Origin story - sand sculpture blog

in OnChainArt2 months ago

I arrived at this project in Sondervig, Denmark for the last day of sculpting having spent a week by myself in Blockus. I was finishing my Cement sculpture which I talked about in my previous posts. Rejoining humanity was a bit difficult for me as I felt like a hermit who had just come back to civilisation. It was great to see everyone but I was on a slightly different vibe. Spending a week hardly talking to anyone except my wife in the evening let me think about lots of new ideas for the future. I had been thinking I would not be able to do this travelling thing forever and had been trying to think of things which I could do instead while staying home in Ireland more. My son had been sick while I was in Denmark, which had made it quite difficult for Clodagh to deal with. Even though I had flown home to help halfway through the project we had had some discussions about reducing my away time. I was dreaming of other things that I could transition to and the idea of looking into the online world for a solution seemed like a way to go. I had been mulling this idea over in my head.

Even though my input to this project was just carving a few fish at the bottom to help finish up I include these pictures just to add some imagery to this post because even though it is about sand sculpture it is not actually about sand sculpture. The most memorable thing about this project was that it was the first place I heard about Hive Beta or the Legacy chain as people call it. But I will come back to that in a minute.

A fishy collage

The sculpture project was all about the sea and I must admit the sculptors had done a great job. There was lots of cool stuff to see.

If I did have one criticism it would be that they had divided the wall into lots of separate scenes which I thought was a shame. My favourite sculpture from Sondervig is still Stargate, where we all worked together to create one massive piece. This year there seemed to be almost no blending or transitions. It really seemed that there was little communication between the different areas. Someone had even carved a little pair of scissors and a dotted line. (Bottom left) to show the border. It looked like nobody wanted anything to do with each other. It seemed that there was a certain tribalism going on. Which I think could be seen in the sculpture. I also heard stories of big arguments that had taken place over territory.

Still, it all looked great as a large collage of stuff. On arriving, I just went to the first area where I thought I could help complete it and not be in the way.

Done and dusted

It was the final day and after cleaning up, the crew went to the beach to relax and have a drink to celebrate. I was chatting with Etual Ojeda. He is from the Canary islands and is the longest-practising sand sculptor I know. He is also one of the best, in my opinion. I was telling him my thoughts about maybe transitioning to do something online and he suggested I should look into this thing called Steem. He said it was a blockchain-based blogging site.

I didn't really understand the concept but having had some knowledge already of Bitcoin and blockchain I said I'd give it a look see. He had already made a few posts himself under the name @elportugal but has since disappeared.


On returning home I found Steemit, which was the frontend created by the Blockchain builders, Steemit Inc. It was pretty ugly and I will admit I wasn't too impressed. Even the content wasn't too interesting with lots of posts talking about how cool Steem was. It all appeared to be very self-referential. On the bottom of each post was a number to say how much that post had earned and the ones with the biggest payouts were not what I would call great content. I did discover some artists and even some other Irish people making posts. I figured I would sign up and see what happened.

It took a week or two to get my account but in that time I had done all the research I could on how it all worked and what made it so special. I was impressed, not by what it was but by what it had the potential to become.

I sat there looking at the flashing cursor, wondering what I could bring to this community. I knew no one, I couldn't even find Etual. I searched around for other Irish folk and discovered @beanz and @demotruk and @eroche and interestingly they were planning a meetup in Dublin that very week.

Getting stuck in

It felt a bit awkward just showing up but very quickly I was accepted into the fold and had a great evening. I was like a sponge absorbing all that I could about this world and trying to get advice on how best to start my journey. These guys were smart and knew the inner workings, I was very lucky. Beanz was the first one I found on Steem and had watched all her videos before the meeting. I will admit I was a bit star-struck when I met her. Demotruk was a witness and his knowledge was both philosophical and technical on the working of the chain. Eroche was the stats man and a great source of info about the blockchain itself. ( I hope none of them mind me writing this, it was just my impression at the time)

Here I was, not sure what I could bring to the table except for my good looks, willingness to learn and go all hog into things type person. But what could I blog about? I was not a writer and a bit private about putting myself out there. I figured I could show some of my sculptures and see if anyone liked them.

