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Glossary of terms.


Amperage The strength of an electric current in amperes.

Amperes (Amps) The standard unit for measuring an electric current, equal to 1 coulomb per second.

Aprons Usually made of rubber, aprons are often worn by the sculptor to repel ice shavings and to remain dry while sculpting.

Artisan Term used for a person who is skilled with a medium such as ice, bread, clay, or stone.

Artistic Process The creative process of working and finalizing a concept while designing art.

Artist's Studio The area established and organized by the artist in which he works to produce his art. Usually includes specific environmental requirements, equipment, and tools.

Assets Items of value owned by a company. These include cash-on-hand, accounts receivable, land, large equipment, buildings, and inventory.


Balance The harmonious proportion of elements in a design.

Balance Sheet A company's statement of financial position on a given day.

Baseline A horizontal line etched near the bottom of an ice block to identify where the sculpture ends and the support base begins.

Bits Attachments to rotary tools, die grinders, and drills; bits come in a variety of designs for different uses.

Block A rectangular mass of ice, prior to being cut. Usually measures 20" L X 10" W X 40" 11 and weighs approximately 300 pounds.

Blocking-In To cut away at the block to reveal the basic form of the sculpture. Also known as roughing-in.

Blowtorch Tool used in place of a heat gun or hair dryer to quickly melt the surface of the ice, it can crack the ice by exposing it to intense temperature change.

Borrowed Technology Using the tools, methods, or science from one industry to meet the objectives in another industry.

Branding Tools Used to emboss the ice by heating the brand end of the metal tool and quickly pressing the design into the ice.

Break-Even Analysis A mathematical method for finding the dollar amount needed for a sculpting business (or any business) to break even financially

BTU Acronym for British Thermal Unit, which is a system of measurement used to gauge heat. The quantity of heat required to raise the temperature of 1 lb of water 1[degrees] Fahrenheit.

Budget A financial plan of anticipated revenues and expenses for a specific period of time, used for making managerial decisions.

Business Plan A financial document, detailing the scope and nature of a planned business, used as a communication tool for obtaining investors. Also serves as a guiding document for running the business.


CAD Acronym for Computer-Aided Design.

Capacity All that can be contained. Can also mean maximum output.

Capacitor A device for storing an electrical charge.

Carbide A binary compound of carbon with a more electropositive element, often used to coat cutting surfaces (such as chainsaw teeth) for increased strength and sharpness.

Carve To cut into desired shapes or along specific lines.

Celsius A metric unit of measurement for temperature. To convert degrees Celsius to degrees Fahrenheit, multiply the Celsius temperature by 2/5 and add 32 to the result. At sea level, water boils at 100[degrees]Celsius or 212[degrees]Fahrenheit.

Center of Gravity That point in an ice sculpture around which its weight is evenly balanced.

Centimeter A metric unit for measurement of length, equivalent to 0.394".

Centerpiece An ornamental object, such as an ice sculpture, that is displayed prominently on a table near its center.

Chain Saw Gas or electric powered portable tool that has teeth linked together to form an endless chain. Originally designed for cutting and shaping wood, electric chain saws are now the primary cutting tool for ice sculptors.

Chipper A 3, 4-, 5-, or 6-pronged hand tool used for cutting or chipping ice. Also used to provide texture and design.

Chisel A metal edged hand tool used for sculpting ice, wood, or stone by shaving or gouging it into the medium.

Circuit The path or line of an electric current.

Circuit Breaker A device that automatically interrupts the flow of an electric current.

Circulation Pumps Small electric devices inserted into the top of the water reservoirs of the ice block maker. Used to move the water while it freezes, thereby raising the air, minerals, dust and other impurities to the surface and away from the ice block as it hardens.

Clear Ice Ice blocks that are preferred by sculptors because they are transparent and don't have a cloudy feather running down their centers. Also known as slick ice or crystal clear.

Clinebell[c] Brand name of an ice block-making machine that uses water pumps to produce crystal clear blocks of ice. Named for the freezing method developed by Virgil Clinebell.

CNC Acronym for Computerized Numeric Controls.

