Park Profiles: Trash to Treasures

Park Profiles: Trash to Treasures

Anna Contraguerro, Copy Editor

Christie Contraguerro was born and raised in Wheeling, West Virginia. When the pandemic struck our city, like the rest of us, Christie found herself bored and longing for something to do to pass the time that she would usually spend at work. “When COVID-19 hit, I felt as though I had no routine and had more free time than I knew what to do with,” said Christie. 

As time passed during quarantine, Christie was walking the family dog near the Ohio River. She noticed small and colorful pieces of glass poking up through the sand and mud of the riverbank. Christie later discovered that this specific kind of glass is known as, sea glass. 

Sea glass is usually found in oceans or large rivers and lakes. Christie soon found herself walking along the river and collecting as much glass as she could carry. “Collecting the beautiful glass became like a hobby to me, it was something to do to keep my mind off of what was going on in the world at the time,” Christie stated. 

She soon discovered that she could create beautiful pieces of art using the glass. She would separate the glass by color and shape. Then she would put them together to create a beautiful piece of art. This is the story of how the small business Lynn Allan Designs was born. It is a business that sells beautiful, handmade glass art to the residents of Wheeling. “This business brought me great joy. It gave me a daily purpose in my life and gave me a creative outlet that I did not have in my day-to-day life, pre-Covid. It was also very nice to know that my work was bringing others happiness,” Christie explained. The sea glass that Christie uses in her pieces it’s not just any sea glass, it is historical glass. “

Around 100 years ago the City of Wheeling consisted of many large factories that would dump their extra glass into the Ohio river. “I find shards of headlights from very old cars, pieces of well-known pottery patterns, and radioactive glass. The glass does not have enough radiation anymore to harm somebody, but when it is shined under UV light it glows,” said Christie. If you would like to explore her many beautiful pieces of glass art, visit @lynnallandesigns on Instagram, Facebook and Etsy.