Thursday, February 13, 2014

Ice Sculptor: Success Or Cracktastrophe

(C) 2014 Luke T. Bush


Carving and finishing an ice sculpture is like cutting a diamond: one wrong move and disaster.

I met local ice sculptor Rob Johnson outside the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival warming tent – an enclosure for people with frozen feet like me – as he was putting the last touches on two of his works, crystalline I (HEART/LOVE) NY signs.

Here Rob is using a grinder to smooth the edges.

Time to apply some propane flame to make the sculpture more transparent.  Rob has to be careful or CRACK! 

As you can see from the above before and after images the flame has removed the cloudiness from the ice.

Ever wonder how those big blocks stay together with the ice palace?  Rob, who helped build the palace this year, says slush – a mixture of 50/50 water and snow – works like cement under subzero temps.

He also adds each block is really heavy, weighing in excess of fifty pounds.

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