KEY WEST, Fla. — High-energy creativity, unique “art supplies” and beachside fun came together in Key West this weekend, when eight leading sand sculptors from several countries vied for top honors in the International Sand Art Competition.
Artists in the Thanksgiving weekend challenge, held on the Atlantic Ocean beach of Key West’s Casa Marina Resort, each received about 9 tons of sand to use in their large-scale creations. They were required to craft their sculptures out of just sand and water without using any electric tools, molds or glue and had to comply with an early Saturday afternoon completion deadline.
“The tools that they use are all hand tools — there’s no mechanical tools allowed,” event coordinator Marianne van den Broek, a longtime Key West sand artist, said Saturday afternoon. “Most of it are trowels, some use knives or some clay tools as well to get the shapes and the figures in there that they are trying to accomplish.”Sculptors from as far away as the Czech Republic, Singapore and Ireland competed, along with Canadian and U.S. entrants.
Pieces included “See the World in a Different Angle,” by Singapore’s Jooheng Tan, depicting a giant toddler bent over to view his surroundings upside down; and “Yoga Makes Her Happy” by the Czech Republic’s Jakub Zimacek, portraying a supersized woman in a pretzel-like yoga pose with her face stretched in an improbably wide grin.
Morgan Rudluff of San Francisco created a reclining figure, composed of separated abstract body parts, that was inspired by her intense interest in the healing arts and self-care.
“My sculpture is called ‘Self-Repair’, and it’s a piece about the body’s own ability to heal,” Rudluff said. “It’s about how we all are primary actors in our own healing and repair work.”
Competition events continue through Sunday, when teams of up to five people can test their skills in an amateur sand-sculpting contest — surrounded and motivated by the professionals’ creations.