chessIf you like arts, crafts, and a nice walk on a beautiful day, Raleigh’s 35th annual “Artsplosure” festival was the place to be May 17-18. The street festival surrounding Moore Square offers a nice opportunity for area folk to peruse more than four blocks of booths featuring work by local artists and craftsmen, feast on food ranging from “handcrafted” ice cream to hot dogs and crab cakes, and to engage in hands-on fun that could include making art, participating in a parade, or challenging someone to an oversized game of chess.

SandyFeat1I particularly enjoyed watching Ed Moore and his colleagues, who annually construct impressive sand sculptures while patrons watch and children play in the discarded sand. Moore, a bearded 74-year-old architect, has been pursuing sand sculpture as a hobby for much of his life. Twenty-four years ago he founded a team of professional sculptors called “Sandy Feat,” and they’re still going, often in support of charitable efforts.

For a typical sculpture, the team trucks in about 16 tons of sand that they pack into a wooden frame in the general shape of a pyramid. From a pencil sketch of what they hope to construct, they begin troweling away sand to shape the sculpture that lives inside, just waiting to be revealed.

SandyFeat2I wasn’t around on the second day to see the finished product, but the first day’s work was impressive enough, with detailed acorns atop a tower and a building facade, echoing Raleigh’s nickname as the “City of Oaks.”

Watching the artists at work reminded me that when we’re building something, whether it’s a sculpture, an essay, or a life — what we take away can be just as important as what we add.

When we think about the ideal person we’d like to be, are there some things that should be trimmed, refined, or lopped off altogether? Having the discipline to pare away unhealthy habits or attitudes can sculpt a self more amazing that we had imagined.

Need a trowel?

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