Modern Day Ice Age
Ice Sculpting is the art of carving shapes out of ice. This art may have begun during the middle ages when extravagant meals hosted by the wealthy often featured sculptures made from edible ingredients like pastry dough, sugar and ice. But officially the beginnings of ice sculpting are credited to both China and Russia.
As far back as 600BC, farmers
harvested ice for preserving food
and people have been using it to
build igloos for over 4000 years.
In the 1600’s Chinese fishermen designed ice lanterns. They froze buckets of water, slid the ice out, dug a hole in it and put in a candle. In 1740 a Russian Empress commissioned a monumental ice palace. The palace featured ice cannons that fired ice cannon balls and an ice elephant that actually sprayed water out of it’s trunk.
In 1950 The Sapporo Snow Festival began and since then artists have been entering their elaborate sculptures at this and other competitions all over the world. Ice sculptures are also used for business meeting, parties, weddings and almost any event you could think of. Almost anything can be made out of ice and the sculptures come in a variety of sizes that can take from three to twelve hours to create depending on the size and the design. They can last up to six hours indoors depending on the temperature. Outdoors it can depend on the temperature and the environment.
Ice sculptors use a variety of tools to carve the ice, such as chainsaws, hand saws, hair dryers, irons, and chisels. But the art form is always evolving and a system has been invented to cut the ice with a router controlled by a computer.