Message in a bottle thrown to sea creates lifelong bond to Loyola

French artist creates a work of art with the bottle he found three years ago

By Molly Cochran  |  Photos courtesy of David Folley

In 2016, David Folley, a French artist, was walking on the beach with his two sons on Tariec Island near Landéda, in northwestern France, when he found a green glass bottle that had washed ashore during high tide. Folley, who creates art pieces with the treasures he finds on the beach, opened the bottle to find a weathered one lined note with an address.

After some research, Folley realized the address was Loyola’s and reached out through Loyola’s Facebook page. Loyola’s social media channels asked followers to help find the person who had put the message in the bottle. Within 24 hours—Folley was able to connect with Tommy Zanowic, ’15, who had thrown the bottle into the sea at the Island Beach State Park in Ocean County, N.J.

Since then, Folley has created a work of art with the bottle and driftwood he found on the beach and has gained media attention from his story.

David Folley with Loyola message in a bottle artwork

“Even thousands of kilometers away and thanks to human relationships, we can come together and share good memories around a creation,” said Folley, who hopes to someday visit Loyola.
Folley said he created the artwork to immortalize the event and preserve the memory of connecting with Zanowic and Loyola.

Surprisingly enough, just two months after Folley found the message in a bottle from Zanowic, Folley found another bottle that drifted ashore from Labrador, Newfoundland, in Canada. Folley said the person responsible for sending that message didn’t wish to follow up.David Folley's workshop

Since the story was published in Loyola magazine in January 2016, Folley has received a decent amount of attention from French television and local newspapers about his message in a bottle find. He continues to receive recognition for his art pieces and hopes one day to bring the bottle back to the United States.

“Thanks to technology, anything is possible,” said Folley.

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