Taking the sand work to San Francisco

by | Nov 29, 2023 | Art in nature | 0 comments




In 1982 I received a grant from the NZ Arts Council for a two-month trip to the west coast of America. For most of that time, I was in Berkeley, studying Feminist Art at Berkeley University.

I also made many networking trips to San Francisco on the underground (‘BART’) as I intended to make contact with the women’s art movement. Collaborative art was my special focus. I had been facilitating collaborative art projects in Auckland, including some sand workshops, and hoped to discover what was happening on the West Coast of America.

Judy Chicago had a big presence at that time, but it turned out that her projects were not collaborative. To my surprise, the Vida Collective at the Women’s Art Gallery was very interested in my work and the way New Zealand women were collaborating. After I gave a talk and slide show they asked me to do a workshop for them.

What better place than at the beach? And so on August 14th, we all met at Baker’s Beach, where after a warm-up I led them to create their sand forms on the theme of being alone:

Think about the most positive times spent alone. What did they have in common? What was their quality?

Now, could you think of a dwelling for that aloneness and make it out of the sand? It can be any size. Build for one hour. 



After sharing our work, we explored what a communal space would look like, and built it together.


The Shape of Aloneness, Bakers Beach, San Francisco, 14/8/1982


This was a new experience for the Collective, and they threw themselves into it with enthusiasm. I have good memories of that day. This is part of a letter from one of the members of the group.


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