Walking The Wrack Line


At the PLAY retreat we spent Saturday morning down at the beach, walking the wrack line, and seeing what we could find. The idea was to gather beauty, little bits of nature that spoke to us. Gather and then arrange in some intentional order. I first did this exercise in a class I did at ArtFest in 2006 with Anahata Katkin. She called the class Creative Instincts and the idea was to use nature as an inspiration – to get our juices flowing, and to use the little beach vignettes we made as points of departure for other work. 


On this morning we all enjoyed the open air, the sound of the surf and collecting amazing bits of sea debris and polished rocks. As I was walking I found this huge piece of bull kelp splayed out in the most beautiful curvalicious way…


…it naturally made a loop which created a perfect nesting spot for a little broken shell…


…one thing leads to another…


…the broken crab legs get recombined into a new form…


…and a still life appears…


..such graceful beauty layed out by nature for our pure delight and enjoyment! Soon to be taken away with the tide. A very Andy Goldsworthy morning!


I made a journal page to capture and remind me of the grace that was mine for a moment.


Other gatherers comb the beach.


Liesel's beautiful sea swirl…


Theo draws anywhere and everywhere…   


Andrew's spare and beautiful vignette…


…a tail to tell…


…a sweet simple arrangement…the beauty of form…


…and Mrs. Lopez decided to bring hers home. A brilliant traveling beach vignette. This woman was born for the beach – it sings to her like no other. Although her heart belongs on Kauai, she's a beautiful soul who's love for the sea extends well beyond her few precious moments in it's grace.

And while I'm on the subject of Mrs. Lopez, I'm giving a shout out to all her students who check in on my blog from time to time. Keep up the good work! Especially the motley crew that are working so hard on the journals for the big show coming up…keep at it, you'll be amazed where they take you. And be kind to Mrs. Lopez, she's an amazing art teacher and you are very lucky to have her as your guide.


The grace and beauty of this beach reminds me that these moments are always available to me. I just need to take the time to look and gather it all in.

If you are intrigued by this beach art, take a look at this short video about sand artist, Jim Denevan – you'll be more than inspired.

11 Responses to Walking The Wrack Line

  1. Liesel Lund says:

    Oh so lovely!! Your sculpture is beautiful-I’m glad I got to see it in person-its hard to capture that spaciousness in photos. I just put up photos of our beach day too. How fun to see it from your perspective. The journal page you did about the beach art is SOOOO wonderful!!! Thanks for sharing Fran!

  2. mary ann says:

    the shoreline is endlessly inspiring and restful. imagine the lucky people to go for a walk and find what you have left.

  3. Leau says:

    I love these. I took that class with Anahata in 2007 and thought it to be the best thing ever! I brought home each and every piece of wonderfullness that I had found on the beach and then decided to bring them all back to the desert with me so I could run water over them and recapture that smell, that taste of salt water in the air and that feeling of total freedom to create. I didn’t even care that I had to pay the “heavy” bag charge to get them home. Thanks for reminding me of a great time and a great beach. Love what you did with kelp. How often do you get to type that sentence? smooches

  4. Paula says:

    I enjoyed getting to know you better at PLAY. Thanks for all of your photos on your blog. They bring back fond memories. I posted some on mine today.
    I also appreciate your sharing how to use the little Polaroid PoGo printer. My camera has the pictbridge feature so Target here I come. Those wallet-size photos will be fun to use in journals. Paula

  5. stephanie says:

    Such a beautiful, spontanious way to work! I loved seeing the results of this class when I was at Artfest.

    Your journal page is lovely!!


  6. eb says:

    oooooooooooooooooooooo Fran…

    LOVE this

    xox – eb.

  7. Lisa Hoffman says:

    I’m just going to walk up and down the beach remembering til the sun goes down.
    The summers. Holding my boyfriends hand at 15 on the shore. My mother sitting on her towel, gazing out to sea, remembering her own stories and at Peace, finally…..

    Your beautiful installation brought it all back.
    I can smell the salt air from here in the mountains….

  8. Absolutely wonderful photos of cool beach art. Can’t wait to be there in April for ArtFest–thanks for sharing these.

  9. Chris says:


    Will you be my Valentine?!

  10. Tina says:

    Lovely. Thanks for sharing the photos and your experience.

  11. Christine says:

    What a great idea! And then to take it further and create a journal piece is really inspiring. This makes me wish I was taking workshops and classes like I use to. I took a class where we took large sheets of water color paper and dipped it in the ocean off the Monterey coast and painted directly on the beach spontaneously. Totally out of my comfort zone but fun and memorable. Looks like this was memorable as well~

Leave a reply