Ice festival in Wood Wharf was biggest to date

By Beth Allcock on January 14, 2013 3:53 PM |

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Majestic sculptures depicting the wonders of the universe through the glistening medium of ice delighted crowds at Wood Wharf this weekend.

Teams from across the globe spent hours chipping, carving and manning chainsaws to compete for three accolades in this years London Ice Sculpting Festival.

The three-day event, which started last Friday, has been branded the "biggest festival to date" and the British team gave visitors an extra reason to cheer when they were crowned champions of this year's challenge.

The pairing of Piers Griffin and Jonathan Lloyd used a two-metre block of ice to design a sculpture of Icarus inspired by skydiver Felix Baumgartner, whose recent feat involved jumping 39 kilometres while reaching an estimated speed of 1,342 kilometres per hour.

The title has rounded off a clean sweep for the duo, who last year secured first prize in both the singles competition and public vote.

Piers said: "We used to do sculpting commercially but now it's just a bit of fun.

"The public are very enthused by it all - they are asking questions and we try to give them answers as much as possible.

"It's fantastic to have won, there are a lot of really talented competitors so it came as a surprise.

"We are very honoured."

Jonathan, who has since swapped the chainsaw for the brush and easel, added: "We used to do it all the time commercially but sooner or later, you want to get out of the freezer."

In the speed sculpting singles challenge, centred on the theme of Infinity, Americans Reverend Butter and Buddy Rasmussen came out top with their design, while visitors backed Swedish sculptor Peter Soring for the public choice award.

But it wasn't just the professionals who had their chance to shine, with the show offering chances for those young and old to get in on the fun.

Chef Wiltold Borowski chipped away at detailing on a penguin shape during a 15 minute masterclass.

"I made the face, the eye and the sides of its legs," he said, as the creation attracted the attention of the crowds.

"If you're a chef, you have to do things with your imagination like this.

"I want to do more and I think it's pretty good."

And the festival may have been a starting point for the next generation of sculpting success as five-year-old Anna Sorenson made her mark on the ice wall.

Mum Nora said: "The idea of the wall is brilliant - they see the sculptures and they would think to do the same.

"In Anna's head, she is as skillfull as the rest.

"It's our first time here and she was very keen to do the masterclass but it's only for 12-year-olds and older so she has to wait.

"But it's amazing, usually if things are too hard she gives up but she's finding it OK.

"She insisted on it, she took my tool and I'm just waiting for her to finish, the master at work."

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