Billions of grains of sand made the 14 eye-catching entries in this year’s Windsor International Sand Sculpting Competition but there was only one winner — Lawson’s Jino Van Bruinessen for his impressive ‘crashing teapots’ artwork.
“In a competition with quality entries like this, winning is a bit of a lottery,” Mr Van Bruinessen said on Friday.
“We were given the theme of a fairytale or a fable and it was only on the morning of the competition that I made a decision on either doing the teapots design or an Alice in Wonderland style one I had — it turned out to be the right decision.
“I based it on an ancient fable by Aesop and I think the cartoon element of it appealed particularly to kids but people can look at it from all different perspectives.”
Entrants were given the task of building their sculpture out of up to 60 tonnes of sand in 36 hours over four consecutive days.
“We use builders’ sand which is very compacted and sticks together better than beach sand so it allows deep undercuts, overhangs and complex shapes to be carved.
“You always start carving at the top of the sculpture down.
“And while the aim is to bring as much joy to as many people as possible, given you are working with sand, once you make a sculpture you must mentally let go of it because it is a temporary artwork that will one day make room for a new one.”
Mr Van Bruinessen said he began sand sculpting in the early 1990s when Sutherland Shire Council asked him to make a piece. He then regularly entered competitions in Cronulla, Frankston and recently in Windsor and has turned it into a full-time career, working on television commercials and at major overseas festivals in Europe, Asia and South America.
“Two years ago I was part of an international team at Zhoushan Island near Shanghai that broke the Guinness Book of Records category for biggest sand sculpture — we built an ‘African stories’ themed sculpture that was eight storeys (25 metres) high and about 1.5 soccer fields in area.
“Sand sculpting is a bit of a subculture and there’s only a couple of hundred people around the world doing it (mostly full-time) so everyone kind of knows each other.
“Some of them also do snow and ice sculpting.
“For me, the most appealing thing about sand is that it can be used in such a wide variety of techniques, applications, textures and finishes and every year the quality of art gets better.”
Runners-up at Windsor were Sandis Kondrats (Latvia) and Sue McGrew (USA) with sculptures inspired by Lord of the Rings and Aladdin.
Among the entries are a tree warrior, the Pied Piper and a gremlin.
Visitors can continue to enjoy the sculptures on the foreshore at Howe Park until January 28.
Ticketholders can vote for the People’s Choice Award and two sculptors will be on-site at the festival creating various display pieces using 60 tonnes of sand so visitors can see how it is all done.
There are also sand sculpting workshops for children.
For more information phone 4578-0233 or visit www.sandsculpting.com.au.