Art is a wonderful human invention; it can express the whole spectrum of emotions and experiences in so many different ways, through so many different mediums. While we usually associate paper and pencil, canvas and paint or clay and chisel with fine art meant to survive the ages, art doesn't always have to be so long-lasting.
Ice sculptures, for instance, can be beautiful, detailed and intricate, but also ephemeral by their very nature.
Because of temperature requirements, ice artists prefer the winter, when the sculptures might last longer. Depending on the environment the sculpture is kept in, it can last up to several months.
Sculptors start with large blocks of ice, using rough tools like chainsaws to carve the block down to size. Then, chisels, grinders, hand saws and other tools are used to add shape and detail.
Modern technology has even been brought into the art. Computer numerical control (CNC) machines are now commonly used for created complicated sculptures, details or logos. For extra-large structures, cranes and the like are used to move each block into place.
Ice made from clean, entirely pure water is best suited for ice sculpting. The freezing process, however, is what determines the look of the ice; trapped air leads to cloudy ice.
Crystal clear ice can be made easily using machines. However, cloudy, white ice is popular for simulating snow and blocks colored with dye can spice up a sculpture.
Sometimes, artists like to use "natural ice," which has been harvested from frozen rivers, lakes or ponds.
Every year, there are several international ice sculpting events, usually held in countries with cold winters.
The Quebec City Winter Carnival in Canada puts on a three-week ice sculpture festival each year, which is thought by many to be the best in the world. In the Japanese city of Sapporo, their winter festival includes a famous contest where ice creations are often the size of multistory buildings.
Ice sculpture has developed uses outside the simply aesthetic, as well. For instance, each winter since 1991, a hotel made entirely from ice and snow has been constructed in Sweden. The concept has been adopted in other countries now, too.
Via: Little Things