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Chapter 11 Custom design techniques and special event sculpting.


After reading this chapter, you will b e able to:

* Discuss the design process

* Explain how the artistic process affects the final design

* Discuss the myth of originality

* Define symbolism

* Identify characteristics of the techno-artist

* Define special-event sculpting and discuss related design ideas

* Identify several types of functional ice displays and their purposes

* Explain how transparent ice displays are made

* Discuss the pros and cons of colored ice

* Describe the Maxfield Color Method

* Describe how to make snow-filled ice sculptures

* Discuss other means for special effects with ice

Key Terms and Concepts

artistic process



myth of originality




ice luge


transparent display

reverse snow fill technique

snow filled design

Maxfield Color Method

The Design Process

  * The Artistic Process

The Myth of Originality

  * Symbolism
  * Artistic Design Influences

Special Event Sculpting

  * Competitions
  * Holiday Ideas
  * Wedding Ideas
  * Logos and Corporate Events

Functional Ice Displays: The
"Art" of Entertainment

  * Ice Trays
  * Ice Boats and Clam Shells
  * Ice Bowls
  * Ice Bars and Tables
  * Ice Luges
  * Ice Vases

Transparent Displays

  * Transparency
  * Objects

Coloring the Sculpture

  * Dye-Colored Ice
  * Color Gels

Snow-Filled Graphics--Front
and Mirrored Designs

Special Effects with

  * Dry Ice and Fog Machines
  * Motorized Sculptures

Artist Profile

This chapter is a peculiar combination of questions and answers. Its focus is the custom design and creation of ice sculptures for special events. The first part of the chapter discusses the importance of the design process and examines the need for original or adapted works. Next, the chapter suggests some opportunities available in sculpting for special events and in creating functional ice sculptures.

The balance of this chapter provides information on several advanced techniques used in sculpting. They are proven methods for obtaining positive results with ice, and they will assist the sculptor in achieving customer satisfaction.


The act of designing a sculpture is perhaps one of the most important aspects of the sculpting process. The sculptor evaluates many variables, including time, money, transportation, display environment, and purpose. But beyond that, the artist wants to advance his craft with the medium. He wishes to use this opportunity to gain yet another skill and try another method. And he wishes to grow as an artist.

Taking the time to design and create a high quality, original template cannot be stressed enough. An original design is the foundation on which the entire display will be built.

The artist must understand that the finished sculpture will not necessarily match his template, even if both the template and the execution were flawless. Haphazard or quickly created templates can lead to imperfections in the design that may not or cannot be corrected during the sculpting process.

Unlike the culinary arts, which can appeal to all five senses, sculptures appeal to only sight and touch. Often they cannot even be touched. The other senses are conveyed visually in the form of a suggestion. When a sculpture can stir an emotion it allows the viewers to personalize their experience internally.

They have not touched the sculpture, the sculpture has touched them.

The Artistic Process

The artistic process is a mental and physical journey that the artist takes to create his final sculpture design. The sculptor works and reworks his ideas by doing sketches until he feels that the image expresses the intended concept.

At the height of his career, many regarded Auguste Rodin as the greatest sculptor since Michelangelo. He is a perfect example of an artist who labored through the artistic process to achieve his masterpiece, The Gates of Hell.

Rodin used a method known as marcottage to create many of his more complicated sculptures. He would layer sculpture upon modular sculpture during the assembly process to achieve his total design. This technique of building a larger work by using fragments intrigued Rodin.

Inspired by Dante's Divine Comedy and Baudelaire's Les Flours du Mal, The Gates is an arrangement of hundreds of independent pieces modeled in high relief and in-the-round. Among the most popular and well-known pieces is The Thinker. The sculpture was designed to be the lintel (the top piece of a doorway) of an entrance portal for a never-realized Parisian museum of decorative arts, to peer over the desperate figures below like Dante dwelling over the lost souls in the Inferno. It has groupings that all relate to each other. The Kiss, also designed as part of The Gates of Hell, has similarities to The Thinker. The powerful bodies of each figure, placed on a rough unfinished mass, show the contrast of textures: skin like softness against the hard rock. Atop The Gates of Hell are three human figures representing The Three Shades, a variation of Rodin's Adam. Each figure is similar, but each was changed slightly by altering the positions and angles of the limbs.

