A sandy interlude ….

Hi all..  well I’ve had a ‘bit of a week’ not been on top form health wise and family life causing havoc… not to mention having to get the apples picked in for storage and apple juice pressing and various other ‘good-life’ things like making marmalade from Seville oranges I’d popped in the freezer last January (only because I ran out of time for making it back then lol)

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Welcome to ‘my’ beach (looking left)
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Welcome to ‘my’ beach (looking right)

So, to cheer myself up I’m posting a few of my ‘between the tides’ sand-sculpting photos from my second week’s stay in France this year.  The weather wasn’t perfect for taking a long time in the making but I still enjoyed myself and still garnered comments and conversation from passing French folk, promenading the beach and coming across this mad English woman.

My first – as is usual – was the mermaid… I always do at least one mermaid .. and the French do like a ‘sirène’.  The challenge is always to get a ‘good’ face!  This one .. not bad.. not brilliant.

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The next time I hit the beach with a friend – a sand-sculpture newbie – who created an excellent relief version of a dolphin (very difficult to photograph as you just cannot get high enough above it to get the proportions right in the picture) And I had a go at a head of Medusa… yes those are supposed to be snakes for hair…DSCF7142DSCF7135 …click on any photo to see them better.

The next day I was back on my own again and the tide was coming in fast – I could see that it was going to reach the sand-sculptures before the end of the day. I found some lovely long lengths of bootlace seaweed (Chorda filum) – and decided to make my sculpture called ‘The Giant Has Gone Swimming’ whereby I remove sand in giant foot-print shapes and use it to build a pair of giant’s boots, complete with ‘seaweed’ laces.  I then took a picture to show that at the end of  day 3 all the sculptures were still there on the beach … just waiting for the tide to wipe the canvas clean.

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The next day, sadly not as warm or sunny, I managed a swift ‘Giant’s Hand’ before being rained-off’ DSCF7159

Which didn’t stop me getting in the sea and body-boarding 🙂 Ah! Now I feel better.

What cheers you up?

Do you sand-sculpt when on the beach (or are you sane?)

Do share – you know I love to hear from you

 

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How to make a Shark (BTT sand-sculpture)

Ok,  so if you haven’t read my other blogs on sand sculpture I need to explain the BTT (Between The Tides) As in – you are working with sea sand ( not the best – sand grains roll off each other as they dry so not as strong in sculpture) plus you have all the randoms (shells and bits of shell, seaweed, stones, rubbish) that may get into your sculpture sand, plus there is not time to stack and pack as the ‘professionals’ do as you only have the time between tides to work in (or less).

So there you are at the seaside with good sand and a collection of items to help you. A shovel or two, a knife and a spoon are pretty useful, a couple of brushes (cheap decorators paint brushes – one large one small – (about four inches and an inch) and at least one bucket.

On this day I looked at the tide, it was coming in, but I thought I had time for a shark. [click on the pictures if you need to see details or the whole picture as the thumbnail size trims it down]

1, Mark out shark shape on the sand with the corner of the shovel – give it a bit of a wiggle to suggest movement, 2,  Go round this line again, digging the shovel in deeper, 3, Dig all round the shape up to the line and tossing the waste in to the shape.

4, Continue doing this, digging from the outside towards the line and throwing the waste into the shape centre – consciously building up higher where it is needed. 5, Using your fingers knead the lumps of sand and using your hands roughly shape the mound into the approximate outline. 6, Pat it firmly into shape – using the back of a shovel to firm up the larger areas and hands for smaller areas like the tail. (Do not worry about the fin yet – but leave the fin areas rough – do not pat smooth)

 

 

 

 

 

7,  Start to build up the dorsal fin, it will be about six inches wide where it leaves the back of the shark, use loose damp sand that has come from the shaping and squeeze it up between your hands always leaving the top edge rough to take the next layer. 8, Work on a large wide curve, bringing the sand up thinner nearer the top. Using both hands, one to steady the fin, pat the sides to gently firm it. 9,  Do the same for the tail (caudal) fin.(just about visible on this pic)  Then leave both to ‘settle in’.

10, While the dorsal fins ‘settle in’ turn to the side (pectoral) fins, sweep away loose sand. 11,  Use the knife and trim to shape – again removing loose sand. 12, Cut angles on the fins and slightly undercut both front and back to make them look thinner.

13, Gently pat and brush down the whole body of the shark until you are happy that it looks smooth enough. 14, Find a some suitable shells or pebbles to use for the shark’s eyes. Mussel shells, smooth clam shells or flat round grey pebbles are best. With a little rotational movement, site these either side of the head – taking care to have them even and 15, using the knife or tip of the spoon carve the nostrils.

16, Now return to the dorsal and caudal fins. For both of the fins start by marking out the curve that will make the characteristic shark fin look – draw it gently and evenly on  both sides. 17, Do the caudal fin on the tail first – it will give you practice. 18, 19, 20  start to shave the sand away, cutting at an angle from one side then the other. 21, Thin out the top of the fin a little by shaving gently with the knife – brush down to remove loose sand. (most pictures show working on large dorsal fin)

22, Below the nose of the shark draw a line for the mouth, then draw another line just below that one – carefully cut out the wedge in between. Add some broken shells to make white teeth. 23,  Draw the gills on either side of the head – again by making two cuts. 24, brush the cuts smooth to finish.

