by Savannah Evanoff
While love is all about chemistry, what Rick Mungeam does comes down to physics.
Mungeam, founder of Beach Sand Sculptures, teaches sand sculpture lessons and designs and creates sand sculptures for special occasions such as weddings and marriage proposals. Although the process is scientific, the results are romantic.
“Sand sculptures are really unique,” Mungeam said. “People are very intrigued by them. They stir people’s emotions. People are pretty in awe when they’re watching you create it.”
Mungeam, a former architect, began with small sandcastles on the beach that weren’t much to look at he said. As he improved, he led volunteer sandcastle classes and created larger sculptures.
One day, he created a sculpture with a large heart on the beach. A wedding party arrived and asked if they could use it, he said.
“We were like, ‘Oh, yeah, that would be cool. Go ahead …;'” Mungeam said. “I was just thinking, ‘Hmm, I just worked all day on this, and now everybody else is using it. Maybe this could be a business.'”
It’s been seven years since then, and Mungeam’s Beach Sand Sculptures designed sculptures for a record number of marriage proposals in 2016, he said.
Mungeam answered a few questions, so we could pinpoint why sand sculptures intertwine perfectly with love.
How do sand sculptures make romantic gestures?
People that come to the beach, or they’re in that type of setting, they may think about that romantic walk on the beach in the sunset and coming up on a sand sculpture and walking around the sand sculpture, and then the girl sees her name on it. That’s really cool how that happens. It is very romantic for the guys who do it that way.
We get a lot of pleasure out of doing those as well. I mean we’re the ones who are there, and we see it happen.
When we’re doing a sculpture like that, we have a lot of people that walk up on the beach, and they’re like ‘Hey, can you put his or her name on there?’ or ‘I’d say yes. I don’t care who it is.’ We get lots of comments like that.
What’s the most interesting romantic sand sculpture you have done?
There’s a lot of different ones we’ve done. Somebody, at one point, wanted a Bible that was opened up with a verse on it … two hands on the Bible, her hand and his hand. That was unique.
We did another one, not too long ago, where they had two family pets, two dogs. They sent me a photograph, and I sculpted the dogs holding up a banner that said, ‘Will you marry me?’ that had their names on it and the date. I’ve actually done a number of wedding sculptures that have involved family pets.
I also did a large heart with “Will you marry me?” on it. This gentleman wanted his and her castles on either side, and he wanted to have an (actual) bottle of Dom Perignon champagne and a silver ice bucket with crystal-fluted glasses on the sculpture, as well.
Do clients choose the sculpture, or do you design it?
It works both ways. Some people aren’t sure what they want, so when they see something, they will say, ‘I like this’ or ‘I like that.’
We have packages that people can pick from, but a lot of times, people want something entirely different …; If you’re doing a wedding or a proposal, sometimes people get very creative and they want to do something unique and specific to them.
How long do sculptures take?
A sculpture like that can take 4 1/2 to 5 hours with two people working on it.
Is there anything you can’t do?
Sand is a heavy element, so when we’re creating, it has to be supported by what’s underneath it. I can’t do a flower on a skinny little stem. I have to figure out another way to do it.
There’s a lot of physics that goes into it.