Pig and Pepper - sand sculpture
My first sand sculpture in 2014 was made in Weymouth, England as part of the Sand World exhibition. I was glad I got invited back after last years fiasco where I was mugged at knifepoint on my first evening and then had to spend the rest of the time helping the police with their enquiries. I was also happy that I was getting to work inside the tent and not in the freezing wind and rain like the previous year.
The theme of the overall project was English books and writers. So, I decided to do a sculpture based on one of my favourites 'Alice's adventures in Wonderland'. As a book, it has some amazing visual imagery conjured up by the beautiful text by Louis Carroll but it also has some wonderful Illustrations by John Tenniel.
These I decided to base my work on.
I loved the crosshatched lines in the original woodcut illustrations and wanted to experiment with how I could create a sculpture of a drawing but still have it look like a drawing, Having experimented with a few ideas I made a tool from a bit of bandolier strap. Bandolier strap is that metal belt they put around concrete blocks to keep them together for transport. It is strong and thin and I could bend it into a zig zaggy comb which I attached to a wooden handle. Raking this over the surface of the sand produced scratched in lots of lines like the crosshatched effect I was searching for.
In the flat light of the tent, this technique helped add lots of contrast and form to the sculpture. So I was a bit chuffed with myself. The whole thing looked like a drawing of a sculpture of a drawing and it was nice to try and add all the sketchiness of the original.
In keeping with the subject, I used a big book as a backdrop and the illustrations were bursting from its pages. On the sides, as supports, I made The March Hare and The Mad Hatter. At around 3 meters tall and 6 meters wide it was a real pleasure to spend ten days really getting lost in my work.
Original Illustration John Tenniel 1865
Just in case I get a visit from Hivewatchers here is the original illustration from the book. I usually don't copy other people's work but this was a good exercise for me and I think Mr. Tinniel wouldn't mind as I believe it is a nice homage and after 140 something years I think it is out of copyright.
The C word
It was a really nice project with a small group and we were treated very well by our hosts. I was really having a nice time until near the end when I got a dreaded phone call from my brother to tell me that my father had just gotten some very bad news from his doctor.
He was diagnosed with Lung cancer and there was nothing that could be done based on his age of 86 and the fact it wasn't caught early enough. It was difficult news to hear made all the worse that I was sitting alone in hotel room a country away. The shock of the call made me numb, it was only when I rang my father the next day that I broke down. I promised myself I would be strong on the phone but my voice cracked and as I listened to him tell me he was alright and that he would be staying around as long as he could I wept openly.
I won't tell you how much I loved my father. Whatever I wrote would be full of understatements and I know nobody would really, really get it. It would be a bit like when someone tries to tell you their dream. It just doesn't translate. Just know the news crushed me.
I dried my tears and returned to work. I still had the Hatter and the Hare to make. At this point, I was coasting. The sculpture style was already programmed into my muscle memory and I just wanted to finish and go home. I made these parts in a daze.
I decide to not say anything to any of my friends on the project. I didn't want to bring the atmosphere down and I didn't want to draw attention to my suffering.
When I got home I tried to spend as much time as I could with him and my mother. I knew We were in for some tough times ahead.
In other news
I don't want to end this post with such a sad story I just like to give you the full picture of what was happening when I made this sculpture. I really liked how it turned out and have mostly happy, proud memories of it and the project so I want to end on a high note.
If you have read my last post about an icecapade I was involved in. Well, that was pushed well out of my head when I came back to Dublin I only had my family on my mind and spent most days with my parents.
Then, one day while driving in my car I got a phone call from a production company saying that I had won the Heineken Legends! I had genuinely forgotten that it was a completion. It turned out that the prize was an all-expenses-paid five-star holiday in Belize and I would get to bring a guest. I figure that if she was good I might bring my wife Clodagh. The best part was that we would get to spend a few nights on our own private island. This was a dream I have had for many years, to be a Robinson Crusoe and it would be all the more best with my wonderful wife by my side.
The only stipulation of the holiday was that I would have to take it within a year. With all else that I had going on it was unsure when it would be possible.
I know I said I wanted to end on a high note but will you accept this bittersweet ending? Let me know below. To sweeten the deal a little more here is the March Hare.
Thanks for reading. I use PeakD to document my work as an ephemeral Sculptor of sand, snow and ice, amongst other things. This will hopefully give it a new life on the Hive Blockchain. Below you will find some of my recent posts.
Heineken Legends - ice sculpture
Melting ice on Canary Wharf - ice sculpture
Iglu Dorf Music - snow sculpture
I hope you'll join me again soon
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