Collet The metal collar through which a drill bit's shaft is passed and then tightened, to secure the drill bit to the power tool.

Composition The general makeup of a sculpture, the arrangement of parts into proper proportion or order.

Condensation Process by which water vapor cools and turns to its denser, liquid form (water).

Conductor A substance, like wire, that transmits heat or electricity.

Contaminated Water Water containing foreign matter, such as dust or minerals.

Continuation The perpetual use of a form, such as a primary line, to carry the viewer's eye along a sculpture.

Coroplast(R) Brand name for corrugated plastic material.

Cost/Benefit Mix An evaluation of the costs (time, money, material) expended versus the benefits (profit, publicity, experience) gained by completing an activity.

Cost of Goods Sold The cost (dollar value) of labor and raw supplies used to create goods (products) that were sold.

Coulomb A unit of electric charge equal to 6.25 X 1018 electrons passing a point in 1 second.

Crash and Burn When a sculpture falls (crashes) due to overstepping the limits of balance and fuse strength, resulting in the sculptor's lost entry (burn) from a competition.

Crystallization The formation of crystals or crystalline shapes. Water, when it freezes, forms a six-pointed crystalline molecular structure.

Current The flow, or rate of flow, of electricity in a conductor.

Cutting Zone An imaginary mobile radius of 6' that surrounds a sculptor operating power tools. An area within the safety zone for the sculptor to operate power tools without the possibility of endangering another person.


Design Elements Component parts to an overall design or theme.

Dimension Bodily form or proportion of a sculpture. Can also mean the measurement in one direction.

Display A setting or presentation of a sculpture.

Display Cart A custom-built cart for displaying ice sculptures. Usually has through lighting and drainage system.

Disturbed Water Moving water.

Dremmel[R] Brand name for a die grinder manufacturer commonly used by ice sculptors.

Drill An electric or hand-cranked tool used to bore holes or etch designs into the ice.

Dry Ice[c] Brand name for a refrigerant consisting of solidified carbon dioxide.


Electromotive Producing an electric current through differences in potential.

Entrepreneur An individual who organizes a business and assumes risks in order to create a market for profit.

Ephemeral Short-lived object, usually lasting only one day.

Erosive Force Wind, water, ice, or grit that wears down an object when applied forcefully.

Etch The action or effect of making a design on the surface of the ice, usually with a pick, scribe, chain saw, or die grinder and bit.

Ethafoam[R] The brand name for dense sponge-like sheets made from polyethylene, used by ice sculptors to insulate and protect their sculptures.


Fahrenheit A U.S. unit of measurement for temperature. To convert degrees Fahrenheit to degrees Celsius, subtract 32 from the Fahrenheit temperature and multiply the result by 19. At sea level, water boils at 212[degrees] Fahrenheit or 100[degrees] Celsius.

Feather Trapped impurities, such as air or minerals, that are forced to the center of the block during the freezing action causing a cloudy, white appearance. Often a softer part of the block due to the trapped air.

Fixed Costs Costs that do not vary with sales and that are generally known in advance of sales. These include loan payments, rent, salaries, and insurance. Flat Fusing The process of attaching two flat surfaces to each other.

Flowing The rhythm and lifelike quality of a sculpture.

Foam-in-Place A method of securing a packaged item or sculpture by injecting a polyurethane foam around the item, filling the air void.

Foot A U.S. unit for measurement of length, equivalent to 0.305 meters.

Form A three-dimensional object such as a cube, cylinder, or ball. Forms are derived from shapes, which are two-dimensional.

Functionality The use of a sculpture for a particular purpose.

Fuse The joining or attaching of two or more pieces of ice (see Flat, Natural and/or Peg Fusing).


Gauge A standard measure or criterion. Can also mean the thickness of wire or sheet metal.

Gels Colored, transparent sheets of plastic-like material mounted over theatrical lighting. Used to illuminate sculptures in various colors.

GFCI Acronym for Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter.

Gouging Scooping out a cavity or channel in the ice using a saw or power tool.

