www.montereycountynow.com JUNE 27-JULY 3, 2024 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 29 ARTS Rusty Croft has the smoothest feet in town, he says, thanks to years of working in the sand. Based at Hacienda in Carmel Valley since 2021, he can be found in the back mending his sand sculptures because the “free-range children” roaming around the community art park constantly challenge his work with pebbles. Croft just finished a sand tribute to the outlaw Josey Wales from the Clint Eastwood movie of that name. The impressive sculpture is expected to stay intact for many months, perhaps up to a year. It’s made from highly compacted cyclone sand—20 tons of it—with the assistance of a concrete vibrator that keeps the grain together. Sculptures from beach sand are fine, but will only last about a week. “The biggest cost is time and a will to practice,” Croft says. “It’s not a piña colada-sipping siesta on the beach. Pound up is the inglorious part of the work. It’s all about what you do before you actually sculpt the details.” The first day is spent compressing sand, using forms and water. It’s the surface tension of the water that makes the grains hold. “Sand is ordinary, tangible, reusable,” Croft says. “Plus, who doesn’t want to play in a sandbox?” Croft comes from Iowa. His father was a sculptor and Croft was always interested in putting any raw material into a shape. In his 20s, he took his bike and went to the Caribbean. That’s where he discovered “the magic of sand,” and the immediate impact on people. Around 2009—soon after he moved to California—Croft started his own company, Sand Guys, with the “OG of sand,” Kirk Rademaker, as a partner. Rademaker invented a plastic flexible form, now the industry standard. Both Croft and Rademaker have worked around the world, are often featured on TV shows and sought after by the biggest of Silicon Valley companies (they come for “teambuilding” experiences). A Carmel Valley resident, Croft was approached by Hacienda three years ago. He works from there, putting up a sculpture out front four times a year. In a weekend workshop, he imparts basic skills of sand art. “Sand is pretty cheap, even though prices have risen within the last 10 years,” he explains. “You don’t have to be rich or talented to do public sand art.” Sand art workshop with Rusty Croft 10am-2pm Friday, June 28-Saturday, June 29. Hacienda, 7180 Carmel Valley Road, Carmel. $150. 293-8133, haciendacv.store. KIRK RADEMAKER The Sandman Crafting sculptures from sand may not be a day on the beach, but Rusty Croft finds it magical. By Agata Pop˛eda Rusty Croft creates unique sand art at Hacienda in Carmel Valley four times a year. Not surprisingly, Croft is also a judge for the annual Carmel sand castle contest. TASTEsavor. enjoy. pouring daily from 12pm SCHEIDVINEYARDS.COM ESTATE WINERY & TASTING ROOM 1972 HOBSON AVE., GREENFIELD 831.386.0316 CARMEL TASTING ROOM SAN CARLOS & 7TH 831.626.WINE (9463)