Winterlude Ice Sculptures – Ottawa – 2010
“Winterlude” is the name chosen for the winter festival celebrated in early February each year in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. For many the main attraction is skating on the Rideau Canal. For others it is the on stage entertainment. For me, it is the ice sculptures. I enjoy seeing the ice artists transforming large blocks of ice into translucent objects of art using such unlikely combinations of tools such as chainsaws, Dremels and household irons.
Some years I can get to see the displays when they are just beginning to work on the first pieces. Other years I miss that part and only see the displays toward the end of the festival, when the heat of the sun over many days has rounded the corners and blurred the details with its melting power during the day. This day was a good day to go for 2010. The weather was warm enough with only a little breeze unlike some other years when bundling up in the warmest clothes was a necessity. Once we found a parking spot for our car, my wife and I wandered along Elgin Street checking out the various restaurants (Elgin Street has plenty of them), made our choice,had a nice meal and then walked down to Confederation Park where the ice carvers were hard at work.
This year, there were 38 professional carvers from 13 different countries participating in the ice carving competitions either as individuals or as teams. The large sculpture of an ice dragon was already completed and greeting visitors at the entrance.
Some smaller pieces were completed and on display or just awaiting final touches.
Meanwhile, some sculptors were still toiling under the spotlights to transform those great blocks of ice into masterpieces.
For me, the idea of using a chain saw, to carve a piece of ice is interesting in and of itself but add in the cold, the darkness and a stepladder and the element of danger increases exponentially in my mind.
Update: A few days later Januchi Nakamara and his sculpture “Princess Coral” were awarded 1st place in the individual sculptor category and also garnered the media choice award.