Gram A metric unit for measurement of weight. One gram equals 0.035 oz; 28 grams equals 1 oz.

Graph Paper Paper ruled for drawing designs. Commonly used by sculptors to design their sculpture templates.

Greenhouse Effect Extended exposure to sunlight, especially the ultraviolet rays, will melt ice from the inside.

Gross Margin Sales minus the cost of goods sold equals gross margin. The money remaining before other deductions are taken.

Gross Profit Sales minus variable costs equals gross profit. The money remaining before fixed costs are deducted.


Hair Dryer Used instead of a heat gun or blowtorch to polish the surface of the ice by melting it.

Hand Saw Tool with larger teeth than the wood saw, used for splitting blocks, fusing, and marking the base.

Harvesting Retrieving hardened ice blocks from a frozen pond or ice block making machine.

Hassle Factor Work requested that is beyond the scope of that ordinarily requested or provided. An additional charge is often applied for such services.

Hatching Hollowing out an area in the ice that will later be filled with snow to create definition of that area.

Horizon Level The view at eye level.

Horizontal Parallel to the horizon, at right angles to a vertical line.

Hot Water Bag Plastic bag filled with warm water, used to smooth and polish the surface of the ice in a controlled and uniform manner.


Ice Solid form of many substances. For this text, we refer to ice as frozen water molecules.

Iceculture 5200[c] Brand name of a CNC router machine developed by Julian Bayley. Precisely cuts ice by the operator programming the dimensions of the ice and the design pattern into its computerized control panel. The ice is then cut using an end mill.

Ice-Friendly Tools that are adapted to lower their destructive impact when used on ice. Can also mean any object or environment that does not damage ice through its contact.

Ice Knives Tools primarily used to clean rough edges and perform delicate shaping.

Ice Pick A single pointed steel-tipped tool used for breaking, scribing, or chipping the ice. Also known as a one point chipper.

Ice Point The point at which ice begins to melt at 0[degrees] Celsius under standard atmospheric pressure.

Ice Sculptures, Ltd.[R] Brand name of a style of ice sculptures produced by Ice Sculptures, Ltd., co-authors of this text.

Icework Ice sculptures done for pay. Inch A U.S. unit of measurement for length, equivalent to 2.54 cm.

Income Statement A financial report that shows the amount of profit or loss a business has made or lost over a given time period. Also known as a profit and loss statement.


Jig A device used to guide a tool.


Kick Back The action of a chain saw when its blade chain hits a resistant surface, causing the saw to bounce backwards away from the item being cut. Although common when cutting wood, ice rarely causes kick back.

Kilogram A metric unit for measurement of mass, equivalent to 2.2 lbs.

Kilometer A metric unit for measurement of distance, equivalent to 0.62137 miles.

Kinetic Having movement of its own.


LED Acronym for Light Emitting Diode.

Liabilities The amount of money owed by a company to its creditors. These include loans, debts, and accounts payable.

Lost Opportunity A situation that arises when a person is unable to take advantage of an opportunity because of a conflict, usually because they are unavailable or do not have the necessary resources.

Lubricate Oiling the chain saw, usually with clear, food-grade oil that keeps the chain from seizing.


Makita[R] Brand name for a manufacturer that produces electric chain saws commonly used by ice sculptors.

Marcottage The artistic design process of blending or mixing sculptures or fragments of sculptures to create a layered effect on a final, larger work.

Mass A quantity of matter of indefinite shape or size. Can also mean the bulk of a sculpture.

Master Template Original and primary full-scale drawing that is updated and footnoted as revisions occur during practice sessions.

Mats Usually made from rubber, floor mats are used to reduce the stress and shock of standing on hard surfaces over an extended period of time. Mats are also used under the ice sculptures to prevent them from "wandering" and to protect the tools while sculpting.

Maxfield Color Method Process by which colors are suspended in 65[degrees]F liquid gelatin and distributed evenly within a pattern on an ice sculpture. Used to create colored designs for logos, pictures, and other patterns. Named for its inventor, Derek Maxfield.

Medium Material or technical means of artistic expression. Commonly refers to the ice that is being sculpted.

