Back to Bandon, Oregon… And Its Art

We returned to one our favorite go-to places on the Oregon Coast last week, Bandon by the Sea. The area features the wave-tossed Pacific Ocean, magnificent rock sculptures known as sea stacks and a charming town. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)

I’ve blogged about Bandon before. And will undoubtedly do so again. The coast with its crashing waves and towering rock sculptures calls to us. And the town is charming. It comes with good restaurants, fun art, cranberries, cheese, and a bookstore—no town should be without one. While Winter River Books is small and doesn’t include a book-store cat, it is well-stocked for its size.

One of the books I bought was the “Roadside Geology of Oregon” by Marli Miller, a professor of earth science at the University of Oregon in Eugene. Our library includes a number of books from this series on other states as well. If you have ever found yourself curious about the rock formations you are seeing beside the road, these books make wonderful traveling companions.

I am going to do three posts on Bandon this time. The first is on art in Bandon. Next will be the Devil’s Kitchen State Park. There are interesting houses hanging out on the cliff, sea stacks, and forts made of driftwood. I am also going to take a look at what the recent storm tossed up, mainly kelp, piles and piles of it, plus a bouquet of sea palms for Peggy. I’ll conclude the series with a visit to Face Rock State Park and its famous name sake. While there, I will include a number of other sea stacks/rock sculptures that we admire and can never get enough of. As always, our cameras were quite busy!

The art of Bandon: Not surprisingly, it comes with an ocean emphasis.

Meet Nora the Salmon. She is one of a number of sculptures in Bandon made out of trash collected on the beach and created by Washed Ashore, a nonprofit dedicated to raising awareness about all of the garbage we are pouring into our oceans around the world.
A close up. Nora is a fun sculpture with sharp teeth and a serious message.
Henrietta the Rockfish, another fun sculpture by Washed Ashore, was decked out in her Covid-19 mask, bringing us two messages at once.
And finally there is Grace the Humpback whale whose tail tells a tale of trash.
A close up. An information board next to Grace listed a few of the items used in the sculpture. Included: water bottles, hat visors, a toilet seat, golf balls, a cooler, a steering wheel, flip flops, toy wheels, boots, and an umbrella handle. But enough trash talk, there are a number of other art works scattered throughout Bandon. These are from along the Boardwalk.
I’ve always been intrigued by this carved wooden sculpture of an octopus with its waving arms.
And this carved seahorse. I immediately thought of a merry-go-round.
Like so many cities and towns today, Bandon has its share of murals.
This dramatic totem pole was a next door neighbor to the two fish murals shown above.
Main Street, Old Town Bandon, is filled with small shops and restaurants. We always walk along the sidewalk and find something of interest. The book store is a must. But there is also great chocolate to devour, good food to experience, and craft beer to drink.
There is also a toy store that Peggy finds irresistible in her ceaseless efforts to spoil our grandchildren. While she was checking out games, I found this crow. I thought a close up of its beak appropriate for Halloween.
I’ll conclude today with this wild looking fish that was part of a mural. It was my fave!

NEXT POST: Peggy and I visit the Devil’s Kitchen State Park where the ocean crashes against the rocks, interesting homes hang out on the cliffs, forts are made of driftwood, and storm-fared kelp is tossed up on the shore.

28 thoughts on “Back to Bandon, Oregon… And Its Art

  1. What a great trip and share on Bandon, Oregon Curt! Your pictures are fabulous and what a wonderful use of the trash on these sculptures and such a great education. I can’t beleive I have never been to Oregon yet. I really need to get there at some point. The rock scultors are beautiful. I’m glad you and Peggy had such a good time with a book store to amuse you (even if there wasn’t a cat there.. shame.. 🤣!) and a toy store for spoiling of the grandkids. I’ll look forward to part 2. Thanks for sharing! ❤️ Cindy

    • We always love going to Bandon, Cindy. There are a number of charming towns along the coast and they make great escapes for us. Laughing about the cat, but we have discovered many bookstores over the years that have a cat. I always look forward to them.:) The trash sculptures are always fun— such a creative way to make a point. Many more rock sculptures coming! Thanks. –Curt

  2. Grace the Humpback reminded me of the sculptures/assemblages of Louise Nevelson. She was given to doing them in white or black — Grace’s gray would fit right in. I wonder if someone had a Steampunk background; I suppose it was the ‘gear’ in your photo that brought that to mind.

    I think your final fish is wondering if we can’t just get ‘this’ (any of it) over, already!

    • I looked up Nevelson, Linda. I can see why Grace reminded you of her. I wouldn’t doubt a bit of steampunk. It would go with the artistic creativity found along the coast.

      The fish had a personality, that’s for sure. It was like he was getting in your face! 🙂 –Curt

  3. Well, here’s another delightful place I want to see in Oregon. And I love Norah — mask and all. For scenery and interesting art, this would be a good one to make us want to visit for a day or two, it seems. Hope you’re staying safe, and your air is getting easier to breathe.

    • The air is marvelous, Rusha! 🙂 Such a difference. That was quite the mask, wasn’t it. As we wandered the US this past summer, we found several sculptures that had donned masks. Fun, and a great reminder. Definitely worth a couple of days in the area! –Curt

  4. Definitely Nevelson. Found art materials used to be real modern art…still art even if not “modern” these days.
    Looks like a charming town – how nice to get out to rediscover/explore interesting places. Thanks for taking us along! (I like the last fish, too)

  5. What a beautiful town. I love the artwork, especially the fish jumping out of the water. A town near me has bulldog statues all over in honor of the university mascot. (Not as majestic as the fish, but charming in their own way.) XOXO

    • Nothing wrong with bulldog statues. 🙂 I’ve seen towns that features cows, buffalo, etc. A clever concept. I so appreciate the efforts of communities to dress their towns and cities up with art! Thanks, Stacy. –Curt

  6. Hey! That’s the book you just mentioned to me. I’ll have to at least consider getting this one, as I think the one I got for Tara was more specifically about where to dig for certain types of rock in Oregon. I’m always wondering about the rock formations I see when I’m exploring, and this would be the book to answer those questions.

    The sculptures from trash are beautiful. It’s unexpected to me, how artists can take something so ugly in concept and in appearance, and make sculpture from it.

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