The larger ice sculptures in Confederation Park are under shelters that keep them out of the wind and sun. This allows them to maintain a translucent look throughout Winterlude. A week ago when I took these shots, the carvers were just getting under way on their work. This first fellow seemed to be giving me the evil eye.
The ice blocks are produced at a facility and shipped into the site (the boxes you see here in the background are what they're shipped in). Tables are set up, along with power lines for the equipment the carvers use throughout the weekend as they work. They're out in the cold, so they're dressed well, and usually have a thermos bottle of something hot close at hand.
I find it fascinating to watch them. They come from all over the world, and here in Canada as well. Aside from our own, we have carvers this year from the United States, Russia, France, Poland, Sweden, Peru, Mexico, Japan, and the United Arab Emirates. The carvers have to have a plan in mind for the number of blocks they'll use for their final product; they can't just get away with looking at a pile of blocks and wondering what they'll carve this time. You can see sketched details on the blocks in this shot as these two carvers are working. This pair are from America and Peru.
The tools they use vary. Carvers start out with chainsaws, and make good use of electric sanders. Along the way they'll employ handsaws, chisels of various sizes, drills, sandpaper, and even blowtorches. And yes... those are irons you see on the table here.
These really are craftspeople, sculpting something that won't last, but which is nonetheless beautiful.
The starting process for all this of course are these blocks. The carvers have their vision in mind, and they hope they don't make mistakes along the way.
As I said, they come from all over the world. This pair happens to be from the city of Yakutsk, in Siberia. Their finished work? Horses, which you will see soon enough.