Meter A metric unit for measurement of distance, equivalent to 3.2808'.

Metric System A decimal system based on the number 10. Provides standard rules for unit amounts through prefixes.

Mise en place French for "things in place." Implies the orderly and complete organization of needed tools and/or ingredients.

Models Representations of a subject used for practice sculpting. Often made from another medium, such as clay, porous concrete, or soap.

Modernist An artist who thinks and works in the present time using the technology available.

Montage A composite picture or sculpture that includes a variety of designs or elements.

Movement In the visual sense, to represent action or activity Can also mean the flow or order of associated elements in a sculpture.

Multi-Block A sculpture made using more than one block of ice, usually fused together.


Nail Board Aboard with the pointed ends of many nails protruding from one side, used for roughing ice.

Nail Board Fusing A method of joining ice. Two facing sides of ice pieces are roughed up with a nail board then welded with freezing water sprayed between the blocks.

Natural Peg Fusing A fuse that is made along a natural seam or line in the sculpture, such as a belt, muscle, or fletching of a feather.

Negative Space Unwanted ice occupying an area of the original block which must be removed to reveal the desired finished piece.

Net Profit/Loss The money available after all goods and operating expenses are satisfied. Generally calculated monthly and annually.


Ohms A unit of electrical resistance, equal to the resistance of a conductor carrying a current of 1 ampere at a potential difference of 1 volt between the terminals.

Ohm's Law A formula that relates the voltage, current, and resistance of a circuit, hence allowing the calculation of these values at any point in a circuit. Expressed as V = I X R.

Opaque Ice Ice that is cloudy due to impurities in it.

Originality Myth The concept that suggests that nothing is truly original and all designs come from pre-existing elements.

OSHA Acronym for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, an office of the U.S. Department of Labor that oversees the workplace environment for the protection of the laborers.

Owner's Equity Equal to the owner's assets minus liabilities. The amount of financial interest the owner has in the assets of the company.


Peg Fusing The creation of a system of tapered ice pegs on one ice piece that fit into corresponding holes on another ice piece for the purpose of joining the two pieces. Also known as pegging.

Percival[R] A brand of power saw with two shaft lengths, it is used to undercut, trim, and detail sculptures.

Perspective The conceptual ability to understand or visualize in a balanced manner.

Physical Shock Damage to an ice block or sculpture when it is bumped against a hard surface, such as a concrete floor or truck bed.

Pick A small wooden-handled tool with a needlelike steel end used to etch or roughly chop ice.

Picture Plane The frontal side of a canvas or drawing paper on which the picture is located.

Plotter Originally associated with mapmaking, oversized printers used in graphic design and CAD offices.

Polish To smooth, soften, and refine a surface, often to produce a gloss finish.

Pond-Cut Ice that is cut and harvested from frozen ponds.

Potential The relative voltage at a point in an electric circuit with respect to some other reference point in that same circuit.

Pounce The application of powders, such as charcoal dust, to a template. Involves dabbing a bag of powder over the holes in the template to transfer the design.

Pound A U.S. unit of measurement for mass, equivalent to 0.45 kg.

Power Cords Heavy-duty, rubber-coated extension cords for power tools.

Power Strips Insulated receptacles for plugging in multiple power cords.

Power Tools Electrically powered hand tools used to etch, cut, shape, sand, and drill. Used instead of hand saws and chisels to sculpt ice.

Press Kit A collection of photographs, fact sheets, and biographies that businesses and professionals compile. These are given to the media to promote publicity about a business or artist.

Primary Lines Identifies the fundamental shape and outline of the sculpture or its major parts. Also known as strong lines.

Primary Sculpture The first and most important sculpture derived from an ice block.

Primary View The main direction from which a sculpture is to be viewed. Also known as the face of the sculpture.

Production Template Working templates that are destroyed during the sculpting process.

Professionalism An attitude and behavior that demonstrates excellence in a profession.

Profit & Loss Statement A financial report that shows the amount of money a business has earned (net income or profit) or lost (net loss) over a given period (usually a month, a quarter, or a year). Also known as an income statement.

