The Fan Hitch      Volume 15,  Number 3,  June 2013

          Journal of the Inuit Sled Dog                                    
In This Issue....

From the Editor... Words Worth Repeating


The Endurance Dogs

The Concept of an Aboriginal Dog Breed

Inuit Tradition in 75 Tons of Sand!

The Canadian Animal Assistance Team’s 2013 Northern Canada Animal Health Care Project

Far Fur Country Project Update

Movie Review: Arctic Dog Team, Arctic Jungle, Arctic Hunter

IMHO... Well, That's The Way We Do It!

Navigating This Site

Index of articles by subject

Index of back issues by volume number

Search The Fan Hitch

Articles to download and print

Ordering Ken MacRury's Thesis

Our comprehensive list of resources

Defining the Inuit Dog

Talk to The Fan Hitch

The Fan Hitch home page

Editor's/Publisher's Statement
Editor: Sue Hamilton
Webmaster: Mark Hamilton
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The Fan Hitch, Journal of the Inuit Sled Dog.

Detail image of the her work.   photo: Fralich

Inuit Tradition in 75 Tons of Sand!

Back in the second grade, Karen Fralich, studied Inuit culture. “I was affected very deeply by this and I’ve been fascinated ever since then.” In 1983 as a teenager already involved with creating pottery, Karen was encouraged to try her hands at sculpting in clay. Eleven years into this art, she was introduced to a different medium, sand. And by 2001, sculpting in sand as well as in many other materials became her full time passion. Currently Karen is a four-time World Champion of Sand Sculpture as well as a five time North American Champion of Sand Sculpture!

In 2011 Karen’s talents, influenced by her grade school exposure to Inuit traditions, took this Ontario, Canada resident 6887 mi/11083 km to Kagoshima prefecture, on Kyushu, the southernmost of the four main Japanese islands where she participated in the Fukiage-hama Sand Festival. Here is the result!

The finished front view.   photo: Fralich
Click for larger image. 

TFH: How long have you been creating sand sculptures?
KF: 19 years

TFH: Tell us about the 2011 Fukiage-hama Sand Festival and how you came to create sculpture there.
KF: The theme of this Japanese Festival in April 2011 was “Travel”. I choose Inuit Dog Sledding because I feel it is a truly original Canadian form of travel.

TFH: What was your inspiration for doing it?
KF: Environmental, historical and natural travel.

TFH: Did you have a model in mind or was this a totally independent creation?
KF: This was purely an idea I came up with and then I let it evolve as I carved it.

TFH: How many sand sculptures did you create there?
KF: Only my Inuit Dog Sledding sculpture.

TFH: How big was the sculpture?
KF: It was very large, though. About 16 feet tall and 25 feet wide, using about 75 tons of sand!

TFH: How long did it take to create?
KF: 10 days.

The compacted pile of sand before we took off the wood forms.
The sand is compacted into wood forms with tons of water, it's like a
hard wet brick when you take off the forms and begin carving.   photo: Fralich

TFH: Can you describe the process?
KF: All sand sculptures have to be carved from the top down.

TFH: Were you pleased with the results?
KF: I was pleased with the results but I wish I could have had more time (a common wish!)

TFH: How was the sculpture received by attendees at this event?

KF: It was well received, I saw and read many lovely comments about it.

The finished back.  I wanted to spend a lot more time on the back and
have an Inuit face on the man, but I ran out of time.     photo: Fralich
Click for larger image.

TFH: What became of your creation?
KF: Three weeks after the festival was over, the sculptures were bulldozed to the ground, for liability insurance reasons

TFH: What happens to the sculptures when it rains?
KF: Usually nothing. The sculptures are very compacted wet sand, a little extra water is usually good for them! It takes extremely bad weather (e.g. hurricane, tornado) to damage a sculpture.

TFH: Do you have any plans to create a similar sculpture elsewhere?
KF: Yes! I would love to have the opportunity to create another Inuit Dog Sled sculpture, or any Inuit theme!

Karen is a professional multimedia sculptor who has been carving sand sculptures for 14 years. Her passion for sculpting in many mediums led her to a career in sand.
She began her sculpting career at age fourteen in a pottery studio in Guelph, Ontario in 1983. While taking a pottery class there, the studio’s owner encouraged Karen to explore the possibility of sculpting as a career. Making small animal figures out of clay became an eleven year hobby. Then, in 1994, a professional sand sculptor hired her to help him on a small sand sculpture in a local mall. Karen was immediately addicted and spent the next four years learning the rudiments of sand sculpture while still working full time in the food service industry. In 1998 she entered her first international contest and by 2001 she was working full time as a free-lance sculptor.  
Her work as a free-lance sculptor involves many sculpting mediums including sand, snow, clay, stone, super sculpey, foam, wood and fiberglass for movies, television, special events, art galleries and print ads. She also collaborates with several sand sculpture companies in Canada, the USA, Mexico, Italy, Holland, Spain, Japan and Australia.

Please visit Karen Fralich’s website.

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