In art history, artists have used many different materials to sculpt. In addition to stone, wood, wax, clay, bronze, and bronze sculptures, there have also been gold, silver, and diamond sculptures. Ice, on the other hand, is famous today as perhaps the most extraordinary material for sculpting.
How to Make Ice Sculptures?
Ice sculptures make quite an impression at a place before they inevitably melt in front of their admiring viewers. Since the ice sculpture market has expanded along with art lovers' demands, mass-producing ice sculptures is now possible with technological developments and state-of-the-art machines. Here are the steps to make an ice sculpture:
- Draw the design on a scribble before beginning
- Take an appropriately sized water tank to begin
- Tuck a plastic liner into the tank
- Fill filtered water inside of the tank
- Place a measuring bar with a dipstick across the tank
- Set the dipstick according to the desired thickness of the ice
- Clamp electric submersible pumps on each end of the tank. These pumps ensure bubbles and impurities stay on the surface while the water below freezes properly
- After the water freezes, check the ice surface with a measuring bar
- Get rid of excess water with a wet vacuum
- Place a lifting bar on each end of the tank and lift the ice block
- Peel away the plastic liner
- Draw the design on the ice
- Scrape the design around the drawing with a mold.
- After you reach the desired shape, cut the excess ice with a small chainsaw
- Don't forget to use protective goggles and protective gloves
When Do Ice Sculptures Melt?
You carved a fantastic sculpture out of ice and want to show it to everyone, but the ice is melting, and your masterpiece will be gone before anyone has had a chance to see it. So how do you know when ice sculptures melt? An ice sculpture's endurance time changes on different elements:
- Size of the sculpture: Larger ice sculptures last longer than smaller ones.
- Its place: Ice sculptures usually last over 12 hours at room temperature. Ice sculptures in warmer areas will melt faster.
- Air Circulation: Moving air will accelerate ice sculpture melting time. Having an air conditioner where your ice sculpture is placed is detrimental.
To increase your ice sculpture's lifetime, keep it in colder places, away from heat sources and direct sunlight.
Is Making Ice Sculptures Hard?
There are two primary ice sculpture-making methods, the first being using hands only and the second using electric tools. Ice sculpture prices change according to the methods and tools used.
The basic concept of ice sculpting is the same for all methods—removing the excess material around the design and refining the desired shape accordingly. One of the most complex processes can be making the ice block surface crystal clear. To ensure that, artists use the one-direction freezing method.
The traditional ice carving method includes tools like an ice pick, hand saw, flat chisel, and small pistol saws. As ice is fragile and ice carving requires detailed work, artists should be careful and use the tools delicately. So this method is the hardest one.
In the second method, artists use a chainsaw to create the initial shape of the sculpture, operate a CNC robot that corresponds to the data from a digital computer drawing, and carve the ice block with spindles and axes attached to a gadget. This method includes using a special drill and varying-sized needles to carve the ice block.
Since ice is delicate and sculpturing requires fine craftsmanship and detailed work, it is easier to sculpt ice using robots and computer programs. Of course, as in other art branches, ice sculpture can be mastered with practice, but it can be said that it is more complicated than other art branches because its primary material is easily broken and disappears in time by melting.
Most Famous Ice Sculptures
Ice sculptures can be seen in many forms and shapes, from temples to ships and ice castles. Here are 15 of the most popular and spectacular ice sculptures ever created.
- Okamoto chess set is a 14-piece ice sculpture chess set located in Midtown Manhattan. The chess match between the IBM computer Deep Blue and Russian chess champion Gary Kasparov inspired this ice chess set.
- The ice wall is a giant ice sculpture on the MIT campus to commemorate the university's 150th year.
- Artists designed the Kondo Horyuji Ice temple with nearly three thousand tons of snow. This ice temple was created during the 2006 Sapporo Snow Festival in Sapporo, Japan.
- The Lion Dance ice sculpture was designed in 2015, depicting a traditional dance performed to bring good luck and fortune in the traditional Chinese festivals and Chinese New Year.
- The ice palace sculpture is one of the most fantastic ice sculptures ever made. The ice palace is created at one of the biggest ice festivals in the world, the annual Harbin ice festival in China's Heilongjiang province. The ice palace is refurbished yearly with new designs combined.
- The Shimmering Silverthrone was built by Brent Christensenrelies in Colorado, USA, and is one of the few ice sculptures created only by ice.
- Ice Gymnast is an ice sculpture exhibited in March 2007 at the ice sculpture park in Fairbanks, Alaska. Ice Gymnast got nominated for the World Ice Art Championships.
- The Ice Church is a giant ice sculpture in Romania and is a popular tourist destination. The only way to reach the ice church is by cable car.
If you want to add difference and elegance to your home but do not want your decorations to melt away, you can take a look at Artchi's handmade sculptures and paintings catalogues.