Peter Volegaar began sculpting 27 years ago, and since then has taken home six trophies from Parksville sand sculpting competitions. (Emily Vance photo)

‘What people create in 30 hours is amazing’: six-time sand sculpting champion

The inside scoop on a delicate art with former solo division winner

The NEWS sat down with Peter Vogelaar, winner of the solo division in the 2018 Quality Foods Sand Sculpting Competition, for a deeper look at the joys and challenges of working with sand. Vogelaar won the solo division last year with his sculpture of Jimi Hendix, entitled Hendrix Live – Wild Thing.

Vogelaar’s sculpture this year, of a sandcastle flanked by a mermaid and a sea dragon, is entitled Beneath the Waves.

What’s the most difficult thing about working with sand as a medium?

I’m always pushing, pushing for height, or pushing for something dangerous. And then when you take the bottom form off, it starts to crack, and some of the people have had collapses here. So far mine has stayed up.

It’s very vertical, and very tall. Everywhere you go the sand is different… I’m always an optimist. I’m always thinking the sand is really good. This sand is pretty good. The stuff we’re doing with it is pretty amazing, but still, it’s got some qualities that scare me a little bit.

What’s the most rewarding thing about sand as a medium?

It’s just how much you can do in a short time. If you look at my piece, even with all the preparation and the shovelling, in thirty hours you can produce so much. You look around at all these pieces – what people create in 30 hours is amazing. So that’s what I like about sand.

What kind of tools do you use?

Quite a variety. The main tool is a small trowel that’s sort of adapted from masonry. To do that wavy sand bottom I use a big spoon, artist pallet knives. A little shovel is always good. And then there’s odd things like garden tools. And I made little loopy tools out of banding and stuff. Sometimes you actually make a tool for a job.

What other mediums do you sculpt in?

Everything. Concrete, stone, steel, bronze, ice, snow. I don’t carve wood, but pretty much everything else.

How does weather factor in?

I have a harder time with the heat. It’s funny because sand sculptors are generally working on hot beaches. They think that snow sculpting is so awful because it’s so cold, but I can dress for the cold. I can’t dress for the heat.

What’s it like having all these people watch you?

I’m a ham. (laughs) I think most of us are quite used to it. I’ve been sculpting in public for almost 30 years. I started with snow 27 years ago. And you’re always getting either stupid questions, or good comments, or both. It’s part of it. Very, very rarely you get a heckler.

Did you sculpt this in advance, did you have plans, or did you just go with it?

I did a little bit of research. I’ve done a few castles but not too many. I looked at some of those. I looked at an underseas scene that a friend did in Virginia. Just to sort of get some things that I could incorporate. I really wanted to put in more fish. That was one thing I didn’t have. But I ended up with a sea dragon, and that wasn’t planned. (laughs)

emily.vance@pqbnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Power lines cut as thieves strike Parksville veterinary hospital

‘Thankfully there weren’t any animals or staff in the clinic when this happened’

Pieces of history: Qualicum Beach is home to massive private skateboard collection

Eric Pinto owns hundreds of boards, spanning multiple decades

Parksville Qualicum Beach youngsters offer innovative solutions for problem of discarded hypodermic needles

Team headed to B.C. Championship Lego Robotics finals in Victoria in early February

Regional District of Nanaimo not ready to commit $500K to Ballenas track project

Request for funding assistance deferred to Oceanside Services Committee

PQBeat podcast: Parksville-Qualicum MLA Michelle Stilwell

Listen: Latest installment covers politics, athletics and more

VIDEO: Soldiers trade rifles for snow shovels to help dig out St. John’s

A state of emergency is set to extend into a fifth day

Warm ‘blob’ could be behind mass starvation of North Pacific seabirds: study

Unprecedented death toll raises red flag for North American marine ecosystems

Nanaimo mom will celebrate 40th in style after $500,000 lotto win

Crystal Giesbrecht matches all four numbers on BC/49 Extra

ICBC to bring in ranking system for collision, glass repair shops

Change comes after the much-maligned auto insurer has faced criticism for sky-high premiums

‘It was just so fast’: B.C. teen recalls 150-metre fall down Oregon mountain

Surrey’s Gurbaz Singh broke his leg on Mount Hood on Dec. 30

Vancouver Island Pride weekend returns to Mount Washington Alpine Resort

Building on the success of last year’s family-friendly pride festival on Vancouver… Continue reading

Scarlett Point lighthouse keeper wins a million bucks playing the lottery

“I usually just get a quick pick, so I didn’t expect to win a big prize”

B.C. woman crowned the fastest female marathon runner in Canadian history

Malindi Elmore ran an incredible 2:24:50 at the Houston Marathon

Most Read