The Australian Sand Sculpting Championships were a huge success in Surfers Paradise again this year, with crowds soaking up the sun and the spectacle of huge mythical masterpieces (Sand Safari, 14th Feb-2nd March 2014).
California is credited with the evolution of sand sculpting as we see it here, but my first experience was elsewhere. I was mesmerised by my first sand sculpture 20 years ago in Benidorm, a somewhat seedy Spanish beachside resort catering to all-inclusive package tours from Britain.
The mild climate and relaxed atmosphere attracts a bevy of itinerant artists who make the most of an abundant resource. They quickly fashion life-sized forms reclining on the sand, with horses and humans being popular choices. These low-lying structures are most common because they cannot afford the luxury of scaffolding or form-work. They use little else but beach sand, and keep it damp by spraying plain water on every stage.
The artists must eat and sleep beside their pieces, to protect them from marauders and the weather, but also to collect the coins that appreciative tourists toss toward their open backpacks.
Sand art to do at home On wet drizzly days, or when the holiday is over, entertain the kids with coloured sand art. Make your own or select from a range of creative templates you can buy online.