Proportion To make the parts of the sculpture harmonious or symmetrical.

Propylene Glycol A food grade antifreeze added to edible products to prevent freezing or separation. Also used in mold-making machines to facilitate the even distribution of temperature during the freezing process.

Proximity Several elements in a sculpture that are close together. Can also mean organizing a work area with elements closely arranged.

Punch Marks Deep cuts, usually made with a chain saw, to provide guiding marks for removing negative space.

Pure Water Water without impurities, such as minerals or dust.

Pyrotechnics A dazzling display of fireworks or fire-related exhibition.


Raw Blocks Whole, uncut blocks of ice. Also known as raw ice.

Repetition The repeated use of a form or shape.

Resistance Opposition of some force to another, as to the flow of electrical current.

Rhythm Measured repetition of a shape, form, or feature.

Risk In business, unknown variables that may negatively affect the outcome of a decision.

Roughing-In The act of cutting away at ice to reveal a rough likeness or silhouette of the final sculpture. Also known as making rough cuts or blocking-in.

Rounding Making every part of the surface or circumference equidistant from the center. In ice sculpting, can also mean continuously removing corners to eventually transform a few larger straight edges into numerous smaller edges until the surface appears rounded.

Rubber Mats Heavy-duty floor mats, such as the rubber fatigue mats used in commercial kitchens. Used under ice blocks to protect the floor and ice tools while sculpting. Reduces shock fractures and melting at the sculpture's base.

Rust The reddish-brown coating formed on metal after prolonged exposure to moisture and air.


Safety Zone An area established by cordoning off a perimeter, allowing a sculptor to work without interruption within its boundaries.

Sales Money coming in from the sale of goods and services. Also known as sales revenue.

Sales Revenue Money coming in from the sale of goods and services. Also known as sales.

Sanding Using a chainsaw blade or sander to shave and smooth ice by running it back and forth over the uneven ice surface.

Scope The range or extent of the design.

Score A line made in the ice with a sharp tool, such as an ice pick. Often used to trace a template pattern onto the ice.

Scrap Ice Unwanted ice from the negative space of the primary sculpture. Often used as packing snow or to make secondary or support pieces.

Scribe A tool for etching, or the act of etching ice. The sculptor would scribe his template design into the ice with a pick.

Sculpture A three-dimensional work of art formed from solid material, such as ice.

Secondary Lines Not as strong as the primary lines of the sculpture, the secondary lines add depth and definition.

Service Contract A form that clearly defines and details client expectations and sculptor obligations.

Setting-Up Ice freezing to a state of hardness. Can also mean the act of putting together a display.

Shape A two-dimensional object such as a circle or square. Shapes are the foundation of forms, which are three-dimensional.

Shaping Altering the appearance or form of a sculpture by cutting and sanding its exterior.

Silhouette The outline of an object viewed as circumscribing a mass.

Slick Ice Another name for clear ice. Produced by circulating water while it freezes to separate out the air, minerals, and other impurities and form transparent ice.

Slush Partly melted or watery snow. Often packed around a crack or seam to fuse or repair.

Snow Opaque water/ice molecules. Also used to describe soft, cloudy ice.

Squaring Standing the ice block so that it is perfectly horizontal, or leveling it prior to sculpting. A safety practice to prevent tipping and uneven cutting.

Static Having no movement of its own.

Steam Wand An old-style method of cutting ice by directing steam through a narrow metal wand towards the ice. The wand must be connected to a boiler using rubber hoses and valves.

String Rope used to measure and draw straight lines.

Strong Lines Identifies the essential form and outline of a sculpture or its major parts. Also known as primary lines.

Styrofoam Material used as insulation and shock-resistant padding for transporting and storing ice pieces.

Sublimation The evaporation of solid ice (frozen water molecules) into vapor that occurs when ice blocks are left uncovered in a frozen environment, such as a walk-in freezer.

Sub Templates Smaller templates used to etch new areas of the inner block that are revealed after preliminary rough cuts.

Sub-Zero Art A nickname for ice sculpting or ice sculptures due to the fact that its temporary existence is dependent upon being kept in freezing temperatures.

