Temporary beauty: Ice Alaska

"Flame in the Wind" by Vladimir Zhik...

Image via Wikipedia

The annual ice sculpture festival in Fairbanks, Alaska, started in 1934. Possibly the original idea was to cheer up a rather depressing time of year in a tiny Northern town.
It’s, um, grown a bit since then, to international scale in fact, and the sculptures have become increasingly sophisticated. Considered as works of art in their own right, many are of stunning beauty and complexity.

And made of ice. Once the thaw comes, the only trace that remains, apart from puddles of dirty water, are the photographs on this site. They show stages in sculpting the ice blocks, and the finished articles as seen: (a) by the judges with white light, (b) by day, (c) by night, with coloured lighting.

While viewing these amazing pictures, don’t forget to marvel at the detail that can be achieved despite having to wear thick gloves to stop your fingers freezing to the chisel.

Incidentally, every time I look through the pictures on this site I get this song from 1982 stuck in my head. The video is pretty cheesy and the sound quality could be better, but what the hell: it’s nostalgia, he sounds a bit like Elvis Costello, and there aren’t many songs about ice sculptures.

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