Cold and cool, the sculptor drew his lines with precision. Taking the time to make his first cut, he slowly eases the chainsaw into the block. Shards fly into the observant crowd and the children scream with glee.
The sculptor continued cutting into the block as the crowd gathered in Bancroft Park for the 2011 Ice on the Avenue Ice Festival in Old Colorado City, Colo. The festival progressed into the second day.
A chainsaw, a grinder, and a torch, are not the typical tools a sculptor uses, but when working with frozen water, they are more than efficient.
Professional ice sculptor William Sandusky of Colorado Springs, Colo., has been carving ice for over 25 years.
“After I left school (college),” he reminisced, “I got a job at the Ritz Carlton in Boston and became interested in it.”
He says he travels four months out of the year all over the United States. Mostly to the east coast.
“There just seems to be more going on than here (in Colorado),” he says. He added that ice sculptors are somewhat territorial.
“You usually don’t go where other sculptors are working,” he says, “it’s just not right.”
As he continued to carve from the block, the crowd continued to gather. Kids danced in the spray of the ice chips as they snowed down on them. They were as much of a show as the artist himself.
Sandusky uses a chainsaw first to create a rough cast of his creation. Then he implements a grinder to roughly smooth the details. When he is done, he uses a blow torch to melt the surface and create a shine.
Sandusky won 3rd place in the “abstract” category of the 2009 BP World Ice Art Championship in Alaska.
“We used 10 blocks of ice about 4,000 pounds each to carve the Eiffel Tower,” he says, “it was 35 feet tall. One of the biggest I carved. It was a team effort.”
Sandusky is the owner of Frozen Assets Premium Ice Carving out of Colorado Springs and carves ice for all occasions, including weddings and Christmas parties.