Jenny Rossen doesn't go building castles in the air, because she's got a medium that's more definite and most importantly, something more tangible. Sand. Making sand sculptures is not just a hobby for this Australian woman who has been living in Dubai ...

By Vm Sathish (Contributor)

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Published: Sat 28 May 2005, 1:38 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 2:59 PM

for the last three and half years. It's her passion, profession and business. Describing herself as a sand slave, Rossen says that the medium she works with has today elevated her to the status of a world famous sand sculptor.

Presently, busy with preparing for something big for Dubai, Rossen said, "The most important sand castle in my career will be built soon. While some sand sculptures can last a few hours because people jump on them or stick their fingers in them, I have some sculptures which have remained intact for more than ten years in Tokyo, Japan."

It is believed that Michaelangelo, the world renowned artist, used sand sculptures to outline his famous pieces before making the finals. The technique has also been used for training.

Many beachgoers are fascinated with sandsculptures and Rossen too, who grew up close to the beach in Perth, Australia, stumbled into the art, quite naturally. She's now travelled the world over making castles and sculptures at exhibitions and festivals. Rossen was also the first person to represent Australia at the World Sandsculpting Championships in Canada, where she gained admittance to the Guild of Master Sandsculptors. Apart from having donned Australia's colours at the Canadian event, Rossen's work, as Australia's representative, has been shown in many international competitions in Europe and the US. Dubai, with sand all around, is heaven for Rossen. "My ambition is to build a sand sculpture theme park here, a project which has been on my mind for a long time now. Sand castles are expensive and not many people are willing to spend big money on it. I came to Dubai because it is an ideal place for sand sculpting. There is a lot of sand here, but ideally it is best to make sculptures in a closed environment."

Rossen takes time off from being a full time sculptor to conduct community workshops, where she works with a lot of young people interested in learning the art of sand sculpting. She has worked with sculptors from all over the world and on many different projects. In Dubai, other than being associated with making sculptures during the Dubai Shopping Festival, she is presently working on a collection for the upcoming Dubai Summer Surprises (DSS). "Sand castle sculptures are very expensive because not many people make it. It is about value and higher value and people ask why someone should spend huge amount of money to buy a sculpture that may not last long. I am also teaching students how to make sand sculptures. We have a network of sculptors and artists from around the world who will work on important projects."

The biggest sand sculpture made by Jenny measures 57 feet in height. But the most important sculpture of her life, she says, will be coming soon. Her clients include many corporate business houses, eager to make an impression, in turn, on their clientele. Rossen is popular among children too, specially those who have been visiting the Modhesh Fun City, which crops up during the DSS festival.

But as of now, Rossen is veering through the castle she's built in the air. The one about her sand sculpture theme park project for Dubai. "There is a sand castle theme park in Europe which is quite popular. They spent about 2 million euros on making it. It's a unique idea and not just copying an American idea," she says. "I used to work for free with sand sculptors. It was like being a sand slave for many years. Now I am a world famous sand sculpture artist and every work of mine is unique. Every sand castle I make is unique and I hope to make the best piece soon."

Rossen uses a simple technique in trying to hold loose sand together. She explains, "The sand stays together because of the water and because it is packed really tight." Preserving the castles is also quite easy, she says. "We make boxes out of wood and these boxes have no top or bottom and are called form-work. The size of the form-work depends on the size of the project."

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