Monday, November 10, 2014

Mr. Sandman

"It is our art that has an opportunity to leave a footprint in the sand."     Hugh Newell Jacobsen

What an adventure we had this past Friday! 

Inspired by Simon Beck's and Andres Amador's snow and sand art work, I recently asked several of my tangling buddies (former students) if they would like to join me to tangle in the sand at the beach. I was so excited when most of them said that they'd love to do it. I wasn't too sure if they would just think I was crazy. 

But I guess they didn't think I was totally crazy, so the planning began. Thanks to Barb Round, fellow CZT from Vancouver Island, Canada, for sharing with me some information and tips from when she tangled in the sand. Living in the Charleston, SC area, there were various beach spots I could have chosen. One of my friends accompanied me on a session to scout out these areas and decide what would work best. The tide charts needed to be studied to determine when the sand would be wet enough to work, the tide would be low enough to give us space, but not too low that it would start coming back up and wash us away before we were finished. I finally worked through all that and chose a date (and a rain date just in case).

I told everybody what supplies they would need - rakes and poles (one person brought hula hoops to help mark circles!) I worked out a sketch of a design that we would start with, kind of like the string for a traditional Zentangle. I thought about the best way to get the design laid out so it would be fairly symmetrical. Here's the sketch I drew of what I envisioned.

Friday morning proved to be absolutely beautiful, with pure blue skies and a temperature around 60 degrees. We could not have asked for a more perfect day. When we arrived at our spot, there were several people out walking and biking on the beach. As soon as we started setting up, people came over to see what we were doing and I handed out a few brochures about Zentangle.

I could keep you in suspense, but I will start by showing you the finished Zentangle art work we created.

Picture taking was going to be a challenge. We were tangling right next to a pier which would provide great photos from above, but it is really the property of some condos, and it's gated and can only be accessed with a code. So I brought a 6 foot ladder to get up as high as we could. As we were taking some of the first photos from the ladder, a woman came over who was watching us and taking some pictures of her own. She asked if she could get up on the ladder to get some photos. She said, "You know you can get some good photos from up on the pier." When I told her you need a code to get through the gate, she said, "I have the code."  And she was willing to give it to me! I think she was from out of town and staying in a condo there. What a stroke of luck. So some of the pictures you will see here were taken from the ground, some from the ladder, and some from the pier. They were also taken on 3 different cameras which each produce a little bit of a different tone in the images.

Here we are in the beginning stages, using string and poles and hula hoops to measure out and mark the design. I must say that we worked together very well as a team to get this done.

Next we drew Knightsbridge (a checkerboard ) in the "arms" of the design to give it a uniform look.

Here the knightsbridge is completed and each tangler is working on the in-between parts with tangles that they were comfortable with.

Here are a couple of pier views as the work progressed nicely.

The happy (and tired) tanglers posing for the picture.

Putting the finishing touches on as the ladder stands by.

Some more posing for the camera.

Everyone decided to put their name outside the section they worked on.

A couple of last pictures of the completed project with the pier as a beautiful backdrop.

I had a blast working on this little (maybe I should say big, or even super-sized) project and my friends all said they did too (I hope they meant it). We were all tired, some of us with achy backs and feet, but were very proud of what we had accomplished. I think I learned a couple of things that I would do differently if I ever do this again. One of those things being that I think the patterns that have areas "blackened" in show up better and make more of an impact than the ones that are mostly comprised of lines. 

Later that evening when I looked at my watch and realized it was about high tide time again, I sadly pictured the smooth sand left behind where our masterpiece had been. 

I want to thank Cindi, Celia, Tammy, Cheryl, Jamila, and Jill (in no particular order) for going along with me on this adventure. If I decide to give it another go, I'll let you all know. (They're probably all running to hide right now...)


  1. What a wonderful experience for everyone to share! I love seeing the pictures~ Thanks!

  2. AMAZING. Just as Maria always says, "Even if you are going to just tangle in the sand, pick the best stick you can!" LOVED your work and the photos.

  3. Caren, y'all did a beautiful job! I hope you send photos to your local press.

    Where in the Charleston area is this? Charleston has always been one of my favorite cities and now my son lives in Summerville. (so if you would like an extra hand next time, just let me know. I'm always looking for an excuse to visit, especially when it's so cold here in KY, LOL)