Friday, 11 January 2013

London Ice Fest. 2

The London Ice Sculpting Festival opened at Canary Wharf today and the temperature in the old metropolis is plunging Ice and snow are forecast for Sunday, the last day. Here's ice sculptress Anne Marie Taberdo carving her entry yesterday. There are so many attractions in this year's show I'm not going to try to list them. CLICK for the Festival website and note its timetable of events. The show is free.


At 12/1/13, Anonymous Kris said...

The Saturday weather was perfect - cold, dry, and cloudy. The only wind was near some buildings due to vortices.

A good way to spend a few hours - with time out for a pizza in the warmth of a restaurant. The food stalls on Wood Wharf were a mix of ethnic dishes like Swedish "Pytt i panna" - and something from Eastern Europe akin to a donor kebab.

It was thronged after lunch. The police had to organise traffic control queues for the large number of pedestrians using the pontoon bridge to Wood Wharf.

The Graffiti Wall was a popular attraction - although it was difficult to make a controlled impression.

The Master Class stand had a series of ice polar bear blanks. Each successive set of visitors had twenty minutes to add to the accumulated detail on a given one. It was cold work - and unnerving to see some visitors having little idea of using sharp wood chisels safely. Lucky visitors discovered the duplicate Master Class stand in the warmth of Cabot Place shopping mall.

None of the competition ice carvers seemed to be using any reference drawings - although one had a terracotta maquette.

Some of the big two-day sculptures were difficult to interpret in the given theme of "Wonders of the Universe". The winners were the United Kingdom team - but there was much debate amongst bystanders as to what was at the top of the structure. My "reasoned" explanation was a crouching man being crushed by a block that was chained to the ground. The head angle was difficult to fathom - except as something similar to Rodin's "Shades".

Belgium and USA caught my eye - but were unplaced. The former was an Eagle fighting a snake. The latter a classic medieval King's cross with a dove taking flight.

The USA won the two-hour "Speed" competition on a theme of "Infinity". A fragile structure consisting of a vertical electric guitar sprouting a phoenix's wings and head.

The UK were unplaced in the "Speed" competition - but had a novel concept where a hollow star design was enclosed in the centre of a solid ball of ice. The join between the two hemispheres was hard to detect. A led light panel was cleverly placed so that the internal surfaces of the star reflected the multi-coloured lights.

At 13/1/13, Blogger Coxsoft Art said...

Hi, Kris

Thanks for the blow-by-blow report. I take it you enjoyed the festival. Did you actually get much ice carving done? I must look at the Ice Festival website tomorrow to see if there are any good photos. I got sidetracked today by steam on the Tube and various actresses: Sarah Siddons, Jodie Foster & Co. By the way, I noticed the price of pizzas at the show was diabolical!

At 14/1/13, Anonymous Kris said...

A most enjoyable day. The Wood Wharf site had several "luxury" temporary toilet units that made life easier. What was surprising was that the nearby massive Cabot Place shopping mall had inferior permanent facilities - with queues reminiscent of motorway services.

I had a go at the Graffiti Wall - but it was hard to make a controlled impression on the ice. The "V" chisel didn't feel particularly sharp for making deep cuts. The vertical flat surface of the ice had irregularities that tended to divert the blade.

My sculpture partner also tried the Master Class and made a significant impact on shaping a polar bear. She was a bit concerned about her immediate young neighbours - who were hacking furiously at their piece with little control of their sharp chisels.

The surface of the ice melted quickly as it was being worked - so delicate tracery was ephemeral.

The tools used by the competitors were interesting. As well as traditional chisels and claws - there were small chainsaws, very large "dentist" drills, electric sanders, and even an electric iron to polish the finished surfaces. The chain links on one entry were "smoking". A bystander suggested that dry ice was being used to melt the interior of the links.

My memory for the prize winners was erroneous in a few cases. The USA came third in the two-day competition with their cross and dove.

There are pictures by various people on Flickr.

This user shows "Speed" competition entries of the USA "guitar phoenix" and the UK "star inside a ball" - plus some other works.

At 14/1/13, Blogger Coxsoft Art said...

Hi again, Kris

Thanks for the link. I've reduced it's length with TinyURL!™, because Blogger comments usually mess up long links.
A very useful tool and free.

The problem with Flickr is that photographers who use it tend to block downloads, as in this case. So, sadly, nothing I could use. However it was interesting to see some of the entries. Lots of birds.

The problem with an ice festival in London is that the sculptures don't stay sharp for long. They tend to smooth over like a Fox's glacier mint. The World Ice Championships in Alaska maintain temperatures well below freezing. so delicate sculptures stay razor sharp. They introduced webcams a few years ago, so you can sit in the warmth of your own home and watch ice sculptures being carved. I think you and your friend would enjoy that. First week in February is usually when the sculpting starts, but it opens in late January. Search my blog for a link and some fantastic entries.

Glad to learn the luxury porta loos were up to scratch! The show must have been very popular for the police to be called out for crowd control.

At 15/1/13, Anonymous Kris said...

Here is a link to a Flickr page which has a set of some pictures taken on Saturday. You can use any of these to illustrate the London Art News blog article on the Ice Sculpting Festival. Copyright attribution is "Viv Turner".

At 15/1/13, Blogger Coxsoft Art said...

Thanks for the TINY link, Kris. I'll take a look later today. I'm still playing catch-up with the news. My Internet and phone went down yesterday (both TalkTalk) and cut me off from the world. Back up, I'm glad to say; but it took 2 restarts of my PC after my phone came back online. What a pest!

I was a bit premature on the start dates of the Alaskan Ice Championships. I checked and it opens in February, not January. Search for "Ice Alaska" on my blog to find its home page. I hope you found the praying mantis. Gobsmacking ice sculpture!


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