Anyone who’s ever been to the beach or played in a sandbox has likely built a sand castle or two. But the creations probably didn’t tower four stories tall like some of those constructed by Sue McGrew.
McGrew is a professional sand sculptor who lives in Seattle, Washington. She’s carved incredibly detailed sculptures of everything from giant dragons to larger-than-life portraits of historical figures. Despite all the effort that goes into her artworks, most last just a few days or weeks. Things like wind, rain, and gravity—the force that pulls objects toward Earth—eventually cause her creations to crumble. “People wonder if I’m sad when a sculpture goes away, but I’m not,” says McGrew. “It’s about the experience of creating it, and part of the beauty is that it goes back to nature.”
McGrew started sculpting sand in high school. She now travels the world creating works of art out of sand. McGrew spoke with Science World about her unusual craft.