Friday, 31 January 2014

Ice sculptures

 I saw a notice in the newspaper that there would be an ice festival not to far away from us.  This was something I or the children had never seen before so I thought we should go and have a look.  It was fascinating to see how the artist create these fantastic ice sculptures!  I took tons of pictures as we watched every step of the building of these sculptures.  This was a competition and each team had 3 hours to complete their sculpture.  It was a race against time and the weather:)

We arrived at 10 am and it began to sleet, snow and rain so it was very cold which was great weather for the ice sculptures but that soon changed for them once the sun came out and then each artist struggled to keep their sculptures from melting.

Each artist had a unique way of storing their tools which was fun to see.

We got to see up close the kinds of power tools that the artist used.  Some were pretty scary looking

there were also plenty of hand tools to examined as well.

Strange looking contraption for a chain saw
Many of the artist had chains on their boots to help not to slip and slide with all the ice surrounding them
IN order to get the ice to come out very clear at the end of the competition the artist used blow torches to clean up the ice and make it less cloudy 

These metal plates are used to melt ice into a smooth surface to add new pieces and we saw how this was used several times.
Some of the artist had pictures up to show what they were building

Watching them make the round ball in the drawing

seeing the gymnast come to life from a block of ice

Carving in the title of the piece

Adding the gymnast to the ball using dry ice, water and  blanket

It was heart breaking to see the gymnast legs fall off with about 30 minutes to go into the competition.   The kids and I watched the men quickly create new legs and then try to reassemble them before time ran out.  Other artists had the same problem with pieces melting and falling off during the last hour of the competition as the sun was coming out.  While some were able to complete their project there were others that had to leave their art uncompleted:(

The finish piece with just a few minutes to spare before the horn blew.  This piece won first place in the competition.
Some of the other pieces that we saw being built

This piece won second place
Firedrake of course loved the dragon one and was disappointed to see it only won third place

Mermaid who unfortunately lost her tail and the second one just wasn't as grand of the first one:)

Lion fish which wasn't completed before the whistle blew 

MarioFan loved the snowboarding sculpture with the olympic theme

These poor chaps had so many problems with their sculpture breaking that they were able to finish in time.  But they were great with the crowd and answered the kids questions about their tools and the process that I was really cheering them on:)

We had a beautiful day out and we kept walking up and down the street watching each sculpture progress from simple blocks of ice to wonderful works of art.  After this competition there was another group for the afternoon but we didn't stick around for that one as we needed to warm up from the 3 hours of the morning competition.  We will definitely be going back to see this again next year!


  1. Interesting! I never have given much thought about how ice sculptures were made. It is especially interesting to read that a blow torch makes the ice less cloudy!

    1. I think they also use filtered water as well as most of the ice blocks didn't have the cloudy middle that you see in ice cubes:)

  2. how stunningly beautiful - what a lot of work for it all to melt away!

  3. I went to college in the UP of Michigan and we had an annual snow/ice sculpture festival. We used all kinds of tools ranging from wooden forms similar to those used in construction, hammers, picks, and buckets with things like kids would play with on the beach. We also used hair dryers, irons and curling irons. It was a lot of work and fun too.

    1. how fun that you have done this:) It looks very hard but it was amazing to watch

  4. I do think that ice sculptures are spectacular. I can't even imagine how hard it would be to create this kind of art. Thanks for sharing this very unique trip. You come up with the best of adventures. All three of the sculptures that won were just beautiful.
    Sad for those that weren't able to finish theirs.
    Blessings for this fun moment with your children.