It’s never good when someone loses their marbles, but some joy can be found when someone finds someone’s marbles.
In fact, finding marbles has become a global activity that has spawned the “Worlds Biggest Marble Hunt” Facebook group, where people hide marbles in locations around the world and challenge others to find them by posting photos on the band.
One of those who enjoyed the fun is a Vacaville glass artist who makes his own marbles and hides them in city parks.
Matt Greenwood of Greentrees Memorial Glass has been creating glass art for eight years. His business, which he runs from his garage, specializes in memorial glass, which takes the cremated remains of people’s loved ones and uses the process of glassblowing to turn them into glass art.
Greenwood fell in love with glass art when he saw it being created at a street fair as a child. He wanted to do it himself, but the opportunity did not arise.
“I could never find anywhere or anyone to learn from,” he said.
That changed when Greenwood turned 40 and took a three-hour class in a glass artist’s garage. Since then, he has created his own work.
“I just started practicing and most of the time I just learned it on my own,” he said.
Greenwood stumbled across the Facebook group and started doing marble hunts for fun. From now on, its objective is to arouse locally the interest for a global activity.
“I’m trying to get it out here,” he said. “There aren’t a lot of people (who hunt marbles) around here, so I started doing that.”
Two to three times a week, Greenwood will find a park to store logs and post photos of the general area on the Facebook group to encourage people to find them. Included with the marbles is a typed note with his email recommending people message him once they find the marbles so he can update his messages to let the group know that the marbles have been found.
However, these are not the machine-made marbles that can be purchased at toy or craft stores. All marbles are handcrafted by Greenwood himself. The process involves lighting a flame on a glass tube that forms a sphere on the tip. After letting it cool and melting the front half, Greenwood spins the tube and breaks the marble part. Glass contains metals that change color and give the marbles their distinctive design. Some even have things like glass mushrooms in the center.
Greenwood said the process takes anywhere from 15 minutes to a few hours, depending on how technical it is.
Most of the marbles were hidden in local parks, including large parks like Andrews Park and Lagoon Valley, but also regional parks like Lake Berryessa. A marble, he said, even arrived in Hawaii.
“One of the people I was hiding for them, she came to buy one to hide in Hawaii while she was there,” he said.
Greenwood also said he plans to bring marbles to Green River Brewing and Taproom in Winters when he hosts his Reggae on the Creek festival May 7-8. He and his son will also be doing a live glass art demonstration at this event.
Of the marbles that were hidden, Greenwood estimates that about 15 were found. Only two, he said, did not report.
“It seems almost all of them are found by people looking for them,” he said.
Greenwood said everyone is happy when they find a marble. On the other hand, “I’ve had a few people a little disappointed because they’ve gone out to find it and it’s already been found.
On the plus side, Greenwood said it gets kids out in the parks and likened it to fishing.
“When you catch one it’s great, but you don’t always catch one,” he said.
Many marbles are usually buried under soil or plants. Greenwood’s plan is to hide at least two a week throughout the summer and once a month to hide one that is very hard to find.
He also plans to take part in the world’s biggest marble hunt in July, where thousands of marbles will be hidden across the world for anyone to find, including a massive treasure chest containing $45,000 worth of marbles hidden in a place that Greenwood said would be “extremely difficult to find.” The chest will eventually be donated to a museum, but it has not been specified which one.
Greenwood said he hopes the activity will inspire more people to learn more about glass art, but more importantly to get out and have fun.
“It forces me to go out,” he said. “I have to go out and hide them. If I didn’t do that, I would be a hermit.
Photos of the logs are posted on Facebook.com/Greentreesglass.
More information on the Global Marble Hunt can be found at Facebook.com/groups/1701482663452819.