ice carving tips galore

Serious reverence ripples through the demonstration in this video. How would you carve a block of ice with a chainsaw?

Note the pristine, artificially created ice (river ice and other “wild” ice contains air bubbles and other variations of opacity).

This video’s original home is This information-drenched site is run by an ice sculptor named Dawson List (not joking – I had to read that twice to see if I was skimming past a Dawson City connection). List has been working as an ice sculptor full time for more than 13 years, and he seems to tend the site with a lot of care, both creating a blog about ice carving he loves and also providing an incredible number of resources for ice carvers at all levels of experience.

Here’s one of the impressive pictures that caught my eye:

A version of this crocodile head was ordered as a strawberry-holder for the set of the movie All the King’s Men in 2006 – apparently I’m not the only one who finds these teeth alluring (how does he carve it without them splintering off?!).

The other thing that strikes me about this croc (and the site generally) is the willingness for the knowledge to be “open source” – there are drawings, diagrams, tips on how to weld metal into your ice block if you need that structure – too much for me to list here, but I’m enjoying it as an example of how information-sharing adds to a craft, instead of people protecting their trade secrets in a way that stops knowledge from expanding.

Rant complete. More pix to see. Have a look around the site and, mixed among the many aesthetically Hallmark-card-inspired angels, hearts and cheery beasties, you’ll find wonders like this double-helix spiral by Dawson List and David Fong at the 2009 World Ice Art Championships in Fairbanks, earning 6th place (photo Patrick Endres, Alaska Photo Graphics).

It all makes me wish I could attend the World Ice Art Championships when it opens in Fairbanks, Alaska this weekend, February 20. Anyone driving from Whitehorse to Fairbanks in the next couple of weeks? I promise I won’t bite.

2 thoughts on “ice carving tips galore”

  1. I happened upon your blog entry and I really appreciated your article! I also wanted to add a couple things about the double helix sculpture pictured. The sculpture was done by myself and David Fong at the 2009 World Ice Art Championships in Fairbanks. We earned 6th place with that piece. (The photo was taken by Patrick Endres of Alaska Photo Graphics) One unusual aspect of that sculpture: once it was finished, parts of the sculpture began to BEND with one part moving about an inch an hour! The sculpture collapsed only a day or two after completion because somebody was touching it while trying to get a photo; it was very delicate. Thanks again!


    1. hey, that’s awesome to have more details – 6th place at Fairbanks, the fest i’m dying to go to! also cool to know how the piece found its natural ending, with bending ice & all. and glad you found & enjoyed the blog!


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