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Any Available Material can Become Art as Ice Carving Proves

Ice is a simple and versatile thing. It is cheap and easy to make; as a commodity you can have as much of it as you can freeze. It’s hard and stable, and yet easy to turn into a work of art. Ice carving is an art work based on skill and perseverance, treasured for its fleeting beauty. For unless it is kept permanently cold, the art work will turn to water.

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Ice was first collected by farmers in China in 600 BC; they flooded their fields and then carved out blocks of the frozen water to store in ice houses in order to keep their fish fresh. Inuit people of Canada and Greenland only had ice to use as building materials and they built their igloos from blocks of ice and insulated them with snow. The art of ice carving, like many things, began for practical purposes. In the days past, people had were accustomed to using the resources that were available. In a country where the cold stays with you throughout the winter months, one of the things you had in free abundance was ice. It’s not surprising that people began to use it to keep things cold. However, being an aesthetic species, it was not long before practical started to blend with beauty. The first use of ice for art was in Siberia, when people filled buckets with water, slid out the frozen contents and put a candle inside the hole. Practicality and beauty.

Later, people began thinking grander. They started sculpting and carving ice into statues and even buildings. Ice palaces in Russia, and ice and snow festivals in China began the trend towards majestic works of impermanent art. Today, countries such as Canada and Japan make the most out of their wintery reputation with grandiose ice festivals. The Sapporo Snow Festival in Hokkaido Japan is one of the biggest annual ice festivals combining small beautiful ice carving with majestic life size architectures made from snow and ice. The festival attracts many talented artists and over two million visitors every year.

In 1964 a machine was invented that could freeze water into crystal clear blocks of ice, making the sculptures even more beautiful and increasing the demand and supply for this particular art form. A current popular use for ice carving is as decoration for elaborate feasts and celebrations. This is the reason that art carving is taught in culinary schools, although as the art becomes more elaborate, most chefs are preferring to leave that job to the specialists. Ice sculptures sit as centerpieces on the dinner table or even serve as ice cream bowls which keep the food chilled and impress the guests.

Unfortunately, or perhaps it’s part of the charm, ice sculptures do not last for very long. Their lifetime depends on the temperature of the environment and can range anywhere from a few minutes to a few months. In time, even the coldest ice sculpture will start to lose its beauty, since ice evaporates as water does.

This article was written by Shanelle Guziak, on behalf of ISA Attractions, offering you amazing display of ice works. To know what snow sculpture is, you may Wisegeek.com.

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