Thursday, August 04, 2011

How to build a sandcastle sculpture

My Uncle Matthew is a sculptor and I didn't even know it.  When I went to Gulf Shores a few days ago I saw this strange contraption in the garage and asked what it was.  Matthew told me that it was the mold for making sandcastles.   Then he showed me the shovel and his sculpting tools.

I had to see it in action, so I asked if we could go to the beach later that day and he said sure!

Here is the altered plastic trash bin.  There's a rope tied on opposite sides and the bottom of the bin has been completely cut out.  Matthew created a little mound of sand first, then placed the bin on top and started adding sand.

Then he brought out the pickle pail and got water and added that in.  Water and sand.  Water and sand.  This makes the sand easier to manipulate.

When we were in the Burger King business pickles used to come in green pails like this one.  We always had pickle pails in the garage and of course everyone I knew had a pickle pail or two.  It's been a long time since I've seen a green pickle pail.  I'm so happy that there's at least one still in the family.

I think Matthew got into the bin after eat water and sand layer to compact the sand.

The bin is totally full and he has put in the last bucket of water and it letting it firm up.  He taps on the side of the bin from top to bottom, helping to compact the sand even more.  This also helps to release the bin from the compacted sand within.

My dad, in the gray shirt and my husband in the white t-shirt and towel are helping.  Matthew had had concerns that maybe this trash bin wasn't strong enough for too many uses and ultimately the rope pulled through one side.  The boys then had to pull the bin up.  It was no easy task!

Finally the mold was released and the sand for is ready for sculpting.

The first few cuts are drastic, but Matthew knows what he is doing.

He has a knife and a trowel that he mostly used.  Can you see the form that this sand sculpture is becoming?

Matthew told me that the sculptures he makes need to pretty compact because when the sand dries out it just falls off.  He doesn't have a spray bottle or anything to keep it all wet all the time.

At one point during the process, Matthew went to out shady spot to grab a drink and take a breather. This little girl started gathering shells and trying to poke them into the sculpture to make eyes.  She was doing a little decorating and well, her decorating was not appreciated!  Matthew put her to work patting down the sides so she could still be involved and not mess up the vision he had for the sculpture.

Here is the pelican, looking out over the water.  I think Matthew changed a few things on the bird after this shot, but those were just little things.

It's pretty cool, don't you think?

It took a few hours to do it, but boy was it fun.

So much more fun than laying on a towel.

Here's Mr. Pelican watching the smooth Gulf water this day.

My Aunt Marg and Uncle Matthew with the finished creation.

Thanks Matt for letting me photograph the journey from beach sand to pelican.



Rebecca said...

That sand sculpture is awesome! Wow.

lisleman said...

nice sequence of pics and a great end result. I remember some sand sculptures in Mississippi when I was there. I know they can become very large for the contests.

Ann in the UP said...

That was one great post! Lessons from Kristin, and Uncle Matt. Thanks for the inside look.

Debby@Just Breathe said...

This was fun. Thank you for taking me through the steps. Now I need to go to the beach!

Mrs4444 said...

Very cool! I'll have to keep that in mind for when we go camping on a lake later this month!