Real-life sandcastle

The real-life sandcastle: New Mexico cave carving complete

Image credit: Caters News

An inside tour of a hidden-away cave home in the desert that took two years to sculpt from sand and stone.

American sculptor Ra Paulette digs into the hillsides of New Mexico to create elaborate artistic spaces he describes as “wilderness shrines”. Dramatic curved entrances, narrow walkways and swirling patterns along textured walls are hidden behind unassuming small cave openings.

With only a few hand tools, a wheelbarrow and the company of his dog, Paulette has been engaged in what he calls “the dance of digging” for more than a quarter of a century. Self-taught, and working only with hand tools such as shovels, pick axes and scrapers, his sculpture was the subject of the Academy Award-nominated 2014 documentary ‘Cavedigger’.

Real-life sandcastle

Image credit: Caters News

The caves are finished with scallops, moulded curves, smooth ledges, inlaid stones, narrow pods and ledges. Murals range from abstract patterns to slumbering lovers.

Real-life sandcastle

Image credit: Caters News

Some of Paulette’s work has taken over a decade to sculpt.

Real-life sandcastle

Image credit: Caters News

It took 20 hours each week and over two years to complete the impressive building.

Real-life sandcastle

Image credit: Caters News

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