MIDDLE TOWNSHIP — Self-taught snow and sand sculptor Brendan Schaffer, of Del Haven, will be featured on the Travel Channel’s “Best in Snow” at 9 p.m. Sunday.
“It’s a snow sculpting special, a countdown,” said Schaffer, 29. “I don’t know where I’m at on the countdown, but anywhere is great because it includes people from everywhere in the entire world.”
Schaffer works as a teacher naturalist for New Jersey Audubon’s Nature Center of Cape May. He leads sand sculpting demonstrations in the summer, said Executive Director Gretchen Whitman.
Schaffer got a call inviting him to be part of “Best in Snow” after photos of his work went viral online.
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The show visited his parents' home in Warren County, northwest New Jersey, last February and filmed him from start to finish sculpting a fire-breathing dragon.
“It was so stressful,” he said, waiting for snow and then trying to work with a smaller snowfall than he would have liked.
He had to bring additional snow from a school parking lot to have enough to work with, he said.
Shots of sculpted logos for the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos he did during the Super Bowl in 2014 were shared online by the NFL and ESPN, he said.
Then there was one of a huge campfire with a large roasting marshmallow over it, which was seen by millions of people all over the world and was featured on ABC’s “Good Morning America” a few years ago, he said.
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Schaffer studied environmental and marine science at Rutgers University. He’s been snow sculpting about five years.
He got into it after he and his dad, Steven, a contractor, went out after a snowstorm and made a snowman with a detailed face, and a dragon lying down in the yard.
“People started to stop by and take pictures,” he said.
He kept trying new things, including coloring his creations with food dye.
“It was a hobby that turned into something I do every time it snows,” Schaffer said.
He grew up in Warren County and moved to Cape May County last year.
“People told me there is not much snow here,” he said. So he was glad to see Thursday’s winter storm.
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He and some children created a sculpture of an octopus at the Nature Center on Friday.
He makes no money from snow or sand sculpting, but does it to make people feel good, he said.
“I got a card from neighbors I don’t even know yet,” he said. “They said seeing my sculptures brightened their day on the way to school. They said, ‘You make winter fun.’”
That means a lot to him, he said.
Visit Schaffer Art Studios on Facebook to see more information on his work.