Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Moonlight Magic

Full Moon of December. The rivers are freezing up. A clear, calm night that was not too cold...mid 20's...perfect for icework! Not a lot of icicles are available right at the river. They have to be collected from cliff walls and seeps along the roadways.

It took several hours just to collect and deliver the large and small icicles to this site on the Boquet river, deep in the Adirondack wilderness. On my last run, the full moon rose over the distant mountains of Vermont...pale peachy-gold rising through the rosy "belt of Venus"...breathtaking !

Along the river itself were more ice gifts....during the day, the sun had warmed the ice that had built up on the stones in the middle of the river. Each stone had a "cap" of ice covering the stone, and some were now, for the moment, relatively easy to pull off. If I was lucky, I could save it before it fell into the rushing river...or before I fell in ! I managed to collect three beauties. I decided to save the largest for another project. but used two for this sculpture. Curved ice is such a rarity out in nature and I treasured these pieces and studied them for a long time before deciding how I might work with them.

I had scouted the river for the best place to build this sculpture. I wanted it out in the middle of the mountain stream to give the effect of an island ice palace. And I hoped that it would receive sunlight in the morning to bring the ice alive for photos, but I could not be sure. Securing the first pieces to the trio of rocks were tense minutes. It took longer for the 'welds' to freeze fully than I was used to ...perhaps the flowing river kept these rocks marginally warmer. Eventually they were firm enough to build upon and I could begin adding more icicles. The building was slow and deliberate as I had to keep working and moving from section to section a little bit at a time while keeping the whole piece envisioned in my mind. Work a little here, then leave it to 'set', and work a little in another area. All by moonlight. I had a headlamp, but the moon actually worked better...except for when I had to walk through the rushing water back to the bank to get more icicles...then I needed to see past the inky-black surface to the rocks under the water.

The piece took nearly 8 hours to create. A good nights work ! In the morning I returned and was delighted when the sun finally crested the far mountain ridge and filtered through the trees just enough to illuminate the entire piece.

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Welcome to the enchanted world of Environmental art and Faerie Houses sculptures created by Sally J Smith. Here you will find photos of the artist's unique art-forms and hear some of the stories from behind the scenes as she shares with you her creative process.