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UK News

'Circle of life' as artist encourages seaside churches to collaborate on beach labyrinths

by Donna Birrell

An artist who creates labyrinths on beaches around the coast is hoping to expand his work by collaborating with with seaside churches across the south west.

Andrew Nicholson, who has already created a number of beach labyrinths in Cornwall, says creating the labyrinths is an act of reflection, mission and prayer ;

“Much of my labyrinth work on the beach involves an invitation to reflect on each individual’s journey and issues they may have been facing.

“During this past year I have also broadened this out slightly at different labyrinths to include elements like positive mental health and well-being; environmental concerns, [the significance of] special places and relating Easter to the experiences of lockdown.

“There is always an invitation to let go of any burdens, to reflect, pray, pause and to be thankful, move forward, be transformed in some way.”

Circular labyrinths have been used by Christians for hundreds of years as a way of praying and reflecting. People are encouraged to walk the circular path from the outside in, as a symbolic physical and spiritual journey to be closer to God. And, unlike a maze there are no dead-ends.

Andrew said that he had created labyrinths during different seasons and for special events – working with charities and arts organisations as well as churches :

“Through the pandemic, when the lockdown restrictions have allowed, I have still been able to create a few beach labyrinths, plus a daffodil labyrinth I created in Tresillian Churchyard over the winter which bloomed this spring.

“I created one labyrinth last autumn at Porthcurnick as a fundraiser for Mind on World Mental Health Day, while in recent weeks I created one at Par for Kneehigh Theatre’s Random Acts of Art and in Newquay for a Youth Art Connects event which featured activities sharing the therapeutic benefits of art with young people and families.”

While labyrinths, like the one at Chartres Cathedral, have stood for centuries, Andrew’s creations are more transitory – lasting only until the tide comes in.

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