contributor to Bayview Magazine. Email him at

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