25,  Tidy the area, pulling loose sand out to make an edge to frame the sculpture . 26, There is always something red in the flotsam on the beach – here a broken piece of plastic makes a good raw-meat look-alike for the shark to get its teeth into, 27, Final picture of the shark,  28, silhouette against the incoming tide.

Hope you have enjoyed watching me make a sand shark 🙂

and thanks to my friend Krissi for the shots where I am in them! And – it’s true – I must be a little mad – taking time to make such things that last such a short time before the tide takes them away. However, as we packed up and returned to our car, ours weren’t the only photographs that were taken of the shark – so it gave some pleasure to others too.

Latest info for my FWT cheerleaders is – a half pound down and I’m giving a talk on weight loss by using the method my sons and I worked out, at my WI on Wednesday – so that should be fun.

And I am still gearing up for the poetry workshop I am running at the Landulph Festival on Tuesday of next week – more about poetry then!

What do you like to do on the beach? Lie in the sun or do something active? Do share – I love to hear from you.

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BTT sand sculptures – getting started

As I said in the last Blog – making sand-sculptures for my own children to play in was how it started. I guess most people make a boat in sand for their youngsters to play in but in my case it didn’t stop there – all sorts of vehicles were made and then the animals started, hippos, stegosauruses (the boys were very much into their dinosaurs at the time). It wasn’t long before the older boys started creating their own sand-sculptures, so we would hit the beach and soon a wide variety of sculptures would be created. A child as young as four can create an impressive starfish with a little guidance from an adult. Three year-olds can even collect shells and ‘make’ and decorate a simple tortoise.

There are a few simple steps for a basic sand sculpture like a starfish with a youngster – they can help at all stages, and, depending on age, may just need to be shown the first little bit of each stage and allowed to continue on their own..

1, Draw the outline on the sand then go round it again deeper.

2, D2ig from the outside into this line throwing the sand onto the shape within the outline, more where it will need to be higher, less where it needs to be lower.

3, When they have dug all round the shape assess whether there is enough sand to make the raised form… if not dig all round again.

 

4, Shape the sand in the outline. Knead it with your fingers to break down lumps, shuffle it with your hands into the rough form

5, When in the rough form pat the sand evenly, smearing loose sand up into dips and patting it smooth again.

6, Draw any lines required with the knife, making two lines near each other for each line you want. (not needed on this one)

7, Trim tidily all round the sculpture leaving a crisp edge between it andthe surrounding sand.

8, Using a brush sweep away loose sand and finger marks from the surface of the sculpture.

 

 

9, Draw loose sand back with the flat of the blade of the spade, to form a frame for their sculpture.

10, Don’t forget to pat a smooth place within the frame and get them to sign it – with their initials and the date – it is their sculpture!

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‘Between The Tides’ Sand Sculptures

So I have been away, and when I am away I get to do three things more than I do at any other time of the year. Write my novels, body boarding, more about both elsewhere, and sand-sculpt. Now if you were expecting those magnificent semi-permanent structures created by teams of professionals in special sites all over the world then you may be disappointed, my type of sand-sculpture is ‘between the tides’ which means it is made with ordinary beach sand and in the time between tides, usually remaining on the beach only until the next high tide.

Beach sand is not favoured by the professionals, the grains are too round and do not stick together well enough or allow for the crisp outlines they require. The time between tides is also not sufficient for these elaborate structures as each must be built up over time, with formers being filled with the correct mixture of lake sand and water and tamped down until firm, where upon a second former is placed on top and filled and tamped down and only when that is firm and stable enough can the subsequent formers and layers be added. As you can guess this takes quite a long time and, indeed, a team of people. There may be only one named sculptor, though frequently there are the ‘rough sculptors’ who take the blocks of sand away and the finisher who does the fine work.

However, BTT sand sculptures are possible for everyone who has a bucket and spade and a knife (normal cutlery – not necessarily sharp) and a brush or two (the cheapest from the DIY store) and sand that will stick together – if it would make a reasonably firm sand castle tipped from a bucket – it can be used to sculpt. This year my husband and I have been away with family again, our eldest son, wife and two small grandchildren. This has changed the basic repertoire of my sculptures, which were getting more arty and less representational, back to where I started, sand-sculpture for my own children to play in.  So this year I have had to make a series of Thomas the Tank engines, boats and aeroplanes as well as having the lee way to make a stegosaurus, a shark and my trademark mermaid.

 

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Welcome to my Blog

I decided it was about time I started a blog… after all I’ve been writing one in my head for ages.

I didn’t realise how tricky finding a title for my blog was going to be, I considered many pithy and wise sounding names, only to find others had the same idea before me. I considered a list, ‘my blog on writing novels, keeping chickens and goats, sand sculpting, body-boarding, slate-ware, belly-dancing , cake-decorating, poetry and life….’ Too long winded I thought, but that’s what its going to be about. My life and my passions within in it…. so welcome to

Ann Foweraker – Publishing my novels and other Passions

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