Bermuda Sand Sculpture Competition with Hannah Emmerson
Like most kids in Bermuda Hannah grew up building sand castles on the beach with her friends, never guessing how far this childhood past time could lead. It wasn’t until she returned from University with an art degree that she entered the local sand castle competition with her best friend Erika on a whim. They and their team of friends won that year and were hooked. Entering every year possible whilst challenging themselves to build bigger and better each time. Soon Hannah began getting calls from event organizers to build Sand castles for conventions who wanted company logos made in sand; proposals and even wedding sculptures. Who knew this could be such a big side hustle, certainly it was not mentioned to her by the High School guidance counselor!
Still it was not a serious passion until 2016 when she and her partner Mikal Thomas won the Sand castle competition for their third year in a row. It was then that she was approached by the organizer of the Competition for the past 22 years, the inspirational founder Nicky Gurret about taking over and running the Bermuda Sand Castle Competition. It would mean stepping down from competing, however, it would also mean teaching a new generation of sand castle builders. She had found that sharing her passion for sand castles in the free workshops hosted each year was almost more rewarding. There was something special about meeting would be contestants; getting to know them; helping them plan their ideas and watching their faces light up when they won prizes in their categories. Sure she said, let’s take this new sandcastle challenge and see how far it can go.
It started with the Facebook page, Bermuda Sand Castle Competition, and weekly sculpts to post and share, then the Instagram account @bermudasandcastle. Most of which would not have been possible without the patience and support of her partner Mikal, who never seems discouraged when asking “what would you like to do this weekend” and the answer is always.. “Build another sand castle”. Each new piece inspired by local events of holidays brings its own new challenge. Not only do you fight gravity in keeping the sand erect, but the tide and the sun setting seem to mean time is constantly getting away from me. But it’s still one of the most rewarding parts of my weekend. The beauty of the island; sound of the waves; the act of creating something fun and fabulous, even if it only lasts the day. The best part of the build is sitting back with my camera and capturing that perfect shot, going home and posting, enjoying the responses and feedback and planning the next build to be bigger and better. The challenge is to make each sculpt unique and more than just a pretty sand castle on the same beach setting. Each new sculpt gives me new perspective and ideas to push the boundaries of sandcastle building to the next level. So I try to plan my ideas on rocks, at sun set, with Fourth of July fireworks, and best of all with a drone.