Red Deer artists Dawn Detarando and Brian McArthur switched to sand sculpting to compete in Season 3 of the CBC reality show Race Against the Tide, which returns to air on Sunday, July 16.
Detarando isn’t sure sand will become her favourite medium — she much prefers carving snow or clay — but she described filming the series last fall as an amazing experience.
“It was fun, so fun,” recalled Detarando, who with her husband and fellow artist McArthur, was flown to New Brunswick last September.
The local ceramicists joined some of the finest sand artists from around the world at New River Beach on the Bay of Fundy to try to impress a pair of judges, while rising to meet various challenges.
Unlike at previous snow sculpture competitions Detarando and McArthur participated in, the sand did not come pre-packed. Detarando recalled having to rush off at the start of the competition to create tightly-packed sand forms. “If you don’t add enough water, or add too much water it could be a disaster,” she added, with half of your sculpture potentially disintegrating.
The artists have only about six hours to create their sculptures between when the tide goes out and rushes back in, destroying their work. Detarando said everybody was carving too fast to pick up any new tricks from other competitors. But after all of their carving tools were put down and drone cameras launched to photograph the creations from above, the teams got to socialize over dinner.
Detarando and McArthur really enjoyed seeing some old friends, as well as making new ones. Artists were recruited from around the globe for the third season of this CBC competition — including Australia, Mexico, Latvia, The Netherlands, Ghana, U.S. and from across Canada.
Although she can’t reveal how she and McArthur ranked in the TV competition, in which a losing team is voted off each day, Detarando can decisively say they were the least experienced competitors in sand carving. However, the Red Deer artists of Voyager Art Inc. have created many snow sculptures over the years — even a theme room in the famed Swedish IceHotel — and their skills were transferable to a different medium.
One of the challenges for Detarando was working in unpredictable, windy East Coast weather. But among her most memorable takeaways were the kindness and professionalism shown by the show’s technical crew. She recalled a crew member going home to bring her a pair of sweatpants when the temperature dropped. “They were so nice to us….”
In Season 3 of Race Against the Tide, 12 teams compete in a beach battle. Divided into two groups of six, the teams dig, pound, carve and sculpt through four qualifying rounds. The top two teams from each group will face off in a semifinal. Only one team will walk away with the grand prize of $10,000.
New Brunswick’s award-winning artist and godfather of Canadian Hip Hop, Maestro Fresh Wes, returns as host. Judges are Karen Fralich, who’s competed in more than 120 master-level contests and is a five-time World Champion; and Rusty Croft, a sand sculptor who holds the Guinness Book of World Records title for the “tallest sand castle.”
The show is on Sundays at 8:30 p.m. on CBC and CBC Gem, starting from June 16.