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 

Just Posted

Retired Nanoose Bay teacher ‘Set for Life’ after $675K lottery win

Shannon plans to buy new sails for his sailboat

Country music star Aaron Pritchett back in Qualicum Beach to play benefit concert

Singer to headline Thalassa restaurant fundraiser for Ronald McDonald house

Qualicum school district sees utility costs go down

Capital funding opportunities promote clean energy and drive efficiencies

Order in the chambers: Qualicum Beach votes for council code of conduct

Coun. Robert Filmer’s motion passes unanimously at town meeting

Rainbow crosswalk in Qualicum Beach covered in mysterious black substance

‘It was disappointing to see this act of disrespect take place inside our community’

Ethnic media aim to help maintain boost in voting by new Canadians

Statistics Canada says new Canadians made up about one-fifth of the voting population in 2016

Speculation tax forces sale of Greater Victoria’s iconic ‘Tulip House’

Bob and Jan Fleming selling their retirement home famous for its thousands of tulips

New police force in Surrey must avoid VPD, RCMP errors made in Pickton case: Oppal

Boots are scheduled to be on the ground by spring 2021

Man at centre of dropped HIV-disclosure case sues province and 10 cops

Brian Carlisle of Abbotsford says Mission RCMP defamed him and were ‘negligent’ in their investigation

Striking Western Forest Products workers could lose benefits in September

Union, forest company at odds over Vancouver Island benefit payments as strike enters third month

Conan turns to the Property Brothers for tips on buying Greenland

Jonathan Scott suggests removing glaciers and mountains to bring in ‘more natural light’

Forests minister visits B.C. town rocked by multiple mill shutdowns

A third of Mackenzie turns out for rally, not much to cheer about

B.C. sockeye returns drop as official calls 2019 ‘extremely challenging’

Federal government says officials are seeing the same thing off Alaska and Washington state

Most Read