This week's guest blog is with Beadnell based sand artist and creative Claire Eason.
A shift in career and the marrying up of new technology has meant Claire has been able to realise a very unique way of creating temporary art for and with local groups inspired by the county's unique coast line.
She has recently had some fantastic press and her artwork and community collaborations are going from strength to strength.
Tell us a bit about what you do and why/ how it came about...
It can be a bit tricky explaining what I do and how it happened. Creating large scale personalised sand art after 30 years in the NHS as a doctor is quite an eccentric transition! However, it has been a very natural and life affirming journey and perhaps one that might allow others to believe they can tap into their creativity and develop a new path.
Having enjoyed working in the NHS for decades, it felt time for a change. I’d always dabbled with sketching and photography from childhood and art was something that weaved in and out of my life in all sorts of forms.
As my kids grew up, we made large collages of clothing and toys on the floor and admired them from the landing. Their birthday parties often involved large scale painting in the garden and we even decorated snow.
Sand drawings were simple but huge, viewing them from a pier or sea wall as drones were not available then – I longed for an elevated camera!
Then they arrived which changed how large-scale designs could be imagined and recorded.
The sand drawing experiments started and gradually became more refined. I was asked to draw for special occasions more frequently and that evolved into making personalised designs to say something meaningful about a person, group or event.
Where does your inspiration usually come from?
Inspiration comes from so many sources; the history, geography and geology of a place often bring up ideas. As do the people and current events of an area. Personal stories, mythology, celebrations, memorials and seasons all evoke images that can feel right for the sand. There is literally no end to the possibilities.
All beaches have their own personality so getting to know their quirks is important before working on them. To date, beaches from Roker to Cheswick sands have all been wonderful canvases. I do plan to try something further afield soon!
How does it work?
Although the planning and drawing preparations are done by myself, it is great to involve people in the building up of the sand image. Their raking brings an energy and depth to the image that is unique each time. Sometimes this will be a community event, on other occasions family groups or parties join in. It is very rewarding to find those involved discover a sense of well being which is something I hope to develop more.
What's been the most difficult piece to create?
The most challenging piece so far is probably the very recent sea serpent design on the causeway of Lindisfarne.
That’s because the position of usable sand there is so unpredictable. Also, one side is very muddy which makes clean lines more difficult. Perhaps that is only to be expected from a grumpy car catching mythical creature!
Follow Claire and her sand art and projects online;