Whilst making our sand sculptures, sand drawings and land art on the beautiful beaches and landscapes and in the towns of the UK our thoughts often turn to the environment. So we were pleased when Wakefield Council invited us to make a table top sand sculpture as part of the Festival of the Earth – a collection of events, activities, workshops and more taking place across the district of Wakefield and within the city centre from July to October 2021. Wakefield Council aims to have net zero carbon emissions by 2030. The festival hoped to raise awareness of the need for positive environmental changes to the daily lives of people in Wakefield, both through personal choices and initiatives from the council in order to tackle climate change.
Professional sand sculptors Jamie Wardley, Claire Jamieson, Dunc Foster and Liisa Dudgeon made the sand carving and ran sand sculpture workshops to teach families sand sculpting techniques.
Our sand sculpture of a turtle was sadly facing a meal of plastic rubbish – plastic waste is found in the digestive systems of many oceanic animals, whether that is plastic bags being found in turtles stomachs, sea birds choking on plastic or micro plastics which are now thought to be present in all whales swimming in the seas through the plankton they eat. It’s not just plastic waste that gets dropped on the beach or into the sea, what we drop in city centres can get broken down and find it’s way into the rivers and ultimately into the sea and the food chain of these animals we love.
As well as our sand carving on the steps of Wakefield Cathedral, the festival featured lots of other activities and events over the three month period, the weekend of our visit was an event called Earth Rise, you could also see street entertainers, The Whale – Plastic Ocean, an interactive outdoor performance featuring an 18 metre inflatable whale by Circo Rum Ba Ba, a fantastic pavement art of a whale and Gaia, an art installation measuring 7m in diameter by Luke Jerram inside the Cathedral.
It was great to be part of such a fun and informative event, we love making environmental art, which can be used to communicate complex and serious messages to an audience in a fun way. The workshops were a terrific way of engaging people too.