The next question is likely to be “how did they carve it like that?” Most ice sculptures start with a block of ice weighing about 300 pounds. It’s that clear and beautiful because of a special machine invented by Virgil Clinebell in 1964 which could freeze crystal clear blocks of ice at 15 pounds each. The larger ones followed later. Carving the sculpture from these blocks is the most efficient way to get the most beautiful art work. It is possible to make one from a mold but these provide a cheaper, lower quality piece. It is certainly faster and easier to make a sculpture by pouring water into a mold and freezing it, the quality of the ice sculpture is lowered. The ice is cloudier and the detail shallower, and of course, you can’t have any type of sculpture you want. You are limited to the mold. Actually, it is easier to carve the ice than it is to make the mold.
The sculptor uses a variety of hand tools, chisels, drills, saws and electrical saws to carve the ice. The tools fit into three basic categories. There are tools for the rough cutting, like the chainsaw, tools for shaping and smoothing, and tools for detailing and defining the ice sculpture. Electrical power saws and chain saws are better to use than the gas powered ones, because they weigh less and so are easier to wield. Also, the gas powered ones can be smelly and make the ice dirty. The carver does have to be careful, however, mixing electricity and water. This can be more of a concern when carving at above-freezing temperatures and at any temperature the carver needs to wear insulated rubber gloves and boots.
Computer technology is slowly coming into practice as an ice sculpting tool. The computer is programmed to cut and engraved the ice according to the design provided. These computers are not uncommon, but not widely used as yet. Most ice sculpture is still carved by hand, but that may change in the future.
The ice sculpture, although beautiful and skillfully built, was probably only designed to last about 4 to 6 hours. That is the length of a banquet or special event. Some can last longer if kept cold. They may last for months if protected. When the ice starts to melt, a water cooler bottle or a plastic crate is useful for catching the water. Ice picks can be used to break apart the sculpture and carry it away in smaller pieces. If the sculpture is in a location where it cannot drain into a bucket, such as on the floor, the water will have to be pumped away.
An ice sculpture is an art work sure to impress for its craftsmanship, its beauty and for its short life.
This article was written by Izola Stennis, on behalf of ISAAttractions, offering a frozen winter wonderland drawing millions of crowd from all over the world. To know what an ice sculpture is, you may visit Wisegeek.com.