Monday, April 20, 2009

Ice Spiral construction

A short movie which shows the construction process of the Ice Spiral. The day was very warm, in the low 50's and the ice was soft. It took me a long time to find just the right spot to work... I needed deep enough water to give dark blue reflections, but not too deep as my waders needed to keep me dry ! I used a mountaineering ice ax and a tree pruning saw to cut the spiral. The ice was between 3 and 8 inches thick and somewhat fragile in places. The water was between 2 and 3.5 ft deep where I was working but it dropped off quickly at the outer edge of the spiral... I had to guess where that underwater edge might be because I could not see it thru the ice. I worked non-stop from 1:30pm till 6:15 pm.

The pathway was made by removing block-like sections which were floated out in the channel as it was made... you can see many of the remnants floating in the foreground. When the sun went behind the mountain cliff that forms one wall along the west side of the pond, the quality of the ice changed very quickly and it became more brittle. As I neared the inner end, disaster !!! The ice design broke into 4 separate pieces !!! Not good !!

I was unable to move and get repair materials because when I moved the blocks separated further and I was worried the whole spiral would be lost. While trying to hold all the pieces together I fished around with my toes and pulled up waterlogged twigs from the bottom of the lake and stuck them in the mud vertically to stabilize the movement of the floating sections while I tried to "weld" them back together again... VERY tense minutes trying to keep it all together and not panic... a VERY frustrating ending.

Eventually all the pieces stuck together just enough to stabilize the spiral as the temps got cooler and the "welding" held... but I had been standing in one place for nearly 25 minutes at that point and was getting a bit numb in the toes due to the cold water, so I very gently got both feet freed from the mud and backed ever so slowly out of the spiral and cleaned up the site. Then I waited for the end of the day to capture the deeper blue shadows in more photos from other angles. Those photos and some from the following morning will be posted all this week.

Stay tuned !!

( If you are unable to see this movie, you can go to

and see the movie there )

No comments:

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.