Sand Ripple Pottery


The lower parts of the beaches of Cape Cod Bay are the most extensive tidal flats in North America. The sandy tidal region reaches up to two to three miles out.  With a 10 foot tidal surge, the rise and fall of the tides sculpt the sand into furrows that fork, split, reconnect and vary in width and depth building endless variations on a theme.

Ripple Portal

Photo by William J. Kemp

I walk this wide expanse of sea and sand and sky and experience ripples everywhere.  It’s wrap around ripples; the undulating cloud formations mirroring the ripples of the sea and sand!

Stoneware Sea Goddess 42″ with beachsand ripples and seashell motifs


As an artist I ask myself “How can I use this? I plaster cast and bring these sand patterns back to my studio to freeze the ephemeral so I can try to understand their power.  I’ve incorporated these plaster castings of beach into asymmetrical bowl vases, flatsided jars, winged figures, monoliths fountains and sculptures.  They represent an evanescent ripple of the present moment, preserved for all time.  Manipulating these clay fossils I feel their presence.  I’m riding an emotional wave jolted by the visceral connection to the sea, to the essence of the beach!

Sand Ripple Monoliths

I find the form of the Monolith a special revelation.  It’s majesty exerts a kind of magnetic force drawing me back to the eternal rhythm of the protean ocean.  Let the SEA and SAND go about their changes, it teaches us about the impermanence of all things.  We must truly inhabit our surrounding landscape which is vital to our environmental stewardship.

Tilde top Monolith

Beachsand Ripple Monolith42″H

Torso Monolith with Beachsand pattern 48″H

Sand Pattern Mackerel

Sand Pattern Fish

Wood fired Sand Ripples

Woodfiring these sand patterned vessels creates an lusterous, beautifully definated  surface.  Firing in Truro Ma. exclusively fueled with wood we blanket the pots with wood ash which turns to glass at high temperatures.  On National Seashore property through Castle Hill the firing takes up to 50 hours using 4 cords of wood.  We need a crew of at least six reaching temperatures over 2400 degrees  There is no better surface for telling the story of the beach!

Asymmetrical Wood Fired Sand Pattern Vessel

Woodfired sand ripple tray

Elevated foot Beach Sand Ripple Bowl

Winged Vessel Beach Sand Pattern 20″W

sand ripples

Boat shaped sand ripple vase


Sand Ripple Pitcher

Shino Sand Ripple Bowl

Woodfired Bowl with scallop shell impressions 20″L

Free Form Sand Ripple Vessel 12″