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Elaborate sand art brings joy, connection with nature

These artists aren’t from outer space, but their creations are simply out of this world.

Extreme low tides on Sunday made for the perfect canvas next to the Newport Pier for the Low Tide Aliens, as they are called, to do a snow-flake inspired mandala on the sand.

It’s a chance to bring cheer to beachgoers and those passing by, especially this year as people need a little extra to smile about during the pandemic, said creator Laura Wright, who has done the extravagant art at beaches across Orange County for years.

“That’s where I find my healing,” she said of nature, the beach her special safe haven, as she calls it. “The beach is already beautiful, to put a design there that can connect people … I’m hoping a little bit of my joy will spread out in the world.”

Wright started doing the circular art using sticks and non-toxic colored sand about five years ago, dubbing the group the Low Tide Aliens and enlisting her daughters and friends to help out in the process.



As a surfer, Wright said she pays attention to not just the swells, but the tides, typically picking days when the lowest extreme tides are expected to give more time to create the art and for people to appreciate it for a few hours before high tide sends water up the sand and washes it away.

That’s the beauty of Mother Nature, she said.

And sometimes, everything aligns together just right: low tides in the afternoon on a weekend when people are out and can enjoy the sight.

“We don’t get to just order it up,” she said of the tide conditions on Sunday, considered a king tide, and among the lowest that will happen this year.  “We kind of have to follow (Mother Nature’s) ways, which are somewhat predictable – but you have to move with her, not our, agenda.

Wright hasn’t done many mandalas this year, but some people may have gotten a glimpse at creations she and others worked on at Salt Creek in Dana Point or Crystal Cove a few months back.

It’s about living in the moment and connecting with nature, she said, a type of moving meditation that gives her – and others – joy.

Through the years, she’s created some with messages, such as tributes to cancer survivors splashed with bright pink colors, while others are just pretty, symmetrical patterns.



Always, she draws in those passing by who snap photos or simply stop to soak in the intricate artwork.

This year, she said, she hoped people would stop and take photos for loved ones who they can’t see during the pandemic to share something special.

“I’ve always done it for the same reason – to put love and joy in the world,” she said. “In our world, there’s a lot of give and take and value on things you can trade and carry monetary value. The pure value is in the joy of doing it. That exudes out into the world. I love doing it, it brings happiness to people.”

Source: Orange County Register

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