Ice sculpture is different

Ice sculpture is different to other forms of sculpture. Many ice sculptors begin their careers working with other materials, later moving on to ice because they are better placed to handle its very particular requirements. It’s important to remember that the nature of a material dictates the environment in which you sculpt. It also dictates how you sculpt.

Ice sculpture is different to clay

With most forms of sculpture, such as clay, it doesn’t matter quite so much where you decide to sculpt. You could pick almost any room and get going. However, ice needs to be sculpted at -20 degrees so that it doesn’t melt, which means that everything has to be done in a huge freezer and all sculptors have to wear protective clothing in order to do it. It’s not really something you can just do. It takes a lot of preparation, so you have to be committed.

Ice sculpture is different to butter

The Hamiltons have made sculptures from all kinds of materials, including: clay, ceramics, steel, sand, soap, pumpkins and even butter. With most of these materials it’s possible to mould and sculpt with your bare hands. With ice ‘carving’, nothing but the sharpest tools will do. Unwanted fractures have to be avoided at all costs because ultimately, ice sculpture is reductive. There may be occasions when you can repair a small crack, but if you want to add anything, it’s not like butter or clay where you can just slap another bit on.

Want to give it a go?

The team run ice carving masterclasses at their studio in London, so there’s no excuse not to try it for yourself. The classes are always fun and it doesn’t matter if you’re not ‘arty’. You’ll always make something you can be proud of. Get more details here.

Check out sculptures in other materials here.