Well, happy Christmas to you all. I think it is weird that there are supposed to be 12 days of Christmas when in fact there are 13. Just count them out yourself. Starting Christmas day and stretching to little Christmas or the Epiphany I see 13. So I thought I would put a little collection together of my older posts to give them another outing and to try and post more than I have been lately, it also gives me an opportunity to re-edit the text. They are all Christmas themed but each has its own special angle.
So, without further ado sit back and let me present some blasts from the past.
El Caganer (The shitter)
originally posted Dec 28, 2017
I'm back from my travels of working with sand and snow and am now looking forward to a new year of posting more regularly and maybe even adding other sculpture material works to Hive.
I hope you are all having a great Christmas and are enjoying time with your family and loved ones.
For the season that is in it, I have decided to share with you a sculpture of a shitting man. ( Yes, this is very seasonal) just ask anyone in the Republic of Catalonia.
I was asked by my good friend Nuria Vallverdu Villaginis to come to La Pineda in Catalonia to help make a sand nativity. This was in 2000 and 20 years later the Nativity is still going strong but each year with a different theme. Over the years we became very bored of making tradition cribs so began to experiment with making it more modern and with hidden messages, to make it more interesting for the audience but of course also for ourselves. The locals and tourists really enjoy the idea of trying to work out what it's all about and not just being faced with the usual classical sculpture of the holy family, which there are lots of, scattered around the Mediterranean.
This first year we were still quite traditional we had Mary, Joseph and Jesus some a Shepard and animals and of course a man taking a dump behind the stable.
When Nuria asked me to carve it I thought she was joking but for the locals, he is as much an integral figure as the baby JC. I shit you not. While I worked on the piece the audience found it as normal as if I had been making the mother of God.
The Caganer is a symbol for fertilising the ground and is in every set of crib figures in these areas. I also had a Lebanese guy tell me that they had the same. Here's a link to find out more about him Wikipooia about the Caganer. There are also some other characters that sometimes make an appearance, the Washer Woman and the Wood Cutter.
Coming from a quite traditionally Catholic country as I do I was a bit uneasy about making this figure but by the end, I really enjoyed painstakingly making his poo with gusto. I used lighter coloured sand for this.
(Do you remember growing up and seeing all of the white dog poo in the streets, maybe it was just the fashion or diet of dogs back then but it stuck with me and sometimes on me.)
A newspaper and toilet roll finished off the ensemble. Definitely not my best work (I hope!) but it was a fun project and one I would return to many years to come. Being the longest-running carver in its 20 years.
The rest of the crib was pretty traditional, as I said. Carved By Fergus Mulvany, Ludo Roders, Caroline St. Olive and Nuria Vallverdu Villaginis. Even though we were still quite amateur at carving it all came together and looked quite nice with the Lights we added. The town folk really loved it and treated us like kings with our own private rooms in a 4 star hotel and brought us out to dinner each night to a different up-market restaurant. These were the golden years of sand sculpture but I still look back with embarrassment at how bad a sculptor I was. I hope over my posts to show you that I got a bit better.