Modern ice sculptors can apply the same technique. It is not necessary to reinvent the wheel every time a new piece is designed. A different twist may be added to an existing sculpture, thereby creating new and different designs.

Aiding in the Artistic Process

Sculptors typically have strong beliefs about design and approaching the process of design. The following is a short list of our design suggestions. The intent is to provide a list that illustrates methods of design and of altering already existing designs that can stimulate the artistic process.

* Even when creating a totally unique figure, whether man or beast, the sculptor should always keep muscular contortions close to reality in order for the creation to be somewhat believable.

* Ideas are manifestations derived from one's own experiences. By gaining exposure to many different types of art, the artist will increase the bank of ideas from which to draw.

* When designing a sculpture, the artist should try to capture the strength, balance, and movement of the subject. Make it natural and graceful, never with over-exaggerated features.

* Fuse lines, or unnatural seams in the design, will detract from the sculpture. The practice of natural peg fusing should be used to make the lines less obvious.

* Changing the angle of the design may provide a sense of movement or give a different perspective. The greater the difference in angle, the more impact the changes will have on the design.

* Taking the block apart and fusing it back together, like using a wider wingspan, will help expand beyond the static block figure.

* The addition of accessories related to the sculpture, including weapons, tools, or even clothing, can be used to make the design more interesting.

Several years ago, Dan Hugelier and Ted Wakar collaborated on the design of a sculpture that they planned to make for a competition. They spent several meetings considering the nature of their sculpture--its mass, primary lines, practicality--but certainly its message. Their goal was to present a piece that would not only demonstrate their sculpting prowess, but appeal to the viewer. The artistic process of planning the conceptual design paid off, as they were awarded the "People's Choice Award" and "Carvers Choice Award." (See Figure 11-1.)


Realism is only one approach for expressing an idea in a sculpture. Artistic liberties can be taken with the subject matter to add originality. Originality is defined as creating something that is not currently in existence and that is significantly unique. Since the human mind has been conjuring up visions since the dawn of time, creating something that is strikingly new and significantly unique has become somewhat more difficult.


However, as the world has evolved so has human imagination, creating new ideas to satisfy new demands. Even with the continually expanding catalog of pre-existing concepts, the yet unrealized volume of untapped dreams is as infinite as the universe. It is our belief that original works can be as simple as a variation on or a blending of existing ideas, designs, or styles. Variations can be made by changing texture, positioning, size, or even proportion, as is often the case in fantasy style art.


Symbolism is a means of suggesting an ideal or concept. The artist can use the medium of ice to communicate a message or express a belief, in addition to providing beauty through sculpture.

A good example of the use of symbolism in art is The Great Seal of the United States, often mistaken for the Presidential Seal. It was carefully designed by the Founding Fathers to symbolize the United States. The constellation of thirteen stars over the eagle's head, thirteen olives and leaves in the right talon, a bundle of thirteen arrows in the left talon, and the thirteen vertical bars on the shield all refer to the thirteen original colonies. E Pluribus Unum--"out of many, one"--also refers to the thirteen colonies united into one nation.

The olive branch symbolizes peace, and is placed in the eagle's stronger right talon to emphasize its importance, with the eagle's head turned towards the olive branch. The bundle of arrows symbolizes the power of war; unity in arms is symbolized by the unbreakable nature of multiple arrows in alignment. The eagle looks away from the arrows--it is not looking for war. The shield symbolizes power and unity. The colors of the shield have their own symbolism: white signifies purity and innocence; red signifies hardiness and valor; and blue signifies vigilance, perseverance, and justice. The eagle itself is used because of its long life, great strength, majestic looks, and because it was believed to exist only on this continent.

