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Ted Conibear
Ted Conibear
Ted Conibear
Sand Sculpture
Sedona Christ sculpture

Ted Conibear (1906 - 1994) was perhaps the most prolific sand artist of all time.  In 1926, as a young carpenter, Ted Conibear, came upon an unfinished bathing beauty molded in sand. Kneeling beside the statue, he began modeling and added a head to the figure. Pleased and satisfied with this result—which resembled a pretty girl he knew—he proceeded to equip her with graceful arms and dainty feet. Upon reflection days later, he created another figure, and so began a new hobby. From there, it quickly turned into his passion. From that point on, he spent the rest of his life sculpting religious figures, mostly of Jesus, and the Last Supper, creating statues for fairs and community gatherings nationwide. Conibear once said, "My object in making these statues is to get people to read the Bible". Speaking of his Bibleland park, in Temecula, California,  he said, "People come here and go home and say, 'I wonder what the Bible says about this,' and then they read the Bible".
For tools Conibear used a teaspoon, a paring knife, a small artists' brush and a two-inch paint brush. He worked with any kind of fine sand, the cleaner the better. He preferred sand of a brownish color for Biblical scenes because the figures appeared more life-like. After exhibits he tore them down and cleaned away the sand.
Ted made his statuary in nearly every major city from coast to coast. His models included an unlimited number of subjects, including Presidents, athletes and animals, but most famous of all were his renditions of The Last Supper. Of the sculptures that remained "permanent", he continually dealt with vandalism. After they were damaged, he would painstakingly repair them, sometimes taking months to complete. Some sculptures would require repeated repairs. And thus was the fate of his sculptures in Sedona. After too much damage over time, and the passing of Ted Conibear, his family decided to remove what was left. 
Last Supper
Sedona Last Supper sand sculpture
, taken by Barb Foster, in 1989.  Used with permission 
I was fortunate enough to see, first hand, one of his Christ sculptures, in Sedona, Arizona, in the 1970's. It was in the early days of my photographic journeys, and I only took a couple of pictures, one being an in-camera double exposure of the Christ figure, with the Chapel of the Holy Cross, also located in Sedona. There was also a life size sand sculpture re-creation of the Last Supper in Sedona, but I did not see that, probably because the praying Christ sculpture was so prominent, right next to the road.  Today, I would spend hours photographing his art from multiple perspectives...but such is the learning process!

As people have seen my image over the years, many have asked who the artist was. I did not know at the time, and my first search proved fruitless.  Recently, another Internet search helped me discover the artist, although not much more.  Below are the links to provide some background on Ted Conibear. On some sites, you may have to scroll down a bit to get to the info on Ted Conibear. If you have additional information or links, I'd appreciate you passing them on to me.

 Contact: pat@patschilling.com



The last 2 you can click on the image to enlarge.

According to his grandson, It appears there is only one surviving statue by Ted Conibear. It is titled "Suffer the Little Children", and has been recovered in cement.  It is located at his grave-site in the Fallbrook Masonic Cemetery, in Fallbrook, CA.

A final word. As an artist, and human being, I am saddened by the fact that, beyond the one sculpture at his gravesite, nothing seems to have survived from a lifetime of work by a gifted artist . May other artists not suffer his fate.