Longing for the North Sea?

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I have always loved going for long walks on the beaches north and south of Hvide Sande. In the past year, I have systematically started combing the beach sand for driftwood and other floatsom I can use in my artmaking.


One of the very concrete joys of living in Hvide Sande is that we are so close to the water: Both our family home and my studio are located at Tysk'havnen, a mere 10-minute walk away from the North Sea.

These are experiments, and many of my attempts have so far turned out to be less fortunate. Still, I have a feeling that it makes sense and that the integration of beach finds will be a practice that can somehow root my works in time and place.

You don't have to go far north of the 3 iconic Vestas turbines before the north beach is largely deserted of people. Outside of the tourist season, I'm often able to run the short 6 kilometers along the beach to Lyngvig lighthouse early in the morning without seeing a single other person.

Walking alone by the sea is a fantastic way to calibrate oneself in the world and keep the proportions in place: Seen in the grand scheme of things, it always strikes me how small and insignificant we humans are and how short our span of time really is.

A walk by the sea always puts things into perspective.

You may not meet many people at the north beach but there are usually interesting things to find; small pieces of wood, plastic fragments, mussel and oyster shells, amber, stingray eggs, hollow stones, and all sorts of other strange items. When the wind has died down after a low pressure passage you often find large pieces of driftwood and pallet wood lying in the sand.

Not that our beaches are floating with garbage. Quite the opposite.

I see an increased awareness of waste and plastic on the beaches. The good people from omhu: do a fantastic job organizing clean-ups and creating increased awareness, and our tourists are collecting waste, cans, buckets, trawl stumps and other floatsom like never before.

Going to the beach is not a new thing for me. But I didn't really start to collect pieces of driftwood and other floatsom before creating a series of driftwood works for Esmark's administrative headquarters in November 2022 .

Driftwood collected on the beach on a windy, beautiful August day.

Since then, I have continuously made smaller works from driftwood, just as I like to paint on split pieces of washed-up wood. Inspired by the working process of the Cornish visual artist David Mankin, which is thoroughly described by Kate Reeve-Edwards in the beautiful book Remembering in paint, I have also started experimenting with using different floatsom on my canvases.

These are experiments, and many of my attempts have turned out to be less fortunate so far. Still, I have a feeling that it makes sense and that the integration of floatsom will be a practice that can somehow root my works in time and place.

I will try to be open about the process and give an ongoing insight into my practice. So make sure to check back in with me. That is to say if you're not already a subscriber, consider becoming one 😊 That way you don't risk missing any relevant future posts.