We love a bit of sport at Sand In Your Eye – whether we are creating golf themed sand drawings and sand sculptures on the beach or in bunkers, making a sand sculpture replica of the FA Cup and pumpkins playing footie in Bradford City colours, or carving ice sculptures of snowboarders, bob sleds and perhaps our favourite sport – an ice air hockey table at Nottingham ice bar.
We were thrilled when WaterAid, the fantastic charity raising awareness and money for projects promoting access to clean water, hygienic facilities worldwide, contacted us and invited us to join them at the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club, better known as the home of The Wimbledon Championships to create a very exciting piece of innovative land art.
They wanted us to use the iconic yellow Slazenger tennis balls to make a portrait of one of the children benefitting from their projects. They chose ten year old Tefy, from Madagascar, whose school recently was plumbed in with running water and clean toilets.
This means Tefy and his schoolmates no longer need to worry about finding clean water and can get on with the important business of going to school, having fun and being a kid. Being able to spend more time concentrating on their studies means they can enjoy all the opportunities presented to them and truly unlock their potential.
The tennis ball mosaic measured 20 x 24m and was big enough to fit inside a tennis court and used 10,000 tennis balls to depict Tefy’s smiling face. The Sand In Your Eye team of land artists Jamie, Claire, Dave, Liz, Dunc and Chris ventured down to SW13 and were joined by Jamie’s sister Emma.
The land art was laid down over a long sunny June day, we were filming and editing as we went in our field editing studio for a film about the tennis ball mosaic, commissioned by WaterAid and narrated by former British number one tennis player Heather Watson.
Finally Jamie and Liz were invited into the hallowed grounds of Wimbledon to show the finished film to the teams from WaterAid, Wimbledon and the Wimbledon Foundation – who manage The Championships’s work with charities and the community.
All the materials used in the artwork were reused and the 10,000 tennis balls went to local charities and community groups so that UK kids can catch the tennis bug and become a future champion like Heather.
The field art was a tremendous success with an audience of over 92 million and was featured across local, national and international press – including Times, Evening Standard, BBC News and featured as one of the Guardian’s pictures of the day!
We had a great time “playing” at Wimbledon – thanks to the wonderful support from WaterAid, especially Anna, Alice and Rosie and to Lauren and Paige at The Wimbledon Foundation.