Edinburgh is a beautiful city, so we were very happy to be invited up to Edinburgh Zoo to make a sand sculpture to celebrate 100 years of the zoo. It seemed that they were happy too as the sculpture helped them win ‘Best In House Event’ at the Scottish Event Awards. The location for the sculpture was perfect, with the backdrop of the wonderful Mansion House.
The compaction of the sculpture was quite large so with the help of a team including our Scottish representative Tilly, we compacted the tall structure ready to be carved over the next week.
On the first day of carving, Jo Billingsley and I starting to block out the main shape at the top of the sculpture. We were joined the next day by Claire Jamieson, so Claire and Jo continued to block out the main shape, while I started to carve the monkey at the top of the piece. Claire thought the monkey looked familiar and that maybe I had taken inspiration from my own reflection.
The next morning however, when we returned to the sculpture it looked like we had had visitors in the night time. Little claw marks were scratched into the sculpture and holes dug out in the sand, who was this intruder?!! Luckily whoever it was hadn’t reached all the way to the top where the monkeys head was nearly complete, so no real damage had been done. We spoke to the zoo and they said it was possibly badgers, as they knew there was a set nearby or it could have been foxes. Either way, we knew they would return! While we carried on sculpting that day, the Zoo put up little fences to deter the visitors which seemed to do the trick. We have in the past made bird habitats with the RSPB, so we understand the lure of the sand for some animals.
After the weekend, Claire and Jo returned to England and I was joined by Andy Moss, who came straight over after completing another sculpture for Sand In Your Eye at the East Neuk Festival in Crail. He began to carve the rhino, while I finished the rest of the sculpture. We had plenty of good source material at hand, just a short walk away, we could study the animals firsthand.
The sculpture was then complete and once we had said our goodbyes to everyone at the Zoo, we set off back home to Yorkshire……which turned out to be quite a long journey for me as my van broke down on the way home!