As you walk through the fairyland of ice art sculptures at the World Ice Art Competition, it feels like you may be in the trophy room of the White Witch From C.S. Lewis’ “The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe”. Perfectly carved features of animals and humans etched in ice blocks provide never ending visual splendor.
The show provides insight into cultural preferences and beliefs, as well as “what the artists finds interesting”. High diversity is not surprising considering 100 artists are competing from over 30 countries. Serpents, meditation, the superbowl, super heroes, mermaids, and sea life were just a fraction of the pieces and viewpoints presented by artists competing in abstract and realistic categories of the single-block and multi-block competitions. In many cases, the carvers are from regions not associated with ice; it would be interesting to talk to Brazilian or Middle-eastern carver to understand how they got started!
Single block carvers are given a one 8x5x3′ block of ice and 60 hours. From the point the time starts, carvers work around the clock to finish their work in teams as large as four. The single block style demands that ice be used wisely. Economically it is in high demand with a limited supply! Artists often create sculptures over 10 feet from the 8 foot block. It requires precise cutting of the ice which is then welded together. As the sculptures grow out and up, many of them seem to balance on their pedestals precariously, and with impossible precision. Some of the most impressive sculptures extend 4 feet in any direct around the base. If the sculpture were to tip the fragile fingers of lizards, noses of swordfish, and tails of tigers would be sheered off. However, these artists know that with high risk comes high reward. Taking first place in a competition such as this a source of pride and accomplishment when competing against some of the best in the world!
The diversity of carving techniques and attention to detail makes this competition special. A basilisk lizard feature below had skin which was textured using a method to make it bulge and pop three dimensionally. A purple lion fish had huge fin rays a mere inch thick etched with textures so real that if the fish had swam away you would not have been surprised, but would have simply stepped aside to let it pass.
The images below capture only some of single block competition sculptures. The event space allows 40 entrants to the competition. One of the hardest things to capture is the size of these sculptures. Keep in mind that most are 6 feet tall minimum, and may extend to 10 feet!
Abstract – look at the balance and small pedestal!
An elephant and a dog
A leaping tiger.
The thin ice lattices of these wings are remarkable!
Looking into the secret garden
A mom and her foal
A slight gap between the noses which really makes this piece special
Fairy on a feather
Tomato breaking out the can
Incredible geometry and technical pieces!
Basilisk lizard chasing a fly
A close up of the texturing in the skin and detail of the hand
Catching the prey
Zebras in a disagreement
“H two O”
A captivating and provacative mer-couple. Look at the pearls coming off her neck! Incredible attention to detail
Multi-block carvers are given ten 6x4x3′ blocks and 132 carving hours. The final creations glued together from multiple pieces of ice may tower 20 feet tall! A caveat of the competition is no equipment may be used to move the ice pieces, but you are allowed help from other teams. Sounds a bit like assembling the pyramids!
It is impossible to capture in an image the scale of these projects horizontally and vertically. For instance the purple dragon featured below its dimensions are about 12’tall x 12′ long x 4′ wide. An absolutely stunning piece! The scence of the ship being taken down by the Kracken extends nearly 25 feet!
A towering 15 foot sculpture of bears on the falls
Bear and the raven together
“Peace in spite of evil”
A towering dragon is challenged to a duel
The sculpture actually feels real. Everything is to proportion.
Moving closer on the head – incredible detail!
The fangs, tongue, and scales are just a few of the exquisite details in this piece!
A jaguar stalks the night
Octopus in a sea life scene
A towering abstract piece probably near 20 feet tall
Through the fence
Interesting technique to create these rays
An assortment of superheroes take on the Joker
The Kracken claims a ship as the captain stands at the wheel
A panorama of the entire ship scene extending about 25 feet!
Front of the ship as it sinks
The Superbowl – an abstract piece
The experience of the World Ice Art competition is well worth the price of admission. By the time you have walked through all of the sites, your imagination will be popping neurons as you consider the creativity of the artists, and ponder the technical execution of these incredible pieces!