Devon

The 'gravity-defying' art that washes away

Stones Image copyright Sam Bennett

Landscape gardener Sam Bennett makes beautiful sculptures from raw materials he finds on beaches.

Stones and driftwood are the foundations of his work near his home in Torquay, Devon.

The 26-year-old started making the sculptures about 12 years ago while still at school.

Stones Image copyright Sam Bennett

"I never had an X-box and I am always happy when I'm outside," he says.

"I read some books about [British sculptor] Andy Goldsworthy and it just became a hobby.

"Growing up, I was infatuated by making a living from nature.

"Even when I was doing exams at school I still wanted to go to the beach and build something."

Stones Image copyright Sam Bennett

The tides may wash away his work but he says its ephemeral nature is key to why he does it.

"It's there for a moment and gone the next, I'm just moving nature around," he says of his art.

"I like that because if it's not perfect the tide will take it and I will try again tomorrow.

"And there's an element of excitement about seeing the tide coming in and in a couple of hours it has been destroyed."

Sam Bennett Image copyright Sam Bennett

Mr Bennett shares pictures of his beach art on Instagram and fans of his work sometimes visit the beaches where he is working.

They include children who cannot resist the temptation to knock the work over before the tide comes in.

"I would rather see the sea destroy it, but I would have done the same when I was kid" he says.

Stones Image copyright Sam Bennett

Mr Bennett has been working at some beach spots so long that he even remembers some of the pebbles.

And he destroys his own sculptures before leaving if they are on a popular beach to avoid anyone being injured.

"Most of the places are so remote it's not a problem," he says.

Stones Image copyright Sam Bennett
Stones Image copyright Sam Bennett

He is at the beach most days for several hours.

"Some people said I am ruining the beach but I'm not hurting anyone and I'm not littering and in a few hours it will be gone.

"I read the news and there's a lot of pain in the world. If I did not do what I do it would all get too much for me.

"We live in a world that we are destroying and if I can add something beautiful even for five minutes it brings happiness to people."

Stones Image copyright Sam Bennett
Stones Image copyright Sam Bennett
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All images copyright Sam Bennett

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