Artistic Design Influences

For many years, the authors' pursuit of new sources of design has led them to investigate a diverse variety of art forms not usually considered when designing ice sculptures. The following examples serve to illustrate the variety of influences and resources available to the sculptor--here are many, many more.

* Classical--Flowing robes, Rubenesque figures, idealized figures, and heavily religious themes.

* Tattoo Art--Includes bold line artwork, Celtic patterns, characters, and bio-mechanical art. (Bio-mechanical art, a term coined by H. R. Giger, is a sometimes erotic style of art which blends the living with the mechanical, illustrating how we are all machines inside.)

* Fantasy Art--Artists such as Boris Vallejo, Frank Frazetta, and Julie Bell are all individuals whose works emulate and romanticize both human and animal forms, sometimes splicing man with beast to create a dreamlike scene. These artists' paintings are frequently used as an idea source for many competitors.

The Techno-Artist

Techno-artist is an expression used for artists who use computerized machinery to create their art. We are sometimes called techno-artists because we use computerized sculpting equipment. However, the use of technology and computers as an asset in designing our work far preceded our present use of machine tools for sculpting. The use of CAD programs as a means of creating, manipulating, and resizing drawings has provided us, along with many other ice sculptors, a better way to create and catalog our work for future use.

The proper use of the Internet can also speed up research and design. Search engines offer millions of photos searchable by subject. Clip art programs, with their enormous volume of ideas, are an excellent resource for designs. We recommend choosing a clip art program that will display and print designs in a vectorized format. The number of clip art Web sites is growing. Many of these sites require paid membership, but there are still some free art sites available.

Corporate logo artwork can usually be obtained by merely holding the mouse over the logo and then right-clicking. An option menu, which should include Copy, will appear, allowing the sculptor to save the artwork to most art software programs. Surfing the sites of ice sculpture companies is another way to see new designs that have already been tried.


Special-event sculpting can be described as "sculpting with purpose." There is a specific theme that the sculptor is trying to capture, and the design reflects how the sculptor interprets that theme. Sculptors generally enjoy the challenge of special-event sculpting, as it often provides an opportunity for artistic growth and creativity by having to design and create custom works outside of their normal production. The following list reflects the most common types of special events. However, it is by no means exhaustive.


Competitions are a great opportunity if the sculptor is willing and watchful. There are competitive events at both the student and professional level. The goal of these events is to provide the entrants with an opportunity to learn while testing their prowess against their peers. The events also serve to promote the industry by creating a means for the general public to witness the skill of the sculptors as they carve. Chapter 12, "Ice Sculpting Organizations, Competitions, and Festivals," discusses, in detail, the nature of these events and how to plan and prepare for a competition.

Holiday Ideas

When it comes to designing and creating sculptures for the holidays (particularly during the month of December) it is best to generalize rather than refer to specific traditions or religions. "Happy Holidays" is often more politically correct for a December office party than "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Hanukkah."

When a sculpture is requested for a specific holiday, it requires the sculptor to become familiar with the significance of the holiday. Research on the Internet will help explain nearly everything the sculptor needs to know about the traditions and any religious meaning associated with the event. Greeting cards are another resource--cards tend to be succinct and are often visual, providing the sculptor with practical ideas for sculpting.

Wedding Ideas

Although the traditionally romantic sculptures of lovebirds, hearts, and a brace of swans (due to their monogamous characteristics) are still in demand, more personalized themes have gained in popularity. Modern brides and grooms are choosing themes that are representative of who they are, as opposed to generalized wedding themes. Customizing a sculpture to express the client's interests adds to the allure of an event.


Another approach is to use traditional wedding design elements in a nontraditional manner. Event planners and caterers often seek to provide innovative presentations that use familiar elements. The Wedding Cake sculpture depicted in Figure 11-2 was created by Ice Sculptures, Ltd. to use at weddings. Although the cake's shape is familiar, its composition from ice is unusual.

