Art in the sand

Many of us have fond memories of scooping up sand with a little plastic shovel, packing it into a bucket, and making our very own castle. After a hard afternoon’s work, the tide would come in and we’d laugh as the surf destroyed all our hard work. That was part of the fun!

But making sandcastles isn’t just kid’s stuff. There’s a whole international community of artists out there who look on it as art as well as fun. Some creations are truly incredible, like the one pictured here, made in Victoria. Australia, in 2002. It’s ten feet tall and almost as wide. Making those arches near the top must have been tricky. I would have probably fallen over and left a Sean-shaped impression on the all those lovely domes and spires.

And not all these artists make castles. Dragons, mermaids, abstract designs, even human figures are all fair game. In fact, they prefer the term “sand art” since it sounds more respectable and isn’t limited to the traditional castle.

There are even artists who do their work as a job instead of just a hobby, like the talented G. Augustine Lynas, an artist who works in a variety of media but whose talent shines best in bizarre creations in sand and snow.

The best place to see these artists show off their talents is at one of the big competitions. Harrison Hot Springs in British Columbia, Canada, had one of the biggest every year, but sadly it has been discontinued. You can see a cool video of last year’s entries here. Another one takes place every year on Hampton Beach, New Hampshire, USA in June. The best place for up-to-date information on the nearest competition and tips on how to create sand art of your own is Sand Castle Central.