They’re mad as hatters 

P>Tea party theme for instructional sand sculpture course at Mt. Currie Sculpture Gallery

The Mount Currie Sculpture Gallery is hosting an ongoing Sand Sculpture course, with a theme of the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party.

Snow and sand sculptor Paul Dawkins and partner Krystyna Siluszyk oversee the project. The two attend the Harrison Hot Springs 22-hour world championship sand contest every year, where Dawkins has won five times. They have been working with sand and snow as a sculpture medium for the past 25 years. They recently moved to B.C. from Ontario and opened the gallery to be close to the source for sand, stone, and snow.

"When we get working anything can happen, and you get extra inventive, and we’ll ask participants to contribute to parts of the design," says Siluszyk.

"Alice in Wonderland is a well known classic and that’s why we chose it. The different characters will look good in sand."

The sand, which needs a certain amount of silt content, will be obtained from a local quarry. A mixture which includes Elmer’s glue acts as fixatif.

Full course groups or individuals can register for the event, which will see 20 tons of sand transform from May 18 through June 9 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The course is $30 per session.

Benches which will be set up alongside the sculpture zone so observes can watch the flurry of characters come to life.

The south side of the gallery property is currently under construction for the event with a team of carpenters working on the project.

A wooden roof is being built to house the finished figures, complete with a hookah-smoking caterpillar perched on the roof to draw interest.

The caterpillar, which was carved in foam in Toronto before the couple moved to B.C., will also be covered in sand.

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