Debara Hafemann is a sea-glass artist. Her work schedule is one any artist would envy. She buys a cup of coffee near her favorite Rocky Neck Beach in Gloucester, Mass. When the cup is empty, she strolls along the beach collecting glass shards. When the cup is full, it's time to go home
and begin her "real" work: sea-glass sculpture
. Pure sea glass, mostly from discarded bottles drowned at sea and worn smooth from crushing waves, has a patina all its own. As a material for art
, it's just about irresistible which is why Hafemann uses her collection for both sculpture and photography. Although most of her sculptures are of fish, sea horses, lobsters, and an occasional flower, she is creating more abstract works, "so they can hold their own as pieces of art." Hafemann lives in the oldest seaport in America and, no surprise, it's home to more than 150 artists. While they are busy painting fishing boats
and fab harbor sunsets, the challenge for a sea-glass artist is finding material. There are roughly 17 different colors of sea glass with orange, followed by red, as the rarest finds. Spotting pure sea glass on beaches today in places like the Hamptons or Fire Island, for example, is becoming as unlikely as rescuing a message in a castaway bottle.