Beach activities: Beach Art

06/08/13

Here's a unique way to make the most of Jersey's beaches. The island's stretches of golden sand create a living canvas for you to leave your mark… at least until the tide comes in.

Beach art is one of the most beautiful art forms in the world. Totally natural, there's no paint, no materials, just tracks in the sand.  These fleeting, fluid designs are drawn freehand with rakes and only last until the tide washes them away

One of the leading figures in the world of beach art is based here in Jersey and uses the island's natural coastline as his inspiration. Stunning photographs of Andy Coutanche's work have been featured across the world, from magazines and newspapers to the BBC's 'Coast' programme last year. Jersey hosted the very first MyMemory Beach Art World Championships, and Andy explains why the island's the perfect place to try some rake art for yourself:

Sand Art Minquiers Reefs
Andy Coutanche's sand art at the Écréhous, captured on camera by Danny Evans Photography

How do you create beach art designs?
It's very simple. All you need is a rake, a stretch of sand, and some imagination! I use my great grandfather's rake to create my designs but you can use an ordinary garden rake, and experiment with a few different techniques to create your design. My advice is to start with small simple designs, and then work up to more intricate patterns. The more you do, the better you become.

Where do you find inspiration?
I try not to start designs with any fixed plans in my head so that I can be inspired by the natural setting of the beach I'm working on. I don't use string, measurements or stencils in my designs, they're completely freehand. I particularly enjoy working with beaches that have features like rocks, pools and caves, as I can echo the natural shapes of the coastline in my design.

Sandman Plemont Beach 597
Andy Coutanche's beach art at Plemont

Where are the best Jersey beaches for rake art?
The beaches at Beauport, Portelet and Plemont are my favourites. There are plenty of natural features on the beach to interact with, and all three have great viewing angles from the cliffpaths that give you a different perspective on your design.

What makes Jersey an ideal beach art location?
Not only do we have so many beautiful beaches but also the island's large tidal range means that huge areas of sand are exposed each day, creating vast canvases for large-scale rake art designs. The cliffpaths surrounding our beaches also provide amazing opportunities to get a bird's eye view. 

Sand Art Rake 597

What makes beach art unique?
It's environmentally-friendly, fun to do, and completely temporary. Once the tide comes in, all traces of your design are washed away.

Photos: (Top) Beach Art at the Écréhous/Danny Evans. Images reproduced with kind permission of Andy Coutanche and Jersey Tourism. To find out more about Andy and see a gallery of his work, visit his website.

Want to try it for yourself? Take a look at our selection of beautiful places to stay, and start planning your trip to Jersey

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