Tuesday 13th August 2013

Aberavon Beach,

Aber Afan






Artists: Sara Holden, Viv Rhule, Catrin Jones, Tina-Marie Cunningham and David Pitt,

Project Photographer: Phil Holden.

The first day of the 2013 Sculpture by the Sea UK Festival at Aberavon Beach got off to a great start with fine sunny weather bathing the honey coloured sands. The artists put out banners, woven artworks and flags along the sea front promontory and made their way down to the beach to work at the edge of the tide which was still not quite high. Large tracks along the beach left by the patrol truck were soon turned into a large border pattern with added spirals made with a rake.

Soon children and their families began to arrive, armed with buckets and spades to take part in the workshops with the artists to create sculptures that were themed on sea creatures. Children of all ages worked together to make some beautiful art using the special natural resources that the beach has to offer, such as shells, driftwood, feathers and of course the miles of sand that has just the right consistency to make large works. The children enjoyed working on such a large scale and working with the artists, gaining confidence and perseverance to follow through their ideas to make sculptures that they were really pleased with.





The children gained an awareness of the beach and learnt about different techniques to use when making art. They broadened their knowledge of possible mediums for creating sculpture and they learnt about how to create successful three dimensional shapes. During the workshops, they met and socialised with other children and held conversations with the artists about conservation of marine environments and creatures.


A Flying Fish was moulded in the sand and was decorated with different textures and features created from flotsam and jetsam.

The Octopus sculpture was created by a large group of children with artists and admired by Neath Port Talbot Head of Council Ali Thomas.



We worked with all the artists and made several sculptures including a mermaid and a mobile. My daughter learnt different shell names. Mrs.Massey + 1 child

The children really enjoyed making a shell seat with a view of the sea from willow, sand and shells. Mr. Whiteman + 2 children

We made a flat fish and a small octopus and felt our creativity was enhanced through the workshop. Cody, Bailey, Kenzi and mum

It was a lovely, relaxing and creative event and we were very happy with the sea snake we made that the children thought was awesome. The artists guided them well and encouraged them. Amy Hines + 7 children

The artist gave us lots of help with textures and patterns. The event was brilliant - great work by the artists and the children. Helen Gentle + 2 children

We made a fish and it was a wonderful day. Stacey Martinko + 4 children

The festival brought an environmental awareness and we made a lovely sculpture that we were very happy with. Annemarie Foley + 1 child

The artists showed the children how to use things they found at the beach in their artwork. The festival encouraged children to respect their environment and look after it. It was fab and we all enjoyed it. Sarah Kingdom + 3 children

We made an octopus, crab and fish with the artists and had a great time. Large Community Group of 21 children.

We had a lovely day and made things we had never created before, such as a bottle-nose dolphin. Jacob and Brogan + mum



The ITV Wales Weather man James Wright interviews artist Sara Holden at the festival as well as doing his daily weather forecast from the beach. The 6.00pm ITV News and Weather programme that evening showcased the festival. The greying skies and large swell were clues to the weather to come during the next day but the sun was still shining down on the festival participants.

The children learnt the names of different shells and enjoyed using them to outline and highlight this beautiful dog welk shell sculpture.

As the day drew to a close, there was a wonderful feeling of achievement for the festival participants and the artists. Everyone had enjoyed being creative with the natural resources at the beach and had fun meeting and working with artists who had inspired them to make art. It was a sense of pride for the community with the beautiful display of sculptures that had also interactive and educational aspects, encouraging the children with creative and imaginative play. The children's confidence had grown during the day and they had enjoyed being more ambitious with ideas and techniques. The finale of the festival was to be held the next day so the artists and participants packed away flags and left the beach for the day.

Day 2 of the Aberavon Festival Click Here



All Photos by Phil Holden . Copyright Sculpture by the Sea UK 2013

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