CHEK Upside: Sand sculpture for Esquimalt arts council taking shape

WatchFred Dobbs and his team of sculptors have been working on a Japanese inspired sand sculpture in Esquimalt Gorge Park.

For as long as he can remember, Victoria’s Fred Dobbs has been fixated by sand sculptures.

“My legacy as a sand sculptor goes way back to when I was five years old and my father buried me in the beach up to my mid-waist and proceeded to make me a convertible sand car,” says Dobbs.

A professional sculptor for over 20 years, Dobbs has created detailed art in a variety of different mediums, but sand sculpting still holds a special place in his heart.

“The sand allows me to be able to sculpt really large sculptures and I also get to work with a group,” says Dobbs

For the second consecutive year, Dobbs is teaming up with Esquimalt’s Township Community Art Council to create a special sand-based work of art. This year’s sculpture at Esquimalt Gorge Park is a tribute to the area’s Japanese roots.

“We’re working a theme in with a Geisha doing a tea ceremony….and behind her is going to be a kaleidoscope of butterflies,” says Dobbs.

“We’re going to have a number of endangered species, but all indigenous species to Vancouver Island and certainly to this area.”

As the roughly 12-foot-tall sculpture that required 27 tons of sand nears its completion, Dobbs and his team have enjoyed seeing their idea transition from a drawing to a real-life creation.

“What’s cool is to see how we’re developing shadows and shapes,” says Dobbs.

“Sculpting is all about shape and form, but in the sand, we’re also trying to pick up on depth and highlights.”

“If you looked at the sketch for this it establishes an idea for it,” says Dobbs’ fellow sculptor Damon Langlois.

“Once we’re actually carving and sculpting you really give yourself over to the pile and you’re kind of feeling it in an intuitive way.”

The Sculpture Splash sand sculpture is slated for completion in the next week.

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Cole SorensonCole Sorenson

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