Since delicate green and blue Japanese glass fishing floats first washed up on Oregon beaches in the early 20th century, beachcombers have scoured the sands for these prized finds. The number of Japanese floats has decreased over the years, but Oregon’s artists keep the tradition alive by planting a crop of handmade floats each fall.
Beginning in mid-October, local glassblowers conceal brilliantly colored, signed and numbered glass floats along the 7.5 miles of public beach in Lincoln City, stretching from the Roads End State Recreation Site area to Cutler City. This year a total of 2,014 floats will be hidden along the coastline for lucky beachcombers to find.
Glassblower Bob Meyer, owner of Ocean Beaches Glassblowing & Gallery in Seal Rock, will make 150 floats this year, each in a kaleidoscope of vibrant color. “It’s great that they invite local artists to be part of this,” says Meyer. “I’ve had people come into the shop after they found one, explaining how exciting it was. That’s pretty neat.”
When looking for floats, train your eyes above the high-tide area and below the beach embankment. That’s the zone where the floats are hidden. And if you find one, it’s yours to keep. Each float is signed by the artist and numbered. Contact the Lincoln City Visitor and Convention Bureau for a certificate of authentication and information about the artist who crafted your float.
Want better odds? Blow your own treasure at Jennifer Sears Glass Art Studio or pay a visit to Meyer, who will create custom floats for beachcombers who’ve thrown in the towel. Either way, there’s treasure waiting for you at the beach!