Beach sculpture – Driftwood and Sand – “Emerging” and “Fermentation”

Driftwood and Sand: 24-28 January 2020

I love creating sculptures on the beach at Hokitika for Driftwood and Sand, which is a beach sculpture event that is held in the last week of January each year. This year I made two sculptures from driftwood and harakeke – ‘Emerging” and “Fermentation”.

Over the past year, the beach has been building up from the south, so there was plenty of beach and and an abundance of driftwood for building sculptures.

“Emerging” beach sculpture

I had an idea to create a basket. But then I came across an interesting piece of driftwood: a root system with some slim vertical stems emerging from it. This was ideal for forming the base and stakes of my basket.

Beginnings of “Emerging”

Now for the weavers. There were plenty of long roots amongst the piled up driftwoood which again were ideal.

A collection of driftwood roots

They were different thicknesses and colours and I used these aspects to weave up the sides of the basket. Here are some different views of the basket weaving.

Once in installed on the beach, the finished sculpture just seemed to emerge from the sand and reach for the sky. So, “Emerging” was born.


“Fermentation” beach sculpture

I was keen to use noodling or random weaving again this year. I had used this technique for “Voyage” in 2010. But this time I introduced circles created from driftwood roots into the driftwood frame. I wove them together with narrow strips of harakeke (NZ flax). I did this part at home where it was cooler.

Then I went looking for a base. I discovered a large piece of driftwood which was gnarly with holes and very heavy. So, I called in the muscle power of my husband. We then rolled it into the location at the top of a low scarp that I had chosen for the installation.

Bubbles coming out of the base lead to the title – “Fermentation”

The weather was fine and sunny for the duration of the event. I was thrilled to receive the Most Avant Garde award for ‘Fermentation”.

After a couple of weeks, I got a call to say the sculptures were in danger of being washed away with the forecast high seas and tides. So again, I took a trip to the beach and rescued both sculptures. But just the top of “Fermentation”. I managed to fit them into my little Honda Jazz. I thought the base would have to stay on the beach. But no, my loving assistant,once again came to rescue and we brought it home too.

Now, “Fermentation” is installed at the entrance to my new studio.

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