Are they really only sand & water?
Yes! They really are only sand and water. In general the sand grains have to be sharp edged, and it is this property that makes Weston sand so suitable for sculpting (don’t worry, you wont cut your feet on the sand, it’s a very, very small sharp edge!). This structure makes the sand “click” together when the sand is mixed with plenty of water and compacted into a dense mass. We do this compacting by building pyramids of sand by using wooden frames, which are of course removed before sculpting! There is absolutely no framework inside!
What happens when it rains?
We get wet! Nothing happens to the sculptures – they are surprisingly robust. The rainwater drains into the sand and evaporates when (if!) it stops raining. During severe rainstorms, the horizontal surfaces might show little dents where the raindrops hit the surface, but this will not affect the whole sculpture. They can be easily repaired if wear and tear should occur.
What is that stuff you spray on the sculptures?
It is not hairspray, egg white or concrete! Because we want the sculptures to stand for a long time (and because the weather in Weston is very unpredictable) we spray an environmentally friendly screen solution over the surface when they are completely finished. This does not stick the sculptures together, make them stronger or make them waterproof, it simply adds a thin skin to the outer surface of the sculptures to repel some rain and to stop it soaking in and causing collapses!
How long can sand sculptures last?
When a sand sculpture is created outdoors it will easily last several months. In fact the outdoor record is more than a year! When built indoors, there is no reason that a sand sculpture won’t last forever!
What are those wires sticking out of the top of some sculptures?
These are not the remains of a framework or the hooks in which we transport them from place to place! They are there simply to stop pesky birds from damaging the intricate tops of the sculptures.
How long do they take to make?
For this year’s festival 15 professional sculptors are carving 5,000 tonnes of sand, over 11 days to create the exhibition. They will carve for 8 hours a day. It’s hard work, trust us!
Have these same sculptures been made for other exhibitions?
NO! These sculptures have been designed and created especially for the Weston Sand Sculpture Festival. They are one of a kind and will not be seen anywhere else so miss it and miss out!
Do they ever collapse?
Yes! When we are carving the sculptures we use very wet sand as this helps us to shape and mould it. However, this also means that the sand is at its most vulnerable and that we do get the odd collapse here and there. And yes, this is very annoying! Once they are fully dried out we are pretty sure that if you drove your car into them, you would do more damage to your car! However, please don’t try this.
How much do the artists get paid?
It’s a secret! But rest assured all of our sculptors are extremely well trained and experienced and are worth every penny.
What happens with the sculptures after the festival?
On the last day of the festival, there will be a special and exclusive opening day for visually handicapped people, who will be allowed to “see” the sculptures with their fingers. After this day, the sculptures are bulldozed to the ground ready for you to sunbathe on for the rest of the year! Good luck with that.