Saturday, January 12, 2008
Transformations - part 1
This has been a challenging new year for working with ice. It has generally been too cold and grey for good ice work. I need sun in order to make the ice sculptures sing, but there have not been a lot of bright days so far. We had a few days last week but it was bitterly cold. Ice does not like to be messed with when it is that cold. It becomes too brittle and the welding process that I like to use become impossible. Still, I was desperate to try something. I had saved some Japanese Maple leaves from this past fall. They too were dry and brittle...but when I floated them in a pan of water (inside where it was warm), they became flexible once more. The chance to put the red leaves on thin sheets of ice became too irresistible.
After many hours in the brutal cold and several unsuccessful attempts, I finally had a delicate Pagoda like structure nestled in the trees. The fresh snow was deep on the balsam branches and I had to be exceedingly careful to not brush or bump those branches whilst constructing the pagoda, but patience finally prevailed. Setting the maple leaves on and dripping water over them to bond them to the fragile roof worked very well and they sparkled in their beautiful transparency....but only for a few moments! As the ice cooled and formed in the deep cold, it lost its clarity and became frosted looking. It was very hard to photograph as the sun, which had been promised to be strong and clear, was only able to manage a weak showing veiled through high and milky clouds. I did the best I could at 4 F degrees, but what was really needed was some warmer temps to clear the ice and make it sparkle...
Be careful what you ask for..... part 2 tomorrow !