Sand artist rebuilds after vandal attack in Sequim
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Joe Smillie/Peninsula Daily News
Kali Bradford inspects her rebuilding efforts on her vandalized sand sculpture "Violet Picking Lavender" in Sequim.

By Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News

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SEQUIM –– Months after vandals destroyed the sand sculpture she had built for Sequim's Lavender Weekend, sand artist Kali Bradford has begun rebuilding, putting a new face on the July destruction.

“That's the thing about this work: It's in the public, so it's vulnerable to the public,” Bradford said.

Bradford spent 200 hours building her sculpture “Violet Picking Lavender” out of 12 yards of sand outside Adagio Bean & Leaf, 981 E. Washington St., for the city's trademark summer festival, which ran this year from July 19-21.

During the night of July 14, however, as “Violet” neared completion, her head was smashed off, as was the top of her castle.

“Better her head than mine,” Bradford now says of the incident.

After saying she didn't “have the heart” to rebuild her sculpture immediately after it was destroyed, she returned in September to repair it.

“I think it's almost made her more relatable,” Bradford said of “Violet.”

“Everybody has had things fall down that they didn't want to go away.”

And, she asked, what other reaction is there but to rebuild?

“Now Violet has a new head. And it's more beautiful,” she said.

“That's the great thing about sand: I can always rebuild it.”

Silver lining

Bradford said the vandals' destruction may have brought even more attention to Bradford's sculpture.

“The destruction of it almost magnified it,” she said. “People got angry and fell in love with her, and own a little piece of it now.”

This version of “Violet” includes protection: Beneath her beauty, Bradford has created a protective lion who, like Bradford healing from the vandals' attack, lies licking his paw.

“He's a proud, beautiful beast,” she said. “But he's still got this injury to tend to.”

Therapy in the sand

A 35-year veteran of international sand sculpture competitions, Bradford uses sand sculpture in art therapy classes she teaches.

Getting back in the sand was her way of healing from the random attack.

“It did give me a — what I call — Zen,” she said.

As for next year, Bradford said she plans to return next year with another sculpture for the festival, though she may beef up her security efforts.

“The last sculptures kept living, I think, because I lied to all the neighborhood boys and told them there was a camera,” she said.

“Guess I've got to come up with something else.”

Bradford has a Tumblr website set up to display her sand art — — and is available for workshops or special projects by phoning 360-775-9463.


Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Joe Smillie can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or at

Last modified: October 03. 2013 5:29PM
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