A woman who creates jewellery and sculptures from broken glass washed up on beaches in Co Antrim has told of her excitement after one of her pieces was presented to the Prince and Princess of Wales.
Colleen Douglas, a 54-year-old mother-of-two from Carrickfergus, regularly scans the beaches around the town’s historic Norman castle, Scotch Quarter and Boneybefore for glass fragments.
Earlier this year, William and Kate were presented with the artwork, The Tree Of Life, during a visit to the town.
The tree featured green glass alongside three red apples to symbolise the royal couple’s three children, George, Charlotte and Louis.
Mrs Douglas said: “I have been making jewellery since I was a child, since I was about seven.
“I started making things from sea glass a few years ago.
“We have so many beaches in Carrickfergus so there is an abundance of sea glass.
“People throw away glass and it gets broken into tiny different shapes and bits.
“The sea then smooths it, it takes away all the jagged bits, and it is absolutely gorgeous then.
“The thing I like about it is that every single piece is different. It makes for unique jewellery.”
She added: “It could be beer bottles, plates, Delft… you find so many things.
“I don’t have to do anything to it, the sea does all the work. I just mount it into the piece.”
She said she was contacted by Mid and East Antrim Council earlier this year about making a piece for a special visit, but was not told who would receive it.
“They just told me they wanted the tree and they wanted it with three apples on it. Up until then the tree had just been the green glass.
“The three apples were the clue. We guessed it was a royal and we guessed it would be for William and Kate and the three kids.”
She added: “I was told William and Kate really loved it. It is quite intricate and they remarked on the amount of work.
“Then there was a letter sent from Kensington Palace to the council which thanked me for making it.
“It is so amazing to think that the future king owns something that I have made, I still can’t get over it. It is so surreal.
“I never saw it coming, there are a lot of crafters and artists out there. I was totally amazed to be given the chance to do that, it was the highlight of my life.
“I never thought I would get the chance to make something fit for a king.”