We've proudly made our sand spheres and desktop zen gardens since 2008. Each design, such as our Swirls sand sphere, is carefully mapped out and hand-carved into a blank plaster sphere by our founder, Andrew Lonnquist. It can take him up to 50 hours to create one design and each design is his own, inspired by science, nature and math. No computers necessary for this process, just a honed sculptural sense, a steady hand, patience and a healthy imagination!
Here's one of our most popular spheres, the Swirls sand sphere (on the left). On the right you can see our Petals sphere being carved. So many intricate facets!
Then, we create a silicone mold of the finished piece. After that, our studio uses a concrete mix to cast multiples of our spheres in small batches. We use real concrete, not that lightweight stuff used for cheap garden sculptures. It really has a nice weight in the hand, adding to your sensory experience. We love experimenting with color combinations to create one of a kind sensory art pieces for our customers. Art meets therapy in a beautiful, multi-sensory way.
Andrew started Olander Earthworks in 2008 at Portland Saturday Market when Sarah was pregnant with our first child. Our family has grown with our business through the years. Sarah joined Olander in late 2014. We are a true family business!
From left to right- Andrew in 2008 with his Portland Saturday Market booth. Andrew and our oldest daughter as a baby. Our oldest daughter this past year and Andrew. Lastly, our two daughters and Andrew standing together.
As our company grew, we expanded online with an Etsy store, then launched our own website in 2015. We now do a mix of wholesale, web and in person sales, although since COVID hit in March 2020, we've been working hard to expand our digital reach. We look forward to connecting with you, whether it's through our live Facebook shows, on Instagram or hopefully even in person at some point! Our connection to people has always been a foundational part of our business. We feel relationship with our customers is what has carried us through this difficult time and we couldn't be more grateful!