Sandcastles in Texas? Who Would’ve Thought!

Do you have a unique talent? Something that your peers may not know about you? This is definitely the case with Mrs. Natalie Buxkemper. Though commonly known as a Computer Science teacher and Instructional Technologist at UA, she has a unique passion for building sandcastles and even travels annually to the South Padre Island Sandcastle Days Festival.

After merely talking to Mrs. Buxkemper for a short time, her love for designing and creating things is immediately evident. “I have always enjoyed making things. I come from a family of builders and I learned to make stained glass windows with my father and grandfather. We would then put the windows in the houses our family built,” she said.

Bux Shark
Mrs. Buxkemper’s shark sand creation

When asked how her love for sandcastles and sand sculptures began, Mrs. Buxkemper attributed it to her husband, who got her sand castle building lessons. “My husband and I took a trip to South Padre Island about ten years ago and the sand castle competition was going on that weekend.  I loved it!  Sandy Feet (the instructor’s real name) was amazing and I learned so much in that one lesson.  I have been building my own creations ever since,” she said.

Last year, Mrs. Buxkemper created an incredible octopus sand sculpture. This year, she created a jaw-dropping shark sand sculpture.

Bux Octopus
Mrs. Buxkemper alongside her octopus sand creation

Though building professional sandcastles can be both difficult and time-consuming, Mrs. Buxkemper admits that the creating process is what makes it all worthwhile. “I love the process more than the final result. Don’t get me wrong…the creations at the competition are amazing. I love to watch the pound up and see how they take this idea that is in the head and create a 3D image out of nothing but sand and water.  Maybe it’s my logical, ‘math brain,’ but the process is the best part,” she explained.

Sand 1
Professional sand sculpture found at the festival

As Mrs. Buxkemper mentioned, there are endless incredible sand sculptures at the Sandcastle Days Festival every single year. The most shocking aspect of each creation is how realistic they are. It is almost impossible to tell that they are merely made out of two simple materials: sand and water.

Are you interested in learning how to build phenomenal sand sculptures like Mrs. Buxkemper? Rest assured, it is a completely reachable dream. With hard work and perseverance, you can certainly accomplish the unthinkable.

When asked for tips and advice for anyone interested in mastering the art of sand sculptures, Mrs. Buxkemper’s advised to follow your heart. “Take a lesson!  That applies to anything.  I love to challenge myself with new things.  We are not on this earth long enough.  Try new things!  You never know what you will be good at or what you will enjoy if you don’t give it a try.  I have had many failures in trying new things but I have had some great successes as well.  I have even taken jewelry-making classes at Brookhaven and glass-blowing classes at Carlyn Ray Designs.  Dallas is full of opportunities to try something new!  Never stop challenging yourself and your life will be full of opportunities,” she elaborates.

Without a doubt, Mrs. Buxkemper is definitely someone to look up to. Her hard-working, motivated character truly proves that anything is possible with determination and passion.

Is there something you’ve always wanted to try? There are endless ways to accomplish a goal, and Mrs. Buxkemper is a perfect example of that. Find your passion, explore it restlessly, and perfect your craft…you’ll never regret it.


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