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.
How to Build a Sandcastle
Mark Venit, one of the world’s most renown sandcastle builders demonstrates how to build a sandcastle.
Good Morning, my name is Mark Venit and Ive been building sandcastles since Columbus discovered America. Ever since I was a little boy growing up at the beach in Atlantic City Ive had the great opportunity to learn all kinds of techniques, mostly on my own, but certainly learned from our friends around the country who do these as well and also do sand sculpture. Today we at the Carousel Hotel in Ocean City Maryland and if you are somewhere faraway and never heard of it, if you look between Philadelphia and Norwich that midway right on the Atlantic is where you find Ocean City Maryland. I have had the good fortune to compete and win about a 100 local, regional, national and international tournaments, building sandcastles and there are about 30 or 40 people in America who do sands sculpture as a full time occupation.
Today, we are going to learn how to build a sandcastle. It takes a lot of practice. I am going to show you some of the tools in preparing to build. First its a basic trowel; you can get this at any hardware store. I bring two, because every so often one disappears in the sand. There are also some smaller one inch and inch-and-a-half putty knifes, which are good for making cuts, smaller. Then I have a variety of cutting tools, this is a difficult one, this is a butter knife. I recommend you get stainless so it doesnt rust. This apple core and these other things that are in your kitchen drawer are for making windows - starting windows, making cut through, so you can see the sky or the sand on the other side, and occasional flat smooth knife with a nice round top. I also have made some things, and of course, you might not be up to this yet, by the way heres one more, its a serrated knife, I use it for detail. These are old artist trowels, they are real small and I snip them, and two in the middle here, Ive built from tin cans from anchovies and therefore doing special kinds of detail or getting inside things, where my fingers and hands dont fit. Straws, straws will be used youll see when I am building some widows and stairs by blowing into the straw and blow away some sand, without having to re-carve or damaging what youve done. By the way I do very detailed castles, so I need these small tools. If you are building something larger or in a larger format with bigger windows, you can stop with the first few trowels. These are metal wires; in the business we call them gold wires or crow wires. If I were at a very busy beach with lots of seagulls, I plant these on top of the pile. The birds are inhabited from landing and in my life I have been bumped over every square inch on my body. So this helps save a little time in clean up. Youll see a cutting tool here with the serrated edge and anything else that you might found in your kitchen drawer, cheese cutters, wavy things, and youll finely make all kinds of fun detailed. This tool is for putting on your knees if you are going to be working them on a longtime, because sand has a tendency to cut up your knees. You might recognize this as a potato smasher. I use it when I am finishing a road by putting and youll see when we do that by putting what might be cobblestones for detail on that road. When I am working, I keep a small bucket around to keep the tools in, hopefully they dont get lost. There are some other tools here, cookie cutters, which gives me for starting a variety of sizes and shapes and you will see me use them later on in this video. A few things about occupational hazards before you begin, if you dont start right, you are going to regret it. Water, you need a bunch of it. Sunscreen, within 20 to 30 minutes on a sunny day, youre already in a danger zone. What are the occupational hazards is errand on un-attended children, and one way to keep your kid busy is to give him a shovel and say, here, you play too. This is for misting the castle when I need to keep something wet this is a little plant spray bottle with the pump. Its also very effective when dogs mistake your castle for a fire hydrant and as my good luck charm, I keep my friendly dragon, he has been with me for over 25 years. His name is Fil. Now, lets get started.