Every year, more than 20 sand sculptors from across Australia and around the world turn 3500 tonnes of sand into incredible works of art on Frankston Waterfront. The Sand Sculpting Australia exhibition, which draws thousands of people to our city over summer, is the brainchild of Sandstorm Events director and South Frankston resident Sharon Redmond. She talks to Mornington Peninsula Magazine about how it all started.
Where did the idea come from?
I saw a sand sculpture on the beach at Rye about 14 years ago, fell in love with the art form and thought it would be great to bring it to the Australian public in an event format. I was working for Vision Australia at the time so I developed it as a fundraising initiative for them in conjunction with a small community group called Rye Beach Action Group. After a number of years Vision Australia decided to no longer run events, so l purchased the event that l had developed for them from them and started Sandstorm Events.
How long did it take to get off the ground?
The first three to five years were very hard as the art form was not known in Australia. Fortunately, the Australian public fell in love with the art form – as l had – and Frankston City Council decided to host the event on their foreshore. We have now been running at Frankston for 11 years, and due to the popularity of this event we also hold annual events in NSW, South Australia and Queensland as well as running school holiday programs in shopping centres all throughout Australia.
Who was your biggest help/influence?
Aidan J Graham, a businessman in Langwarrin who owned a quarry with the special type of sand that we need. He loved what the sand artists did with the sand and for the first four events donated all the sand and – in conjunction with another local company, Maw Civil – all the haulage. Without this initial support we could not have got the event off the ground.
What’s the most rewarding part of the job?
Watching a generational family – grandparents, parents and children – all view the sculptures and each take something from it. It is an art form that reaches all age groups. Also l gain great pleasure from watching the sculptors at work, creating a three-dimensional sculpture from a simple drawing. It constantly amazes me.
Where do the theme concepts come from each year?
I draw the theme each year from our research material, where we ask our audience what they would like to see carved in the sand.
What’s been your favourite Sand Sculpture theme?
Disney – I am a Disney princess at heart!
Any other similar plans in the works?
We are looking to develop our four-month event at Frankston into an all-year-round attraction with a roof over the sculptures. This is a very exciting project in the pipeline and we hope to see it come to fruition in 2018.
Do you travel for work?
Yes, l am fortunate that we get to create sand magic all over Australia and overseas. I have travelled to the Maldives, Singapore, Cable Beach, Townsville, Esperance, Darwin … it is part of the job that is really amazing, and l count my blessings every day that l can wake up and do something that l love with a passion.
What’s your favourite thing to do on the Peninsula?
Go for long walks and dine out in our amazing restaurants across the Peninsula.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I hope all the readers have had a chance to see the amazing sand sculptures on the Frankston Waterfront. They will be on display until the end of April.