Logos and Corporate Events

The corporate use of ice sculptures has recently gained widespread popularity. Whether promoting a product or creating logo recognition, ice is a successful medium to add a sense of sophistication for companies worldwide. Banners and other print media are commonplace and are rarely received with the sense of wonder generated by a company logo that has been created out of ice.


However, the sculptor has a heightened responsibility when sculpting corporate logos. Since the logo design represents a company and provides name recognition for its product, a poorly reproduced ice logo will have a negative effect. For this reason, special cane in producing a quality reproduction of a logo is of the utmost importance. Future business with that company, plus the opportunity for a positive referral, is dependent on quality craftsmanship. If available to the sculptor, creating a logo sculpture using a CNC router may be the best way to retain a good client.

Companies tend to be more service-and quality-oriented, and less price-sensitive. They want to be able to depend on the sculptor to provide the services as contracted, and with as little complication as possible. The aim of the professional business-sculptor is to demonstrate a sense of leadership and confidence in his ability when meeting with the client, and to meet the expectations of the client by delivering the product on time and within budget.


As the popularity of ice sculptures grows, so does their function. In some cases, having an ice sculpture for pure visual enjoyment--one that "just looks pretty"--is not enough. An ice sculpture that also serves a practical purpose creates a certain amount of interaction between the guests and the sculpture. A functional display is appreciated as much for its usefulness as its entertainment value.

As with all ice, functional displays also melt. Consideration and forethought need to be given as to what the ice vessel will nest upon, and how the melted water will be contained without damage to the table and other decorations. Also, thought should be given to the nature of the products being displayed on the sculpture. Serving punch, for example, from a clear plastic liner within the ice bowl will help to slow the melting of the ice. Cocktail sauce eventually bleeds through ice, but using a lettuce cup to hold the sauce looks attractive and prevents discoloration of the sculpture.


Ice Trays

Ice trays serve two purposes. One is to display food in an attractive yet practical manner, and the second is to help chill the food. Ice trays can be designed as flat containers or as multi-tiered salvers. When creating a multileveled tray, it is important to design one that offers ample space for and easy access to the food but is also stable enough to withstand the interaction with the guests.

Ice trays can also have depressions designed into them to serve as individual serving bowls. This is a particularly attractive way to display non-leafy salads, a variety of seafood, or caviar.


Ice Boats and Clam Shells

Ice sculptures can reinforce the theme of an event or represent items in a buffet. Clamshell and iceboat sculptures help express a nautical theme while also serving a functional purpose as service pieces. Seafood salad and peel-and-eat shrimp are commonly presented in these ice-art containers.

As an example, while working in a major center for shrimp harvesting in Florida, Chef Garlough often created shrimp boats out of ice for buffets and special events. He would create a boat design, with space in the bow for cocktail sauce and a larger area in the aft for the shrimp. Pairs of long, narrow, wooden dowels were secured close to the front and rear ends of the boat and rose upwards from holes drilled into the ice. Fish netting was suspended on the dowels, finishing the appearance of a shrimp boat.


Ice Bowls

Ice bowls are another practical and attractive means to present either chilled food or beverages at an event. A clear plastic liner placed into the bowl is helpful in reducing the deterioration of the ice and dilution of the beverage. Beverages, particularly those containing alcohol, will quickly wear away the sculpture and cause pits in the ice. The liner can be removed and cleaned for later use.

Objects such as silk flowers can be placed into the sides of the bowl as it freezes, creating an added feature to the display. Silk flowers need to soak in water before they are submerged into the ice mold or block maker. Soaking reduces the bleeding of color into the ice and helps to eliminate bubble formation around the flower.


Ice Bars and Tables

Of the innovations growing in popularity, the use of ice as a full-sized bar or serving table is one of the most popular. Even though they have been constructed since the 1950s, the use of ice bars and tables has been limited until recently. These bars are generally constructed for the purpose of serving cold beverages or food, such as sushi. The displays are normally constructed from the floor up, as opposed to being set on another table, and have a dynamic effect and tremendous visual appeal due to their size and novelty.

The design can range from the simple to the ornate, depending on the client's budget and the technical skill of the ice sculptor. Many enhancements such as logos, pillars, and lighting can be added.

