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Forget the beach, it's time for Glasgow's George Square to host the UK's first INTERNATIONAL SAND SCULPTURE FESTIVAL. Words: Shirley Whiteside

TAKE A WANDER THROUGH GLASGOW'S GEORGE SQUARE LATER THIS month and you could find yourself confronted by a towering Aztec god or standing in the shadow of a giant Celtic goddess. It‘s all part of the First International Sand Sculpture Festival ()f The L'K. one of the centrepiece events of Glasgow (‘ity (‘ouncil‘s Millennium Programme. which takes up residence in the square Monday l7—Sunday 30 July.

The festival is the brainchild of (irinneal. an association of four Glasgow-based artists. who will he joined by fourteen artists from Canada. Denmark. England. India. Ireland. the Netherlands. Norway and Russia. to create six monumental sculptures based on the theme of gods and goddesses. 'We‘ve been to various sand festivals in Denmark. America. and China.‘ says (irinneal‘s Kate Robinson. ‘\\'e saw the kind of interest that was generated and we really wanted to do something like that in Scotland.‘

As well as watching the artists create the sculptures. members of the public can take part in a free workshop programme running Monday 24—l’riday 28 July. 'We are doing two workshops a day.~ says Robinson. ‘The places are limited to a maximum of twelve people but there are still some spaces available if anyone is interested in taking part.‘

The (Irinneal artists start work in the square on Monday l() July. preparing 400 tons of sand for the festival. ‘We compact the sand into big boxes along with a lot of water.~ explains Robinson. "l‘hen we build these boxes into a pyramid structure and that way the sand stays in place and is ready for sculpting. We screen it with a solution once the sculpture is complete so the wind doesn‘t blow it away. It is very quick to carve into shapes and it isn‘t often that you get the opportunity to create work on such a large scale. It is also good to work outdoors in a public setting where you can have some kind of interaction with the audience. That is very rewarding.’

But what happens if Glasgow’s notoriously dreich July weather threatens to spoil the fun'.’ Says Robinson: ‘I can only go on the experience we had at a festival last year in Denmark when there were times it rained really heavily but everybody was out there still working away. We‘ll just carry on..

First International Sand Sculpture Festival Of - ,_ *~ " The UK, George Square, Glasgow, Mon iii i i if ii 17-Sun 30 Jul. For further information on workshops contact Grinneal on 0141 552 2185.