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Saugus hands sculpt sand in Revere

July 17, 2017

ITEM PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE
Deborah Barrett-Cutulle, a Saugus resident, works on the main sculpture in Revere.

By GAYLA CAWLEY

REVERE — Saugus resident Deborah Barrett-Cutulle is competing by herself for the first time in the 14th annual International Sand Sculpting Festival at Revere Beach this weekend, something she admits makes her a little nervous.

Barrett-Cutulle, an Everett native, started competing two years ago, but was able to team up both times with Steve Topazio, of Rhode Island. This year, the duo competition is not an option, with only a solo contest featured in this year’s event, which runs from Friday to Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on the first two days, and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on the final day.

Sixteen artists are competing in the solo contest, and 10 of the sculptors are from outside the country. Seven countries, including the United States are represented. Barrett-Cutulle is the only local sculptor.

Barrett-Cutulle and Topazio took home the people’s choice award last year for their sculpture, “The Color’s in the Mind.” She said going off on her own makes her a little scared of the unknown, but there’s a lot that she knows now about competing from teaming up with Topazio.

She is mostly excited, as she likes conceptualizing. Barrett-Cutulle is an illustrator by trade — she went to the Art Institute of Boston — and has been operating in that profession for many years.

But she said she fell into the sand world about 12 years ago with a bit of a push from someone. She also works as a DJ and someone in her audience told her that she should go check out the sand sculpting competition at the beach because Barrett-Cutulle had been giving out prints of her artwork that night.

Barrett-Cutulle decided to take her shot at the beach and see how well she could do with logos. She started feeling her way through the sand in 2005. The work included cutting out sponsors’ names and the logos in the…

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