Tuesday, February 8, 2011

I'd Rather Be At The Beach

A thoroughly rotten day, weather wise that is. It snowed a bit and blew a lot, so that the outside world came in a out of focus. The snow packs completely differently when it's wind blown [it really is called hard packed for a reason] and J. and I are losing enthusiasm for that particular job and beginning to dream of warm sand and warm blue water. So while I was dreaming I came across this wonderful calligrapher called Andrew van der Merwe who also carves words and signs and symbols into the sand. His web site is here, you really want to see his work. As Andrew says "The work is usually very temporal, often lasting no more than an hour before it is taken by the wind or the tide. I carve the letters in the sand using various instruments and then photograph them . I leave no footprints and the tide leaves me with a clean slate. Most of the forms used here draw their inspiration from African writing systems. As a calligrapher I have a particular interest in African colonial and pre-colonial writing systems, so when I doodle on the beach its often along these lines. The more angular letter styles take their inspiration from Tifinagh, the script of the Tuareg people of North Africa. It is interesting how that, even to this day, the Tifinagh resembles ancient Greek and Phoenician."
- a poem to all those illiterate men and women who signed their beautiful, simple lives away with a simple cross. The strange letters are shoes for the literate to stand it.
This piece was carved on Zeebrugge beach, Belgium, in July 2008 during a month-long performance there. I was trying to create the impression of an ancient message from the ocean. The letters are loosely based on those of ancient writing systems


  1. Thanks for showing us these, Liz - they are amazing - lots of connecting - ancient/contemorary, man/nature, soft/hard, etc.

  2. Hi Noela, so glad you like Andrew's work, I was very excited when I found him. Like you, I really like how his work connects so many dots.

  3. I love these! And I'm glad to discover your blog full of lovely work, I'll be back to see more.

  4. Hi jgr, so glad you are enjoying Andrews work, and am glad you found the blog, welcome and hope to see you soon.


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