9th edition
 Jesolo Sand Nativity

DEC 08. 2010 - JAN 30.2011
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Piazza Marconi, Jesolo , Venice, Italy

*updated November 29, 2010
This site is being developed through December 2010  Please come back to see it completed!

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Producing a sand sculpture exhibition on the scale of the annual Sand Nativity in Jesolo is no small undertaking.
 The dedication and efforts of the city management that hosts this fine show each year is truly the backbone of everything good that allows this show to happen. Kudos to Jesolo!

1.)    To create any exhibition of world class sand sculpture on even a minimal level, begin with an overall concept for the show.
 Consider first what the available (or affordable) resources are in order to design a show that will best fit both your desire and your budget.
A lot goes into this preliminary step.
  After you decide on a theme, draw up a layout or overall floor plan of the show.
   In Jesolo at Christmas time, the theme is always The Nativity.  However, the shows we create here in the summer are considerably bigger. But each of those exhibitions feature a different format and a new (different) theme each year.                  

  2.)  We utilize the biggest tent we can fit onto the piazza at Marconi Square.

 Piazza Marconi is one of several main city squares to stay open all year long on the Jesolo lido, which is otherwise seasonally open here in Venice county, Italy.
 The purpose built tent has electricity and gas heating supplied to it. It is also conveniently situated with plenty of parking close by. In the distance, one block behind the tent pictured above, is the Adriatic Ocean (not shown).

Once you determine the space limitations and budget constraints, you can calculate how much sand you will need depending on the overall concept of the show. For the winter show we typically use from 500 to 1500 tons, depending on the particulars of the design aspects each year. Hence, heavy equipment is required.
 trucks    bobcat
At the summer show we have used up to about 3000 tons of sand.
 4.)  To efficiently use the sand available to us, we make rigid blocks from which we can carve interesting shapes, figures etc. We use a lot of wooden forms to contain the (wet) sand as it is machine compacted in successive layers. We call this process "doing the poundup."

 With these reusable wooden forms, which interlock to fit together in a way that allows for easy dismantling and removal later, we make topless and bottomless frames (about a half  meter tall each) that will contain the sand for each level of any particular poundup/sculptural element.

5.) These frames/forms are then filled by adding alternating layers of sand mixed with water.
Each layer ( called a Lift) is densely compacted using machines called "Jumping Jacks" or "Wackers."
This process is repeated several times until the successive layers
of packed sand fill each frame/form -or tier, all the way to the top.  Then progressively smaller forms are filled to establish tier upon tier, stacked as needed.
One placed on top of the next, until a finished "stack" is formed.
6.)   In this way we make what is referred to as a "poundup stack"

   In the example of the poundup stack shown below, you can see it is a fairly regular, geometric shape we call a "step pyramid"

   But poundups can be created in various shapes and sizes. They are usually custom tailored to best suit the design aspects of any particular element, be it a small single form, or a multi-level stack.

  Below is an irregular poundup stack using rigid wood forms and some flexible (round) plastic ones too. This yields a custom design well suited to rendering the market scene in our version of the village of Bethlehem at this years edition of our Sand Nativity show.
Click on any image to enlarge it.
Pictures are nice, but they do not do justice to the show.
 Come to Jesolo to see the ninth annual edition of this fine show: The Jesolo Sand Nativity

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