Successfully creating and displaying these bars, however simplistic their design, takes a great deal of experience. These cumbersome displays are not recommended for beginner or intermediate ice sculptors, unless under the constant supervision and direction of an experienced, professional sculptor.

Ice Luges

A popular sculpture that can enhance a beverage bar is an ice luge, also known as a shooter-block. An ice luge can serve as a great conversation piece, particularly on a traditional bar or when it becomes part of a larger ice bar, although it can also be displayed on its own.


The shooter-block is another example of how the evolution of ice sculptures has recently become a revolution. For years, the shooter-block was no more than a chunk of ice, tilted on an angle with one or two grooves cut into the surface. The beverage was poured into the top of the groove and would flow down the channels to the bottom of the block. Once the chilled beverage reached the bottom of the block, it would flow into either a glass or directly into someone's mouth.

From its crude beginnings, the luge has developed into a much more sophisticated beverage dispenser. Spiral tubes, through which the beverage travels, are frozen into the ice. The ice luge, being sculpted beyond a purely functional form, has gained broader acceptance. Now they are not only featured at bachelor parties, but often appear at black tie events.

Ice Vases

Ice vases, although not as interactive as an ice luge or bowl, still provide great beauty and interest to an event. Vases can be low and wide or tall and narrow. They can be small or large and can serve either as individual table centerpieces or as part of substantial floral displays.


There are essentially two styles of transparent displays. The first incorporates a plastic transparency copy of a logo or other artistic design into the center of the ice block. The second style involves inserting foreign objects such as silk flowers or dollar bills into the ice while it is being formed.


The "transparency style" of transparent displays can be accomplished by either of two different methods. The first method is by placing a clear plastic transparency (with logo design or message) on a flattened side of an ice block. The use of a warmed aluminum sheet works well for smoothing the block. A second smoothed and leveled block or sheet of ice is quickly placed against the first, trapping the inserted transparency between the layers of ice. If the sculptor works quickly, the warmed sides of the ice will fuse the two blocks together with little or no evidence of a seam.


The second method is by inserting the plastic transparency into the ice block as it is forming in the block maker. This is an excellent method for making a seamless transparent sculpture that requires little time or skill, but does require access to the ice block as it is forming and a few special steps.

In 1954, George Weising described a method for freezing transparent inserts in his text Ice Carving ProfessionaVy. Even though the first man-made plastic had been developed in 1862, polymers weren't commonly available until the late 1950s. Weising's method was to suspend painted glass panels in the metal canister ice molds while the ice formed around them. The panels were painted with waterproof paint and sealed under a coat of spar varnish. The paint took at least a week to dry sufficiently. Although there were several problems inherent with the process, the painted designs in the ice aroused curiosity among the viewers.


Objects such as flowers, toy tractors, golf balls, or playing cards can be suspended in the ice to support a theme. Items are generally positioned in the semi-frozen water during the initial stages of freezing. For the greatest effect, it is best to vary the depth and locations in which the objects are suspended. This usually requires positioning the items in the forming ice at intervals during the two to three days required for freezing the block.

Today we have silk flowers, but they weren't always available for putting into ice sculptures. Real flowers are delicate and can be difficult to work with. And extreme temperatures can affect their appearance. So, before silk flowers were used, and because plastic flowers were not very lifelike, sculptors would apply spray wax to real flowers to give them the needed strength and durability.


Color is often a welcome addition to a sculpture. Adding color to ice can be achieved either by coloring the light under which the sculpture is seen or by altering the natural color of the ice with dyes or color gels. We prefer to use color gels and have developed a method for using them in controlled applications.

Dye-Colored Ice

The use of dye colors in ice sculptures has both its good and bad points. The concept has been around for many decades, and it has met with some success. For example, using the colors red, white, and blue in an American flag, or green in a dragon or dinosaur sculpture, can help support and emphasize the impact.


