2021 Wrack Line Contest winner “Sandy Claus” by Lois Mullen

By Cynthia Andes
Photography by Sara Caruso

This fall, once again the Wrack Line Sculpture Contest will be held during the annual LBI Sea Glass and Art Festival at Things A Drift in Ship Bottom.

In the years since that first Wrack Line Sculpture Contest was introduced on LBI, an increasing number of major museums have mounted exhibits by artists who used recycled materials, incorporating both manmade and natural refuse in their work.

Ghana born artist, El Anatsui’s large-scale sculptures drape like the richest of silk tapestries, though they are composed of thousands of discarded metal caps from liquor bottles and crumpled bits of metal connected with copper wire; all sourced from trash bins.

Organic and manmade debris can be found along the wrack line; the uneven line of comingled shells, seaweed, driftwood, treasure, and trash that runs parallel to the shoreline after the high tide.

2021 Children entry Emerson Z. “Bottle Cap Crab”

The word “wrack” comes from the Middle Dutch word, wrak meaning “something damaged.” Many items located on the wrack line may be in pieces; others may be found fully intact. Some are deadly to wildlife who comb the beaches looking for food. And though few people may recognize the term, many walk the wrack line, picking up both trash and the ocean’s bounty buried in its midst.

Finding these pieces can spark creative inspiration and when made into whimsical art pieces or serious tabletop sculpture take on a new life in time for the October unveiling, the Wrack Line Sculpture Contest.

Early morning walks or late afternoon strolls along the wrack line can now be a bit more purposeful, as with each tide both treasure and trash await a new identity.

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