If you have ever aspired to be an Eco-Artist, the World Beach Project is your chance. A global art project devised by Sue Lawty while she was artist-in-residence at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, the World Beach Project is open to anybody, anywhere, of any age. Building on the experience many of us have of making patterns on beaches and shorelines, this project combines the simplicity of making patterns with stones with the complexities of shape, size, colour, tone, composition, similarity and difference. Lawty’s idea for this project has always been based around patterns made with stones. That means no seashells, seaweed, driftwood or other flotsam and jetsam commonly found on beaches.
Lawty has explained her inspiration: “The idea for the World Beach Project arrived in my head fully formed and in an instant. It popped up by way of responding to the response to my work using small stones, which in its turn, is a response to the land – specifically, rock. Whether a line of quartz splitting a rock face or a huge folded mountain range, the structure of rock talks of the structure of our planet. It is like a map of time – the earth drawing itself on a massive scale. And whether stones are satisfyingly smooth… or like long thin fingers… or beautifully, almost purely round; whether they are knobbly, shiny, dull, crinkly, holey, patterned or plain, black or white – they reflect the language of their making i.e. how they look in this de-constructed state is as a direct result of their construction, probably millions of years ago. I find this exciting. World Beach was conceived as a global drawing project; a stone drawing project that would speak about time, place, geology and the base instinct of touch. Drawings made on shorelines all over the world, which although erased by the next tide or rains, would be collected within the V&A to become a permanent record of the individual human desire to make pattern. To pick up a rock, is to touch base. Touching stones gives us a primal, spiritual connection with the earth. When we handle a stone, we hold in our hands a small drawing, a tiny piece of the map; we are holding time. That’s why.”
It’s easy to get involved. More than 800 people have participated from Ross Island, Antarctica to Cape Town, South Africa. Go to the map and pick your favorites. (Some of ours: Rarotonga, Oceania, Mt. Hood, Washington, Klive Beach and Eastbourne.) Watch Sue Lawty explain how to get involved in the project by watching the World Beach Video . Then go to the V&A website for instructions on adding your art http://www.vam.ac.uk/collections/textiles/lawty/world_beach/ for instructions on adding your art