Woolen Slippers

I donated my old slippers because I didn’t like wearing them. I also thought I had a pair waiting for me at my other house. But when I journeyed there this weekend, found none and felt a faint tingle in the back of my mind, “oh yes, I donated them too because I didn’t love them”.  I am trying to get better about shooing things out of my life that I don’t heartily enjoy. This new habit I’m trying to form has left me slipperless.

Shopping is fairly torturous to me, I avoid rambling around looking for things. I don’t have a lot of belief that anything I will cherish is manufactured in bulk. Thus, when I am disproven it is usually the result of a gift. Fortunately in this instance I stumbled on a work around.

I went looking in my yarn bin for materials to make a crocheted Trotro doll for my niece’s X mas present around the same time I was experiencing slipper loss and just starting to warm up the cabin by woodstove heat.

Years ago I did my student teaching in New Zealand and I still remember the day in the market that I bought some virgin wool. A woman named Nicole made me her confidante. She was in a quandary. She said she had started to raise a few sheep to have wool for her projects. She said she had been naive, she didn’t realize they would multiple so quickly. She promised herself when there were 15 she would find a solution to keep the numbers low. She repromised at 20. She said she now had 30 and couldn’t think of having the lambs slaughtered, but couldn’t kill the old ones either. What should she do, she asked me. Me, a twenty something from America, I had no idea what to say to her. Her wools were soft and varied. Creams to greys and browns and rich charcoal, I could imagine this beautiful flock and the impossibility of trying to decide between them. These are materials I can love. I bought a variety, and way more than this non-consumer could concieve of. When I got it home to my place in NZ n realized my bags were full and I was to depart in a few days I realized I would have to wear it to get it home. I crocheted it into a long sleeveless cloak with a big pocket and traveled home encompassed in the heart of the land of NZ. It stayed that way, for years, I had never intended to keep it in that form, but somehow it remained and went on many more travels with me. Finally a few years ago I set to the task of taking it apart and finally, they are anew

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2017 World Ice Art Championships

The multi block teams only have three days to complete their sculptures, and this year it was in the -40s F while they worked. That’s what I call dedication to your art form.

Although these sculptures are now well on their way to melting, I would like to share a few of my favorite ice carvings seen this March in Fairbanks, Alaska at the 2017 International Ice Sculpture competition. There are a number of categories in which people may compete.  There is single block competition, multi- block, children’s, and amateur divisions.

The image here is a close up of the cage and key part of a phoenix sculpture.  I am so amazed by how even they are able to do the widths and curves.  Just blows me away.IMG_6971

The bee here is also part of the single block competition as was the image above.  This sculptor did such a great job with proportion and texture, which was definitely not true of all the sculptures I saw. IMG_6972

I think this is supposed to be Trump, looking up at Lady Liberty.  My friend thought perhaps he was supposed to be pondering immigration…  (A multi block piece)IMG_6974

 

The multi block teams only have three days to complete their sculptures, and this year it was in the -40s F while they worked.  That’s what I call dedication to your art form.  This piece below is a close up from another multi block piece, you will see a soaring bird in a later pic that was also from this sculpture.  I am amazed at some of the concepts that are designed for the contest, not all achieve their desired results, but this fetus in the womb was very well illustrated.

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One of the last pieces we saw, but one of my absolute favorites was this hummingbird that was being worked on by the man in this picture.  I could hardly believe it when I saw that he was carving this for the amateur competition.  Personally, I think it was one of the most beautiful and elegant pieces of the entire park.  IMG_6988

The picture below is just focusing on how the nature around was transformed through the lens of ice.  This carved sphere inverted the woods around it, and was strikingly effective in it’s use of simplicity.

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One of the single block sculptures is shown in the detail below, the entire dragon was done, but I cropped the image down to show you more detail.  The single block competitors I believe are limited to one to two sculptors.  IMG_6957

 

This single block sculpture shows a bit of the international feeling of the event.  There were multiple teams of Asian carvers, and some Russian and Scandinavian I noticed.  It’s amazing that people travel half way around the world to be outside carving in arctic temperatures.  IMG_6958

 

Another globe I really loved was this one below that looks like spikes were all joined together, somehow more clouded in their appearance and then having a clearer sphere around them.  Not sure how it was done, but it turned out great.  (just a small detail of a larger piece)IMG_6984

 

The bear head here gives you an idea how molten the ice can look when carved by an experienced carver.  The union of great sun or lighting can really affect the pieces.  It was surprising to feel the carved ice on some of the mazes and sculptures that were placed throughout the park for a more interactive experience. It didn’t feel wet at all, just very smooth, a unique touch experience, I really loved the feel of it.   There are also a lot of ice slides built for kids to use, and little sculptures for them to climb… in addition to the official sculptures that are hands off. It would be a great place to go with small kids in the winter, tons of spaces to explore and have fun. IMG_6953

 

I can’t begin to image how this carver was able to create such a thin sheet of ice for the wings and texturize it without having it shatter into a million pieces.  But there in lies the art of ice sculpting.  This was also a single block piece. IMG_6964

 

This single block sculpture of what I think is a carnivorous plant I took mainly for my cousin’s son, who has a healthy obsession with these plants lately.  Thought he might like to see this larger than life sculpture of something he loves. Hi Seth!IMG_6962

 

And last but not least, just a simple bird soaring in the sunshine.  If you would like to attend this cool competition in the future or just learn more about it.  Feel free to visit http://www.icealaska.com/www/en/IMG_6978