The Top Five Questions We Get Asked

Ice sculpture isn’t exactly a mainstream art form, at least not here in the UK. It’s often the case that people know very little about it and the team often get asked the same questions by those with curious minds. Here are the top five:

1. Don’t you get upset when it melts?
In a word, no. Ice sculpture is dynamic. By its very nature it’s always changing and evolving in unexpected ways. The Hamiltons like to think of sculpture as more of a performance or an odyssey, in which the journey is just as important as the destination. Nothing lasts forever. This transience only adds to its beauty.

As an artist, you have to move on. Picasso spoke of the need for art to belong to the present. Artists working with other media sell their works and never see them again. Is this really so different? You can always take photos to keep a record of what’s been created.

2. What do you use to sculpt the ice?
The team use a huge range of tools. Chainsaws carve the rough shape before hand-made Japanese chisels move in. Then there are smaller die grinders with different heads for the more intricate details. The final stages involve polishing with heated equipment to get the best possible finish.

3. Where does the ice come from?
The team produce their own ice. Vats of very pure water are frozen in extremely controlled conditions to create a variety of effects. Refined techniques are employed to minimise the number of bubbles and fractures that any one block contains. The Hamiltons can also make white and coloured ice.

4. Don’t you get cold?
Anyone who works with ice in temperatures of -20 degrees has to wear protective clothing. You may find it surprising, but you do get used to wearing the gear and dealing with any cold that you do experience.

5. Who do you do sculptures for?
The Hamiltons have sculpted all over the world for celebrities like Justin Timberlake, Beyoncé, Steven Spielberg and Elton John. They’ve also worked with international companies such as: Nike, Honda, Coca Cola, Microsoft, Clavin Klein, MTV, Sky, Chanel, Guinness and many more.

Duncan and Jamie have sculpted on Hollywood film sets for Captain America: The First Avenger and Frankenstein among others. However, it doesn’t stop there. The team aren’t always jet-setting all over the world to carve for the rich and famous. They love to work on public projects and there’s always time for an ice bar…