Creating the Towers of the Sandcastle

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 42,094
    Mark Venit, one of the world’s most renown sandcastle builders demonstrates how create the towers of the sandcastle.

    Mark Venit

    Mark Venit is one of the world’s most renown sandcastle builders, specializing in authentic-looking works that, viewed from a distance, look like the real thing! Winner of more than a hundred local, regional, and international competitions, Mark and his work have been featured on television shows, in commercials and print ads, and at trade fairs and conventions, throughout the USA, Canada, and Europe, as well as in hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles. His passion since childhood has been castles, knights, and things medieval, and, when working in Europe, he spends his free time visiting castles and cathedrals. Having visited more than 300 of them and taking extensive notes and photographs, he has a first hand knowledge and appreciation of the history and architecture of the fortresses and palaces built by ancient masons and artisans. His home in Ocean Pines, Maryland, near the white, sandy beaches of Ocean City, Maryland, is decorated in medieval splendor, replete with heraldry, tapestries, reproduction thrones, trophy mounts, and bathed in authentic 12th Century colors and wall textures. Even his cats have royal names – Charlemagne, Louis XIV, and, well, “Princess” Tiger Lily. Occasionally lecturing on medieval times and architecture, Mark constructs castles and cathedrals using members of the audience to demonstrate the physical principles involved and uses people’s bodies, arms and legs to build roofs, walls, columns, and flying buttresses. In his “other” life he is a management and marketing consultant and author of over 400 articles in trade and professional journals. A graduate of Temple University in Philadelphia, where he earned his bachelors and masters degrees, he’s also the Chairman of West Palm Beach, Florida-based ShopWorks Software Corporation.

    Hi, I am Mark Venit and I am a Professional Sandcastle Builder. Now, we are going to put some turrets or towers on to the castle. Ive packed the sand very hard and the way that I build up the tower is not to invert a bucket as most people do, especially little kids. You are not a little kid anymore, so you get to do it the good way and I am taking the surface of the wet sand and accumulating it, packing it down as I go. I am going to bring it to a point theres a point well, I know theres a point under there, and when you looked at the big pile of sands in the last clip. I can tell you that under every pile of sand is a sandcastle, you just got to brush away the part that isnt castle. Now, I have planned, if it works, to have a little cut through here, which will be an arch, then have another tower over here. More water - loose sand and you can see I am mixing in some dry sand with it as well and I am going to keep it wet and you can see or at least here that its getting packed, and pound, and hard. Now, there is no magic skill to creating a tower. It takes a little practice and a good eye. I am going to make a conical tower here. You can see under that pile is a turret and you can see that I am tamping it just to keep it rigid. I know there is going to be something happening down here and thats why I am not curving it any further on that side. Now, I am going to be cutting a front to whats going to be some an arch or couple of arches and I am going to give it a very slight angle forward and thats because when you see grains of sand under microscope, they are kind of certain like crystals and theyve got bumps and ridges and different types of sand stack differently, but just as the Egyptians learned when they built a pyramid, you need a wide base and the sand is locking in all the little things are happening with one another and theyre having a jiggy old time and if you dont pack it tightly and keep moisture in it to act as an adhesive if you will, its going to dry out, fall apart. Some sand there are different types of sands. Again this a particularly nice sand, its fine grained, its clean. If you wanted to do this at home, and build a sandbox, you get the kind of sand they sell for sandboxes. Its about the finest building material there is, you need about a 100 bags at 250 a piece to make something this size. When you pull just pull forward gently and the sand will come with it. Dont rip it out, because you might have a tendency to pull sand on the bottom. Now, it may look very straight to you and flat, but its most definitely at an angle. A few towers have emerged from underneath the pile of sand. I edged the towers to create some angles and when I site the castle, first thing in the morning, its good to have an idea of the path of the sun. Now because I build at this beach for many years, I know the sun is going in this direction, so I am going to get shadows on this side and thats one of the secrets, that as I make cuts, I am looking for shadow. Now to round out a tower, Im just going to drag the trowel or if you have a putty knife across it, take the edges off to get a nice round shape. Now the towers are trimmed and next we are going to Crenellate the top of this wall. Crenellations are those things that go like this and put some arches in.