After the great flood and fog of Roermond in Holland had subsided we were able to get back to our nice cold tent and resume ice carving, but not after wading in the freezing water and doing a little game of knock a door run around the floating houses which doesn’t work so well when you are wading through knee deep water in your underpants.
Rex was waiting for Rodrego and I with his big menacing drooling head looking all handsome but without a body. That was to be our task over the next days, lots of hacking at snow and then piling up like bricks and cementing them with water and slush.
In the meantime there was T-Rex’s friend Raptor waiting in his block of ice to be carved and given life. Been a simple square block of ice, no matter how big doesn’t suit the style of a leaping dinosaur. He was to be screaming at Rex, not happy that he wasn’t going to share his food which was to be a rather unfortunate triceratops still alive but half eaten. But you have to watch these velociraptors, they are so fast and athletic that even Rex may have problems.
To save time I started to carve Raptor whilst my partner in crime Rodrego Ferrari finished off Rex and gave him some cute little arms. I had made a design where raptor was in mid-leap twisting towards Rex in a threatening manner. The tail of this creature is much longer than his body and I was to raise it in the air in a confident and defiant gesture that was to illustrate his balance and grace. The arc would frame Rex’s face nicely and also had the additional benefit of making our sculpture the highest one in the tent, just piping the transformer Optimus Prime by a foot much to the displeasure of its maker Michael de Kok; which means Michael the cook in English to clear up any ambiguities.
Actually making the tail was a totally different matter of course, it looks so easy on paper. It got a little embarrassing at the amount of scaffolding I had to keep asking for. “Just a little more please,…….oh, could I have another set on this side,…….do you think we could perhaps have a third level?” And then when I had to climb up it I must say I felt a little weak in the stomach, I think it was a combination of vertigo and the constant swaying. It is a daunting feeling when you are five meters up in the air whilst sliding a narrow piece of ice that is almost my body weight onto another small pillar of ice. What’s more, because the tail was so delicate I had to carve in a downward motion which meant I could only look down for the entire day, the scaffolding swaying gently each time i carved the ice.
It pretty much took me over a day to make the tail, I could not use the chainsaw as it was so delicate so I had to carefully chisel away gently so that the tail would not sway and break. After that it was cool running’s and Rodrego joined me for the final hurdle of finishing up, carving like crazy with ice chips flying everywhere. It is still early days for Rodrego and ice sculpting and he made a comment on how beautiful the sound is of the chisel cutting through the ice and then the crystals falling to the ground was, each one a musical note. It was indeed one of the things that most mesmerised me when I first started, I must remember not to forget the simple things.
Rex and Raptor were eventually finished and we all gathered to celebrate the finishing of the project by banging on the floor with crowbars for two hours to remove patches of ice from the pathway so that nobody slipped. After that inspired interlude we upped the game to celebrate with our traditional glass of champagne curtosy of our hosts sculpture events. It is always a great pleasure and honour to share the company of so many talented and wonderful people for the short period of time that we spend together each year and I am very grateful for it. I salute you my friends!