I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that the Winnipeg International Snow Sculpture Symposium was the coldest place we carved this year!I had thought that maybe Kiruna Sweden, being north of the Arctic Circle, might be able to dethrone Winnipeg’s cold status but with no wind chill in Kiruna it wasn’t even a close race and Winnipeg won hands down.
I always look forward to the Voyageur Festival’s International Snow Sculpture Symposium. I enjoy seen the familiar faces and friends we have made over the years of attending. It is great catching up and renewing our friendship with fellow artists from around the world and hear about their latest projects! It is always a pleasure to meet some new artists as well and hope to see them again at other events. The fact that it is a symposium results in a wonderful supportive energy. It changes the focus of the event from a competition to more of a community of artist all wanting each piece to be realized to it fullest. Like usual, we shared some tools and always share encouraging remarks with the other carvers
I look forward to going to this snow carving symposium as this event is usually known for it’s beautiful natural snow blocks to carve. These blocks are usually a joy to carve. Unfortunately Mother Nature wasn’t cooperating this year and Winnipeg had hardly any snow, so the blocks were made out of man made snow. The blocks this year were closer to ice than snow and had various other debris surprises throughout. Faced with these challenges, the organizers got a couple of electric chainsaws to help with the bulk removable of the “snow”. This was greatly appreciated as it was hard going, “painful”, and a slow process to remove it without the chainsaw. I believe we wouldn’t have gotten it completed without having access to the chainsaw! Despite another carver (Ton Kalle of Netherlands) complimenting me and calling me a human chainsaw, my body was very grateful for the time I spent using the real one!
We also had a wonderful volunteer, Kara, who was helped us and learned how to carve. We really appreciated all the time she was able to put in helping us. A big “HE!HO!” to our team of Carole Dagenais, Terry Ouellette, myself (and Kara) as we put in long hard days and some nights to realize the sculpture. I commend them on their passion and enthusiasm to realize the piece as it was originally presented and their persistence to keep working towards that goal. This block was not an easy carve as it fought back with voids, dirt clumps and always being more like ice than snow. I am amazed at the quality of the piece we were able to complete. I am proud of our team and our snow sculpture!
This year I participated in the Voyageurs’ first international cheese carving competition. It was an opportunity to expand into another carving medium. I was able to use many of my pumpkin and clay carving tools. It was a fun and entertaining event! I have never seen a 44 pound block of cheese before, let alone have the opportunity to carve one. It was learning while carving kind of experience and I enjoy the experience with the other carvers. I was happy to have won second place in my first cheese carving competition. I hope I get the opportunity to see what I can do next time. Click here to read more about cheese carving.