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Sunday, January 23, 2005

Icy creations


We stopped in Halethorpe on our way home to Baltimore Friday night to behold our friend Bill's ice sculpture. He and his creation are pictured above in a time exposure. Bill snaked a garden hose to the top of his swing set and suspended the spray nozzle above his decomissioned Christmas tree. For 12 hours in last week's below freezing cold, he misted water over the tree, which grew a shell of beautiful crystaline knobs and spikes.


Bill left a string of colored lights in the tree, and with some jiggling after the ice formation, lit up the interior of the tree so that it could offer up some very pleasing nighttime close-ups.

Alaskan_ice_wall_2005I imagined other people have thought to do this too and hit Google. Sure enough, among other random examples, I found an artist in Fairbanks, Alaska named John Reeves who has created two ice sculptures using a segmented vertical water pipe rig and a specially-designed array of spray nozzles. The works are big.

The current ice wall, a more ambitious iteration of last year's, is, as of January 22, 2005, 97-feet tall and still growing in temperatures that go as low as 50 below. With the help of climbers from the Alaskan Alpine Club, the twin pipes at the core have been extended in 10-foot increments, and the nozzles have been spraying water almost non-stop since November 2004.

Last year's ice wall sculpture, titled Foxman's Raven, was built from October 2003 to April 2004, and ended up being 80 feet high, 140 feet long and 40 feet wide. Voids inside the sculture created ice caverns to explore. At its largest, the sculture weighed an estimated 45,000 pounds, and took a 106 degree day in July 2004 to melt completely away.

Reeves didn't embed lights in his works as Bill did, opting for some reason to just dump dyes on the ice to colorize the work a bit. Perhaps getting power to the spot was an issue, but for the next one, I hope they do add lights. Lighting the ice wall from within would dramatically showcase the spikey ice caverns.

A member of the club is documenting the project on the club's web site. Be sure to check back in the coming weeks for progress reports. The club has also collected an excellent page of other ice walls (used to train ice climbers) around the world.

01:56 AM in Baltimore | Permalink


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wow, that's pretty amazing, i like the closeup shot. actually i like the top, wide shot as well, the man standing next to the sculpture has weird lighting on him.

Posted by: zerosun at Jan 25, 2005 8:43:16 PM