By Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News
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World-class sand sculptor Kali Bradford of Sequim is sculpting a sand castle on a vacant lot next to the Adagio Bean and Leaf coffeehouse, 981 E. Washington St., for the Sequim Lavender Weekend, which takes place July 19-21.
“People love to watch it develop,” Bradford said.
“I have people stop by to take a look every day.”
When finished, the sculpture will include a woman leaning against the castle holding bundles of lavender.
The material for the castle — glacier sand from the Asbury Quarry near Silverdale — was piled up June 7.
Slowly each day, Bradford and the occasional helper carve out the castle's turrets and pinnacles to give it a shape.
Her deadline to complete the castle is July 18, the day before the lavender weekend begins.
The weekend will be made up of separate celebrations: the Sequim Lavender Farm Faire, organized by the Sequim Lavender Farmers Association, and the 17th annual Lavender Festival, organized by the Sequim Lavender Growers Association.
Bradford has spent a lifetime perfecting her sand-sculpting prowess and has done it around the world for more than 30 years.
She recalled her first detailed sculpture was built with her daughter, now 35, stowed in a baby backpack.
Since then, she has sculpted sand competitively in China, India, Belgium and San Diego, among many other places.
She has built sculptures in Hawaii but said the material on the beaches there hampered the building process.
“The grains of sand are round there,” she said. “Everything keeps rolling off the top.”
Bradford sprays her castle in Sequim with a 10-to-1 mixture of water and glue to make sure it compacts solidly enough to last through the entire building process.
“It takes a lot of time and attracts a lot of attention,” she said. “It really is a kind of performance art.”
It also takes a little craftiness.
Birds landed on some of the castle's early spires this year, prompting Bradford to stick kabob sticks out of the peaks.
“They don't stick around there for too long, no pun intended,” she said.
Along with sand-sculpting, Bradford also paints, writes poetry and teaches.
She was one of the city's artists who painted special milk cans that have been displayed around town to mark Sequim's centennial.
She has a Web page set up to display her sand art — sandart.tumblr.com — and is available for workshops or special projects by calling 360-775-9463.
For more information about the Sequim Lavender Weekend, see the city's website at http://tinyurl.com/lxswpwm.
The Sequim Lavender Growers Association website is www.lavenderfestival.com.
The Sequim Lavender Farmers Association website is http://sequimlavenderfarmersassociation.org.
Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Joe Smillie can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.