September 13, 2006
Summer of SandcastlesTweet
I can't say exactly why, but this summer I decided to try my hand at sand sculpting. You know, more like art and less like pre-formed pails of sand.
My first attempt, which I didn't photograph, were "the golden arches" from McDonalds. I chose that just to experiment with the sand and see just how much undercutting I could do with it. A lot, it turns out. The day after that, I asked my oldest daughter what we should spell. She came up with "Mom".
So we hand-stacked a huge pile of sand all while my wife and friends were wondering just exactly what was going on. An hour later, the resulting word really did spell MOM (in "sand serif font", joked one of my friends), and even better it didn't fall down! I was worried about the "O" most of all, but I think the sand on that beach was just perfect for the job and held up well.
A few weeks and another beach later, I was at it again. This time my daughter got in on the action a bit more, not only helping stack the tower but also digging out a lake at the base of the mountain and stacking and shaping the staircase. I practiced undercutting a roof, sculpting a cone and winding stairs. I also tried to make the mountain under the tower look like slabs of rock instead of a random pile of sand. I was actually attempting to make the tower walls more vertical (so the tower was a cylinder), but never did get it there.
Moving on the weekend after, again at a new beach, I tried a few more things. This castle took three hours from start to finish, but I wouldn't say that it looked the best - I was just patient as I tried new techniques. The arching pillars under the stairs worked out well, as did the parts of the walls that were jutting up. The detail on the brickwork wasn't so hot, mostly because I didn't have the right tools with me and so just ended up sketching them in much larger than I wanted to.
Another thing that I noticed with this castle was the amount of attention that it got. Mostly, I think, due to its sheer size... it was fairly big. Even the park conservation officer came over and said, "you have a real talent there!" Of course I always remember to say thanks, even if I'm not convinced that I'm in love with the sculpture yet.
Lastly, the twin towers piece was very rewarding. I finally got the tower walls vertical. The arch between the towers was a piece of cake. Undercutting the roof didn't take any thought, and the windows actually looked OK. Overall, my speed had improved a lot from the beginning of summer, this one was only an hour to do.
I think I'm ready to take on bigger challenges. The only problem will be keeping a balance between sand sculpting and spending time at the beach with my family. No, I'm not kidding - my wife says that once I get interested in something, I become obsessed with it (pointing to curling as an example). She's right, of course. So I make sure that I spend time swimming with the girls, and try to involve them in the sand castle building as much as I can (sometimes, they don't want to help and that's OK).
Just this morning I signed for a package, and was delighted to see that the book I had ordered from Sandy Feet arrived! You can see the book I ordered at http://www.sandcastlesmadesimple.com/. I've already read through it, and she's done a very nice job of it. I also ordered a few tools, we'll see if I can put them to good use.
Here's to next summer!
Posted by Hammer at September 13, 2006 11:36 PM
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