Artist David Ducharme cleans remaining sand from inside of spray foam mould.

Artist David Ducharme cleans remaining sand from inside of spray foam mould.

Hooded statue no prank

Process being tried may be brand new

With a fair bit of attention having been paid to the four examples of sand sculpture outside the Pioneer Arena in the past week or so, it may have seemed alarming (and did to quite a few) to see the orange foamy shroud over the northernmost of the four art works shortly after they were completed.

A passerby may have been forgiven for suspecting some kind of outrageous “sandsational” defacement.But the deal is much more positive.What is being attempted is a procedure to preserve the work of sculptor David Ducharme for a very long time, for the benefit of all who see the piece.

If all goes as hoped the untitled work of art, could serve as a way of beautifying the landscape in a downright practical sense.”What happened in Castlegar a couple of months ago,” related ‘Sandsational’ Coordinator Pat Field late last week,”is that Chris Barlow (Director of Transportation and Civic Works) asked me whether or not we’d be interested in designing a traffic control block.” Field pointed to the standard 3’x5′ concrete block, it didn’t take much imagination to see room for visual improvement, and figure Barlow was definitely on to something.

The next piece of the puzzle was the man to help with the moulding operation, as Field explained.”I met Jesse Ewing (of In-Solutions) at the Kootenay Festival when I was doing a demo for the marble sculpture. He has a spray-foam insulation business and he said ‘Why don’t we try making a foam mould?’

We tried a few small ones that worked.”¬†They then set about upping the ante in terms of scale.”We’re trying to figure out how to create a mould for this out of foam,” Field continued, gesturing to the foam shell being cleaned out by artist Ducharme.

“How to take the sand out of it and build it into a box, pour concrete into it, vibrate it and get a concrete sculpture made out of it.”Field mentioned there would likely only be a couple of examples made from any one mould, but added that with four sculptures made per year, and some “cloning” done, “we’d be able to reach our Sculpture Walk goal of having fifty pieces in five years, no problem.

“The project is temporarily on hold as Field is off for a short trip to Vancouver. But the foam has a home, and is safe and sound until the next phase of the project has been completed. Watch for updates on a process that, as far as these guys are aware, has not been done before.