Finders keepers

Gallery stars an artistic treasure hunt this summer

Karena Donnelly

Karena Donnelly

Starting May first mid-Island residents and tourists will be able to find a new kind of treasure along the beaches in a Finders Keepers event.  

This fun and free event was pioneered by local business woman Karena Donnelly, owner of Smashin’ Glass and Anything Art in Parksville, who came up with the idea as a way to give back to her community. Donnelly and her husband Kevin have created over 400 fused art-glass stones and will distribute them at Qualicum Beach, Parksville’s beach, Craig Bay, Wall Beach and Brickyard Beach. 

The event starts in May and runs until Labour Day weekend. 

Each stone is roughly the size of a small sand dollar and durable if stepped on as they are thicker than regular beach glass. As well as thickness the glass will be more vibrant shades than the typical pop-bottle green of average beach glass. 

Ambitiously, Donnelly plans on hiding the glass stones every week of Finders Keepers. There will be up to 150 stones placed on local beaches each month. In addition to the fused glass stones, Donnelly has also created several life-sized glass starfishes which will be placed where starfish live naturally. They will be coloured rich orange and purple — the same colour as Vancouver Island starfish. Expect to find them in shallow tide pools or beside barnacle encrusted rocks. 

Five glass starfishes will be placed each month.

As well, Donnelly said there will be five, white ceramic sand dollars placed each month.

 The glass will not be hidden around any dangerous terrain. Each piece of fused glass and starfish will be imprinted with a number. 

After finding one of the pieces the finder can register it by calling 250-248-6624 or dropping in to the gallery on Craig Street in order to be entered into a monthly prize draw. 

Prizes will be awarded at the beginning of each month. 

Donnelly said there will be a count list on the exterior wall of her gallery.

Finders Keepers is set to become an annual event.  

If people don’t find any of theses treasures, they can always drop by Smashin’ Glass and Anything Art Co. for instruction to make them. Projects start at $25 and up. 



— Emily Olesen is an Oceanside resident, enrolled at Vancouver Island University. She wrote this story as part of a job shadow assignment with The News.