Hello World

I was encouraged to first make an introductory post which I spent a few days formulating. This was hard work for me, words did not come easy. When it was as good as I could make it I sat with my finger on the post button. This was it, I was about to start my journey.

Introduction of Daniel Doyle Sculptor and Film maker to Steemit

Over the years I had tried many times to document my work as a sculptor. Using desktop publishing software, I always got a few pages in and then realised the gravity of the work involved so chickened out. When I thought about Steem I thought that this could be the format I needed to see it through. With each post being a chapter in the book and having the curators be critics and editors guiding me on my path. If I got some of those magic steem beans along the way well, that would be just peachy. I also really liked the idea that there was nobody who could pull the plug (Or so I thought) and that by just the process of being here, I was becoming part owner of the network.


My first post did really well and it encouraged me to try again So I started to haphazardly choose different sculptures I had made over the years and make some very simple posts about them. I was just showing my favourites and getting good feedback but then it occurred to me that I was going about this all wrong. I was blowing my wad and if I wanted to post everything, finally, my newest posts were going to be my least-liked sculptures.

I gathered my thoughts and decided that I was going to start at the start and document every one, in Chronological order. There would be good ones and bad ones but it would give people an opportunity to watch me grow as a sculptor and as a blogger/ writer.

I had a lot to learn with this blogging stuff and now was the best time. while there were not too many people on Steem. I would be dancing with just a few people watching.

Over the last 5 years I have stuck to this mission and although I have not counted, I have written about 250 posts about my Sand, Snow and Ice sculptures and other experimental posts along to way. In all, over 650 posts were submitted to the chain.

Shakey ground

I really liked the concept of Hive and especially the community atmosphere. but there were lots of skeletons in the closet. There were flagging wars between Whales, Bidbots which allowed people to buy and sell their votes, People claiming other peoples work to make a quick book and all at the same time Even though Steem was supposed to be decentralised and free from tyranny there was the question of the Ninja Mine stake. Steemit inc was in control of a large amount of ill-gotten gains from when the chain started off and they didn't tell anyone they could mine.

These pre-mined tokens were a sword hanging over the chain but grudgingly accepted. It was hoped that under the leadership of @Ned, Steemit would do the right thing and use it for the betterment of the community.

Trust no one

One of the first things that attracted me to crypto, from my days of mining Bitcoin on my home computer to the idea that Steem was bringing immutable text to the Blockchain was the concept that it was trustless. There was no boss or benevolent Dictator. Your keys and your account. Maths was taking care of rules and once you knew them and played by them all would be good. But in the early days and hearing about this pre-mine with the venerability it created to this Proof of stake chain, it never sat well with me. The shit hit the fan in 2020, a few days after Ireland went into lockdown because of Covid. The little shit Ned decided that he sell Steemit to Justin Sun and include the pre-mine in the deal. But that is another story.

Let's get the fork out of here

I will stop here now and maybe continue this story at another time. I am still here doing my thing. Proud of being part of the Blockchain war of 2020 that saw the birth of a Hive from the burning ashes of Steem.

Hope you enjoyed the sculptures and maybe even a little of my origin story of how I came to be here doing what I do.


Thanks for reading. I use PeakD to document my work as an ephemeral Sculptor of sand, snow and ice, amongst other things. This will hopefully give it a new life on the Hive Blockchain. Below you will find some of my recent posts.

The Making of The Three Norns - cement sculpture video

The Three Norns - cement sculpture

The call - sand sculpture

I hope you'll join me again soon

I am also starting to create NFTs of my sculptures and welcome you to my gallery where you can own a bit of ephemeral sculpture history.


I joined Steemit around the same time you did. It was great at first but as you say the bid bot thing and the downvoting wars just got crazy. It's a much friendlier place here to be sure. Here's to the next six years?

 2 months ago  

So glad you have started posting again. I am in for the long haul with Hive and it has become my front page of the internet. I really believe it has a promising future. I looked into your band, it seems you were always quite the rebel.

Awesome to read about the start of your journey on the platform.

What a shame that the sculpture artists weren't working together there..

Turned out great anyway!

 2 months ago  

Sorry for the delay, It is strange how Hive has become such a big part of my life now. It has created a whole new creative outlet for me.
It was a pity the artists weren't collaborating with each other. To have such a big canvas I think it is nice when everything reads as one.
Thank you even though my input was minimal.

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