Hands for sand

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Sequim Gazette

There is a world-class sand sculptor among us.


For more than 30 years Kali Bradford has traveled the world creating sand sculptures from three to 64 feet tall, including a 20-foot tall castle containing $30,000 worth of fireworks for Donald Trump’s birthday.


She’s sculpted sand in China, Australia, France, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Puerto Rico, Canada, Mexico, throughout the United States — and next she goes to India.


A letter from the director of tourism for India invited her to participate in a competition Dec. 1-6 in Orissa, Puri, India. Bradford will have 12 yards of sand to move and five days to sculpt. She envisions a water buffalo with children of different nationalities riding it, taking photos and having fun as a celebration of tourism and integrating culture.


A multi-media artist, Bradford also paints, writes poetry and teaches. The National Endowment for the Arts granted her nine years in California and two years in Washington as an artist-in-residence.


“Sand sculpture is art happening, a performing art, a positive addiction that gives satisfaction to the participants with its multi-task emphasis, so that whether (you are) the water carrier, using a shovel or carving the finest details it is easy to be enamored with the process as well as the end product,” she said.


Locally, her sand sculpture art can be seen near Adagio Bean & Leaf on East Washington Street.


Bradford built her first sculpture there in April 2009.


Most recently the sculpture was a cup of coffee, frothing at the top, with a man lying on it.


Sand sculpture is unprotected, though, and vandals destroyed part of it.


“It’s just so vulnerable,” she said.


But her upbeat attitude isn’t changed by the careless act; she just takes what sand is left and creates something new with it. One time she turned a vandalized castle into a monster for Halloween.


“If you build it, someone will walk on it,” she said, describing the “Godzilla Complex” that often leads to the alteration of her work.


It doesn’t stop her from dreaming big, though. Bradford envisions a large, detailed sand sculpture of the Olympic Peninsula in the vacant lot next to Adagio.


“A few phone calls and I could have the world’s best sculptors here,” she said.


She just needs big money to match the big dream.


To see Bradford’s art, go to Adagio Bean & Leaf, 891 E. Washington St., or



Reach Amanda Winters at
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