Unfortunately, the addition of coloring agents to the process of freezing water changes the properties of the ice itself. The colorants are impurities within the water and have the same effect as other impurities on texture, melting point, and other qualities of the ice (see Chapter 2). Colored ice generally melts faster and is softer than uncolored ice--like a big Popsicle. The details of the sculpture will not be as defined as when using crystal clear ice, and they could be visually lost as a result. Colored ice also tends to stain the tablecloths around it while on display, and the sculptor during its creation.

For these reasons colored ice will be more difficult to purchase, because it is not commonly used. Those sculptors who have the capacity to produce their own colored ice are more likely to try using it. However, it should be noted that the block maker will require some additional cleaning after using coloring agents.

Using Color Gels

We spent several years working on methods to incorporate color into some of our special event and custom-designed sculptures. Dissatisfied with the compromising effects of coloring agents added to water as it freezes, the team at Ice Sculptures, Ltd. created a method for coloring a logo, lettering, or portions of a sculpture. The process is now referred to as the Maxfield Color Method.

Prior to applying the Maxfield Color Method gels to the ice, the block must be prepared for the coloring gel. The following steps involve the reverse snow fill technique (see the next section on snow-filled designs), and it requires the design to be reversed when making the template:

* The sculptor will need to maintain a constant depth into the ice when cutting with the router. To accomplish this, the sculptor measures an inch from the tip of the desired size bit, and then wraps layers of duct tape around the bit to act as a depth guide.

* Start cutting in the middle of the area that is being hollowed out, allowing the depth guide to nest on the surface of the ice.

* Be sure to stay within the lines of the template. Keep a hand brush close to remove snow build-up.

* Once all the ice and snow is removed from the areas you intend to color, begin coloring the ice using the Maxfield Color Method.

Maxfield Color Method

The following procedural steps were developed by Derek Maxfield of Ice Sculptures, Ltd., as a means to color ice without color bleeding, shrinkage, and deterioration from the colorants. The method is considered a breakthrough for those seeking an easy and consistent means for adding color to their sculptures:

* Heat 2 quarts of water to 160[degrees] F either in the microwave or on the stove.

* Once heated, completely dissolve seven 4 ounce (7 gram) envelopes of unflavored gelatin in the water. Allow the gelatin to soften and dissolve.

* If creating multiple colors, divide the gelatin into the appropriate number of portions.

* Depending on the color intensity you want, add one or more teaspoons of coloring agent to the gelatin. Use a non-toxic watercolor, preferably powdered tempera, which will ensure that the sculpture will be safe to use around food. (These powders can be found at art supply stones.)

* When the color mixture reaches between 65-70[degrees] F, the mixture can be applied into the ice by pouring it from a pitcher for larger surfaces, or with a squirt bottle for smaller areas. This work should be done on a level surface in the walk-in freezer, when the ice has completely set-up.

* Allow fie color gels to freeze solid.

* Pack dean, dry snow over fie color gels. Remove any excess snow and then apply cool wares w fie packed snow encasing fie color mixture from behind.

* Allow the water to freeze solid before moving fie ice.


If the color is poured above 70[degrees] F, the color mixture may melt the ice into which it is being applied, thereby altering the water-to-gelatin ratio. The result, upon freezing, is a frosty appearance. Additionally, if the water is too hot it might crack the ice. Start at various points within the design to spread the heating effect of the warm gels. It is best, even at 70[degrees]F, to vary the location of the warm gels as they are being applied to prevent thermo-shock. Timing is an important factor with this method, so having the mise en place ready is vitally important.

The gelatin suspends the color in place while it freezes. This prevents the color from separating as it freezes and prevents the color from leaking while the sculpture is displayed. Until now, the bleeding of color has been a common problem with colored ice. Additional benefits include time saved by only needing to apply one coat of colored gels, and the fact that the sculptures will be food-safe.


A snow fill (also known as the "front filled method") is cut into the face of the block. A reverse snow fill (also known as the "mirrored snow fill method") is cut on the back side of the block and is then viewed through the front, giving the mirrored snow fill more depth of appearance.