Suggestive Selling The process of suggesting or recommending products to a customer with the intention of increasing sales.

Symbolism To represent something in an abstract manner, such as artistic imitation as a means of expression.

Symmetry The balance or beauty of the art form resulting from corresponding opposite parts.


Table Normally 6-8 feet in length, a useful place to keep tools organized and closely available.

Techno-Artists Expression applied to individuals who use technology such as power tools and computers to create, design, and produce their artwork.

Temper Adjusting the internal temperature of an ice block to that of the surrounding environment prior to being sculpted. Often means slowly warming a block by letting it sit for a few hours in the carving room or overnight in a walk-in cooler. Can also be used to describe the slow cooling or reduction of temperature of an ice block when placed in a sub-freezing environment.

Temperature The amount of heat or coldness of an object. Also used as a measurement of kinetic energy. Usually measured in degrees of Celsius or Fahrenheit.

Template The outline of a design that can be placed directly onto an ice block for tracing and guiding the sculptor's tools. May be made from wood, plastic, or metal but is usually made from paper.

Texture The visual or tactile surface characteristics and appearance of an ice block or sculpture.

Theme A topic used as a focal point of a buffet, party, or sculpture. Sculptures are often created in support of, or to reflect, event themes.

Thermo-Shock Weakening and cracking of the ice block caused by an extreme inconsistency between the internal temperature of the ice and the temperature outside the block. Occurs when the surface of the ice is subjected to a change in temperature.

Three-Dimensional Vision The ability to visualize a sculpture's height, width, and depth.

Tongs Large, sturdy metal hand tool with pincer ends used to grip and move ice.

Total Operating Expenses The total of all other expenses, other than the cost of goods, incurred by a company to operate its business.

Tracing Paper Thin, semi-transparent paper. When placed over a pattern, allows the pattern to be seen and copied by the artist.

Traditionalist A person who believes in philosophies or who practices methods that have been handed down through generations, despite current trends, practices, or modern technology.

Translucent Allowing light to pass through, but not transparent.

Transparent Visually clear; allowing objects to be seen through the material, such as glass or dear ice.

Trays Used to hold ice sculptures for display. Often outfitted with drainage tubes and under-lights.

Two-Wheel Handcart A labor-saving metal device with two tires used to transport blocks of ice and finished sculptures. Also known as a two-wheel dolly.


Unity The presentation of a unified or single image.


Vapor A gaseous form of any substance, normally of a liquid. Visible moisture particles suspended in the air.

Vapor Barrier A boundary of separation, either natural or man-made, between vapor and other items to prevent moisture contact.

Variable Costs Those expenses that change as sales change and are not known in advance of sales. Usually includes hourly labor, raw goods, and supplies.

Vectorized (Artwork) A line drawing composed of only primary lines with no color or shading, such as a template.

Vertical Straight up and down, at right angles to a horizontal line.

Visualization The ability to see the finished sculpture within the ice.

Volt A unit of electromotive force.

Voltage An electromotive force expressed in volts.

Voltage Drop The loss of voltage in an extension cord due to the resistance created by extended cord length and narrow wire diameter.

Volume The amount of space occupied in three dimensions.


Watt A unit of electrical power, equal to the power developed in a circuit by a current of 1 ampere flowing through a potential difference of 1 volt.

Wattage The amount of electrical power.

Weight to Mass Ratio The measurement of the force exerted on a mass by gravity in relation to its size and quantity of matter.

Wellingtons Large rubber boots worn by sculptors to keep their feet dry and grounded from electrical shock. Also known as "Wellies."

Working Templates Templates or patterns that are used during the sculpting process. Usually copied from the master template. Also known as production templates.

Work Order A document used to communicate the customer's design requests. Used by the production staff to create the finished product.


"Z"-Cut A vertical and horizontal cutting of a new block of ice to form two thinner L-shaped blocks, each with its own base.
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Publication:Ice Sculpting the Modern Way
Article Type:Glossary
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2004
Previous Article:Appendix E Resources and references.

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