Saturday, December 19, 2009

<- - -SEASONAL SCULPTURE- - ->

Ice sculpture is a form of sculpture that uses ice as the raw material. Sculptures from ice can be abstract or realistic and can be functional or purely decorative. Ice sculptures are generally associated with special or extravagant events because of their limited lifetime.The lifetime of a sculpture is determined primarily by the temperature of its environment and thus, a sculpture can last from mere minutes to possibly months. There are several ice festivals held around the world, hosting competitions of ice sculpture carving.

Sculpting ice presents a number of difficulties due to the variability and volatility of the material. Ice must be carefully selected to be suitable for the sculptor's purposes and should be free of undesired impurities. Typically, ideal carving ice is made from pure, clean water. However, clear, transparent ice is a result of the freezing process and not necessarily related to the purity of the water. Clear ice is mostly the result of slow freezing that allows impurities to escape. The water molecules are allowed to line up into the typical crystal lattice while impurities remain in the unfrozen water. Certain machines and processes allow for slow freezing and the removal of impurities and therefore are able to produce the clear blocks of ice that are favored by ice carvers. However, not all blocks that are carved are clear ice. White ice blocks look like snow and are sometimes carved. Colored ice blocks are produced by adding dyes to the ice and can be carved as well. In some instances, clear ice and colored ice are combined to create a desired effect.

The temperature of the environment affects how quickly the piece must be completed to avoid the effects of melting; if the sculpting does not take place in a cold environment, then the sculptor must work quickly to finish his piece. Some sculptures can be completed in as little as ten minutes if the carver is using power tools such as chainsaws and specialty bits fitted to a die grinder.Ice sculptors also use razor-sharp chisels that are specifically designed for cutting ice.

As various technologies are adapted for use with ice carving, many sculptures are now created largely by machine. CNC machines and molding systems are now commonly used to create ice sculptures and complicated logos from ice. Color effects are also possible by a number of techniques, including the addition of colored gels or sand to the ice.The temperature of the environment affects how quickly the piece must be completed to avoid the effects of melting; if the sculpting does not take place in a cold environment, then the sculptor must work quickly to finish his piece. Some sculptures can be completed in as little as ten minutes if the carver is using power tools such as chainsaws and specialty bits fitted to a die grinder.Ice sculptors also use razor-sharp chisels that are specifically designed for cutting ice.

As various technologies are adapted for use with ice carving, many sculptures are now created largely by machine. CNC machines and molding systems are now commonly used to create ice sculptures and complicated logos from ice. Color effects are also possible by a number of techniques, including the addition of colored gels or sand to the ice.

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