Snow-filled sculptures are made by cutting a line of a design or pattern as a channel, partway into the ice. A die grinder works well for this task. It is extremely important that the grooves are not cut entirely through the ice. The channel should be cleaned of debris, snow, and ice chips. The channel is then packed tightly with clean, dry snow, leaving the design line opaque white. The snow is sealed into the ice by applying a layer of very cold water over the snow pack, which eventually freezes. It is best to allow the sculpture to freeze in the horizontal position overnight to prevent run-off. A hot water bag, blowtorch, or heated aluminum can be run quickly over the area to smooth out any blemishes.


A reverse snow fill is made in the same manner. It is very important to keep a consistent depth throughout the design, since the design is viewed through the ice and varied depths will be noticeable. Using a depth guide will ensure a consistent appearance to the reverse snow-filled sculpture.

Using snow fill provides the sculptor with a high level of control in creating shapes, outlines, and lettering. Altering the form of a block by sculpting gives a distinct shape to the block. However, snow fill creates more defined texture and shading contrast to the sculpture, while working within the original form of the block.

Note: Sometimes when doing a reverse snow fill, sculptors will make a mixture of water and fat-free milk that is poured sparsely into the channels, creating a thin white layer. The mixture is allowed to freeze before the channel is packed tightly with clean, dry snow. This process is not used with front snow-filled sculptures.


Enhancing a sculpture with different special effects can be achieved in a growing number of ways. In addition to the use of pyrotechnics, light, color, objects, and decorations, ice sculptures can be combined with other embellishments to attract attention. However, it is important to remember to never overshadow a sculpture with special effects.

The following are a few examples of how ingenuity can elevate a sculpture's impact on the viewing audience.

Dry Ice and Fog Machines

Dry ice and fog machines can make a dramatic impression. There is something mysterious about the wispy nature of dry ice gases and fog. Dry ice is generally used only for a temporary smoke effect. It works well, but the dry ice dissipates in minutes. Fog machines create a longer and more controlled smoke effect, but they often generate heat--so caution must be exercised with regard to their proximity to the ice.

Motorized Sculptures

Most sculptures are static in nature. They do not move without some outside force. However, with the proper use of rotating stands, motors to turn Ferris wheels, or clocks added to the face of a sculpture, motion can be infused into ice sculptures.

Animation or motion can be added to help bring the sculpture alive. The process of animating a sculpture requires a great deal of skill. If a sculpture is to have motion, where there is "ice on ice" precautions must be taken to prevent components from freezing together prior to activation. Again, this is an advanced skill that should only be attempted by experienced ice artists.


Meet the Artist--Steve Brice

Steve Brice was born in Fairbanks, Alaska, where he returned in 1990 to get his first taste of sculpting ice. Steve was a stone sculptor, but found ice to be more interesting and a greater challenge. He is now a full-time sculptor. By 1996, he was heavily involved in ice competitions, traveling to various parts of the world to test his abilities in ice sculpting against some of the world's best. Steve placed first in the Olympic trials for the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan and for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Provo, Utah. At different world championships, Steve has had eight first-place finishes, three second-place finishes, and one third-place.

Ask the Artist

Q What is your philosophy when it comes to creating sculptures for special events or competition?

A I like to push my sculptures to their limits, trying to make something that moves and amazes people. I'm satisfied when I've achieved the maximum weight on a fuse, or the perfect balance of weight, size, and motion in my designs. It's about stopping just before the "crash and burn" that happens when you've pushed the ice too far.

Q What do you enjoy most about the ice business?

A As much as I love carving, I enjoy making new tools more. To see ice carving evolve and advance is the most exciting part of what I do. There will always be a better tool and a better way to do something, especially in such a new and unexamined art form as ice carving.
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Title Annotation:Part IV Advanced Skills With Ice
Publication:Ice Sculpting the Modern Way
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2004
Previous Article:Chapter 10 Displaying and lighting for effect.
Next Article:Chapter 12 Ice sculpting organizations, competitions, and festivals.

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