Wakefield, Rhode Island, glass artist Eben Horton was well-known and respected for his gorgeous, soft-colored, marbled glass objects, but he wanted to do something to add surprise and mystery to his work. So in 2009, he began the Glass Float Project, making and hiding glass fishing floats like the kind used hundreds of years ago along the beaches and walking trails of Block Island. When people come across them, they feel like they’ve discovered treasure.
In a way, the idea for the project was planted early. His father was a curator at the Newport Art Museum, and his family was fond of sailing to nearby Block Island. As a child, Horton spent a lot of time searching the island’s beaches for treasure. The glass bottles he found on the island combined with his father’s love of art inspired Horton’s interest in making glass.
Every year, Horton hides 550 hollow, hand-blown clear glass balls around the island, each sealed with an image of Block Island, a date and number, and the project’s URL. Horton makes each year’s float #1 extra special by incorporating gold leaf, and he makes a limited number of special colored balls as well.
“The rules are simple. If you find one, Keep it!! If you find another, please leave it so that someone else can find it. We ask that if you find one, please register your find with the Block Island Tourism Council on their website. Registering your float helps us keep track of how many floats are out ‘in the wild’.”
All images property of Eben Horton/The Glass Station.