Mr Sandman

When 3500 tonnes of sand is deposited on the Frankston foreshore next month, more than 20 sculptors from here and overseas will begin transforming it into a fantastic world of dinosaurs, dragons, pirates and princesses.

Among them will be Frankston’s Peter Redmond, who has been sculpting for Sandstorm – the company behind the Sand Sculpting Australia events – since 2006.  “I’ve been told I’ll be working on the gingerbread village, Candyland, so that will be interesting,” Peter said.  “I get to work with a Canadian sculptor we’ve had out quite a few times – I’m pretty excited about that because he’s an amazing sculptor. They’re the people you like to work with because they’re the ones that’ll help you value-add to your skills. I’ve been doing it professionally for 10 years and I’m still learning.”

Peter, whose background is in design and illustration, was introduced to sand sculpting through a work association; within a few years the bug had bitten him and he decided to give it a go. “You tend to find a lot of the people come from design backgrounds – industrial designers, landscape designers, graphic designers - people whose work is spatial issues.

“I really enjoy doing major events in Frankston every year because we get such high-quality internationals coming in – if you see them doing something you haven’t seen before you ask them about it, or if you’re sculpting a female face and you have issues and it’s just not working for you, you can always get help, and that’s knowledge you can keep.  Those are the little increments that build up your career.

“Initially, when I was just starting to sculpt, everything was a challenge because you’ve got to learn new skills and understand ways of working with sand, and part of that is understanding the sand itself because everywhere you go the sand is different.”  In Frankston the sculptors will be working with brickies’ loam from Langwarrin, to which water is added until a Play-Doh consistency is achieved.  It’s then compacted into formwork, hand-sculpted into shape and lightly sprayed with a biodegradable PVA glue so it doesn’t reabsorb moisture.

A small sculpture can take a day or two to complete if there’s a lot of detail; the team of sculptors in Frankston will take about two weeks to create their display, Lands of Imagination, which opens on Boxing Day.  It will be preceded by Santa’s Sand Land from December 16-23.