The Cold World of Art

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Since I was little, I have always been amazed by many sculptures of any kind. I like to appreciate a work or art in a three dimensional form instead of staring straight to a picture or a painting. I love to see details on sculptures and how they were made. One kind in particular, ice sculpture. Ice sculpture is a form of sculpture that uses ice as the raw material. In my opinion, ice sculpture is such a nice, clean, and elegant way to create works of art. Ice sculptures can be abstract or realistic, and they can be functional or purely decorative. I am from a place where ice sculpture is not very popular and it will probably never be due to the hot weather that we have all year long. I like ice sculptures because they are generally associated with special or extravagant events like festivals and competitions. Like any other sculpture, you can use different methods to create it, but the most effective way is ice carving. As we learned in class, carving is a very delicate process; mistakes are difficult to repair and if too much force is applied, it can caused breakage. We can use the carving process on wood, store or other material to create a sculpture, but what make ice carvers to have a difficult time carving ice sculptures is the environment that they are surrounded by. The temperate of the environment affects how quickly the piece must be completed to avoid the effects of melting. If the sculpture does not take place in a cold environment, then the sculptor most work quickly to finish his piece of art. That is the big disadvantage of working with ice; it always has to be cold so the work of art can be appreciated and last for longer times. Sculptures are generally carved from a block of ice and these blocks must be carefully selected to be suitable for the sculptor’s purposes and should be free of undesired impurities. Typically, ideal carving ice is made from pure, clean water. However, clear, transparent ice is a result of the freezing process and not necessarily related to the purity of the water. Clouded ice is the result of trapped air molecules that tend to bind to the impurities while naturally freezing. Colored ice blocks are produced by adding dyes to the ice and can be carved as well. In some instances, clear ice and colored ice are combined to create a desired effect. There are various sized of ice blocks that are produced artificially. Naturally made blocks can be cut to almost any size from frozen rivers or from ice quarries, which are essentially lakes that have frozen over. Some of the tools the carvers use to create an ice sculpture are chainsaws, die grinder, razor-sharped chisels and hand saws that are specially designed for cutting ice. Ice sculptures are found in many places. The story of the creation of the dish Peach Melba recounts that Chef Auguste Escoffier used an ice swan to present the dish. At holiday buffets and Sunday brunches some large restaurants and hotels will use ice sculpture to decorate the buffet tables. Cruises ships buffets are also famous for their use of ice sculpture. Ice sculpture are often used at wedding receptions as for of decoration. They can be used at a bar in the form of an ice luge or even the entire bar may be made of ice. Finally, the main reason I like ice sculpture is that it brings people together to create works or arts in festivals and competitions. Canada, for instance, holds and ice sculpture festival every year during the Quebec City Winter Carnival and the festival last about three weeks. In China, the most famous event is the increasingly popular International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival that is held annually. There are many more festivals held every year in Russia, Sweden, United Kingdom and in the United States. I really hope that one day I can assist to one of these events and appreciate all the sculptures that famous artists create.


 1.     Can ice sculpture be considered an Earthwork?

2.     Do you think is it worth to create a work of art that it will only last for a short period of time?

3.     Can ice sculpture be considered a fine art? And not just used for decorative and advertisement purposes?


Josshymart Torres



8 thoughts on “The Cold World of Art

  1. I also love sculptures and these are gorgeous pieces. I think dependent on where the piece is created and if it is made from a block of ice found naturally (rather than ice made for the occasion), it could be considered an Earthwork. Even if the work is temporary, I think it should be considered a fine art. The talent necessary to create such intricate designs is remarkable, especially when working under time constraints due to the material. I would love to visit the ice hotel and bar in Sweden someday!

  2. I love seeing these sculptures! But never have I seen ice sculptures this unique! Its a bummer that ice melts in time, but when frozen, it looks amazing to what someone can create. I would image that it must take some very expirienced artist to do all that fine work. On the Cinderella wagon, I wonder how the person even started?! Some parts of the sculpture look really delicate.

  3. I am also a fan of ice sculptures. When I was a kid, i remember going to see the Ice sculptures that an artist right in my own town did. he would put them out in the front yard every Christmas. he also did all the ice sculptures down spring road for the shops at the time. To be able to turn ice into something like that takes a lot of skill. Its clear so you cant focus on things as easy and the light can throw you off as you cut. I’m glad you put these up. trip down memory lane for me.

  4. Love the blog and great subject. To answer a couple of your questions, I definitely think it’s worth it to make these compare to the short time it will last. Partly why I think some art is so beautiful is sometimes it doesn’t last forever. We have to take advantage of it’s beauty and admire it while it is still there. And it could totally be considered fine art. A thought process, a layout was manufactured to make these pieces. Someone creatively thought this up and made it, that is what makes these pieces so beautiful.

  5. Ice sculptures are awesome. Ice itself can be beautiful, just in raw form. The fact that they’re only temporary makes it seem like ice sculptors must be gluttons for punishment. I can’t even imagine making something as nice as any of those and having it only last a couple of weeks at most, sometimes just a night. The mere thought of it causes me slight anxiety. Plus, I’m a sucker for the holiday spirit, and ice sculptures just can’t help but evoke the holidays for me.

    The fact that ice can be functional and even structural makes its possibilities endless. It’s almost the perfect medium.

  6. What beautiful works of art! I can’t stop looking at them. It’s amazing what artists can do with ice. I’ve seen people do ice sculpting at Brookfield zoo and they can make sculptures so quickly and effortlessly. Its so cool to watch! I hope that you eventually make it down to the international Ice and snow sculpture festival! Did you have a artist in particular that does this that you really like?

  7. Awesome pieces ! Definitely it’s worth to create ice sculptures even for short period of time. It brings satisfaction to the artist and unforgettable memories for the audience. Even tho they don’t last people will talk about them for long long time. And as you said it brings people together and now a days it’s really important !

  8. This very interesting art. I never really paid attention this form of art. I have witness this art on several occasions and wondered how time consuming it would be to complete such art work especially the large massive ones. I feel that this type of art puts a ton of pressure on the artist to complete in a timely fashion because the ice begins to melt quite fast. I wonder if there is a training course on how to create such a sculpture. I actually would not mind doing this as a project at home to see how it turns out, it seem like it would be a ton of fun.

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