Ice Sculptors Wish For Colder Temperatures

Updated: 01/28/2013 7:11 AM By: Katherine Johnson

As spectators enjoy the recent warm up at the Saint Paul winter carnival, the ice sculptors artists are only squeaking by.

"The temperature is not conducive to freezing blocks together so you really have to get creative," said sculptor Rob Graham.  "You have to allow for breakage which, heaven forbid, but it happens."

Sculptors actually hope for below freezing temperatures in order to get ice to stick together and build the piece.  Sunday morning's temperatures hovered above what the artists really needed.  They might have been the only people in town missing last week's cold snap.

Each piece is personally designed by the artist.  Amateur sculptor Jim Zupfer even proposed to his wife this way.

"It was me down on one knee, and then I made a spot for the ring box to sit and he was holding a rose," he said.

She said yes, and this year he's carving a statue of their seven-year-old son.  But with only one block of ice and a quick deadline, not everything goes as smoothly as Zupfer's proposal.

"The other night we had four dead chainsaws. Frozen up, locked up, broken chains," said Graham.

So they find creative ways to get around all the obstacles hoping to winning enough money to replace the tools that break so they can do it again next year.

The winter carnival has used lake ice in the past but this year the blocks were purchased locally for  between 40 and 80 dollars a pop.  They decided to buy the ice because lake ice can have dirt and even fish frozen in it.