culture

The Sand Labyrinths Of Bandon, Oregon

By Kelsey Wallace (OPB)
June 30, 2017 7:45 p.m.

“The point of the labyrinth is to enjoy the journey,” says Denny Dyke, an artist who creates labyrinths in the sand. But don’t call his elaborate work a maze, which makes visitors work to find a way out. With a labyrinth, “all you have to do is follow the path and you will get there.

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Labyrinths have inspired and intrigued us for thousands of years. Their patterns of interlocking spirals appear on every continent on the planet, in every climate imaginable, including the southern Oregon Coast. [series: oregon-field-guide-summer-series,left,5928a17a83e94d0069d25cb5]

Since 2011, Dyke has used rakes and spears to create elaborate pathways in the sand in Bandon, Oregon.

Thanks to the help of volunteer “rakers” who use rakes to darken the negative space between the interlocking spirals, Dyke’s designs can be up to 100 feet across and are easily viewed from Bandon’s many cliffs. Tourists and locals alike flock to enjoy his work and walk the mysterious and beautiful labyrinths before the tides take them back to the sea.

“It’s one thing to be at the Oregon Coast,” says Dyke, “but to combine that with the sacredness and spirituality of a labyrinth — that’s what I'm after.”

Learn more, including when Denny Dyke will draw his next labyrinth, at Circles in the Sand.

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