Northampton Ice Festival

This has been an interesting experience. I was invited to carve a huge block of ice for the Northampton Ice Art Festival. I was thankful, excited, nervous. I’ve never done anything like that; I’m not a 3D kinda guy, certainly not a carver. They offered me a chainsaw, which, to this city boy, is a tool only used on zombies. A reporter from a local paper interviewed me, and I said foolish and enthusiastic things. Sculptor/woodworker Peter Dellert gave me great advice and loaned me an awesome set of tools. I had a prime spot on Main street in downtown Northampton, between (and sponsored by) William Baczek Gallery and DMG Gallery— very public, so my incompetence and earnestness were on full display. Yesterday came and it was COLD, killing cold. I piled on the layers and set to work on my 40″ x 20″ x 12″ block of ice. It only took a few minutes of hitting that ice with chisels and a power angle grinder before I was having a great time, and I felt more and more confident. Six hours later, and my ice sculpture was done: a dragon. Passers-by said nice things and I finished the day feeling accomplished. The weekend was going to continue to be very cold, though mid-week, it would get warm…so I knew this was a temporary work, and part of its magic was that it was ephemeral. This morning, though, I found out that some…person…decided to end my sculpture even sooner. Only a few hours after I’d finished it, had my celebratory beers at the Dirty Truth, and collapsed in bed, the dragon was pushed over to smash into pieces on the sidewalk. Thankfully, I have a number of photos of the work in progress and when it was done. Thankfully I have the memory of people (especially a couple of kids, smaller than the dragon) enjoying it. Thankfully, this always was about the process, about tackling something new, and embracing the challenge in a public, exposed, lower-your-expectations-folks way. On those levels, it was a success, and I am grateful to have been given the opportunity. I’d sure love a few minutes alone with the person who killed my dragon, though.

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