Sand Sculptures: Information and Pictures

 

There aren’t many types of art in which the created object cannot be bought, taken away, or placed in a museum: ice sculpture comes to mind, or traditional pavement art with chalks, which is going to be walked on tomorrow. And for some artists producing these or other essentially ephemeral art installations, it is their very temporary nature that is part of the attraction. Then you have to see the work at the time of its creation, when the artist chooses, not own and control it at your convenience, as some patrons like to do.

For these temporary art objects, then, the photo may be the only permanent record, and the pictures elsewhere and on this page, here offered to you free of charge, become the only evidence of the existence of, in this case, these particular sand sculptures.

The British seaside tradition of building sandcastles on the beach with bucket and spade has long been overtaken by a new art form in various parts of the world - sand sculptures. With the right sand consistency and a few simple tools, the possibilities of building spectacular sculptures are endless, as these photographs show. The technique is fairly straightforward. First a very firm block of moist sand has to be built, using mallets to compact layer after layer of sand until the block is large and stable enough for the envisaged sculpture. Carving can then commence, using trowels, knives, spoons and scoops, etc. to create the sandy masterpiece.

Sand sculpture is part of seaside culture in many parts of the world, and festivals of the art take place throughout the summer and even at times of year less favourable to beach life. So in the USA, for example, the events kick off in April with the ‘Texas SandFest’ competition at Port Aransas, followed in the second week of May by an amateur festival at Siesta Key in Florida. Late May it’s sandsculpting time at Vidasoul Beach in Los Cobos, Mexico, where you can even get free lessons in the art. Of course in June the sand really hits the fan, with Summer contests in Isle of Palms, South Carolina, at Grandhaven City Beach in Michigan, at Ocean Shores in Washington State, and then the Masters event at Hampton Beach in New Hampshire. Next it’s Cannon Beach Sandcastle Festival in Oregon, and we’ve only reached the middle of June! Michigan hosts its second festival of the year at Port Huron in July, and that month and in August there are sculpture events in Long Beach, WA, and Portland Oregon. Lastly, from the middle of August and into September it’s the International Sand Sculpting Competition in Toronto, Canada, where the world’s six best professionals are invited to battle it out.

If you can’t get to North America, there are annual summer festivals in Denmark, Holland, Britain, Spain, Italy, Belgium and in Switzerland. The pictures on this site were taken in the last named country, at Rorschach on Lake Constance, and, unlikely though it may seem, at a shopping centre in Zurich and Gran Canaria. Enjoy the pictures, for the sculptures will no longer be there!
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