Ice Carving 1999

     Living in Fairbanks and attending the World Ice Art Championships for a few years, I was wanting very much to try my hand at ice carving. In February I had the opportunity to take a class in ice carving from Vladimir Zhikhartsev, one of the best ice artists in the world. Then in March Melanie and I entered the Fairbanks Open amateur ice carving competition. At that time the Fairbanks Open was a competition with realistic and abstract categories. That was the beginning of a problem I have had through the years of deciding what category to enter my semi-abstact sculptures in. We entered the abstract category. We didn't have many ice carving tools. I had my chainsaw and a dremel. We borrowed some chisels and an angle grinder. The block of ice was about 4 by 5 by 3 feet. We had four days to complete the sculpture so there was not a lot of pressure. The first morning it was very cold, about thirty below I think, but it warmed up and most of the time the temperature was comfortable (for carving ice). We had the children there with us a lot of the time and they watched us carve and played in the snow and ice chips. The Multi-Block competion was going on at the same time so we got to meet some of the other carvers from around the country and the world, and a few very good new  friends.
     We won first place in the abstract category and so began our family's career as ice sculptors.
     Variations on the idea of this sculpture can be seen in later ice and wood carvings.
Carving Eagle
Ben carving with Silas watching through the ice. Note the clay model on top of the ice.
Finished by day.

By night under white light.

By night under colored light.

Ben and Melanie
Melanie and Ben.
Our first ice carving together.

Preliminary Drawing
Silas and Sarah
Little Ice Carvers
Silas and Sarah

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