Driving to and from the New Hampshire Ice Castle was a trial, but working in it was pure pleasure. Dan Beck, the site manager / Master Ice Castle Builder as well as his builders, assistants and worker bees, did a fabulous job. Not only have they had a real winter with cold weather and snow, which is essential for a good Ice Castle, but they have also been blessed with a great land site (mountains and trees in the background), good water quality and a nice big building next door for warming toes. The combination of all these factors has made for, in my opinion, the best Ice Castles to date.
The owners of the Ice Castles have asked us to come to the Ice Castles, near and far, to offer a little artistic twist to empty spaces and to add a little color and/or light to dark niches in the castle walls. For the New Hampshire Ice Castle, we drove from Minnesota so we were able to bring a trailer loaded of icy creations. But we needed more, so we pulled out our tools and started to get things freezing as soon as possible. First, we laid out plastic sheeting and started some Ice Glass and Ice Spire Pools. Then we filled up as many buckets as we could find, and let them freeze solid, so they could be cross cut to make the Stained Ice Glass Windows. We filled Wintercraft Globe Ice Lantern Balloons and put them out to freeze. We hung some dime store balloons (they stretch out) to make teardrop-shaped ice lanterns. Finally, I hung some rubber gloves filled with water to make Ice Hands. By the end of the day we were able to harvest the first of the Ice Glass, and then we went home to sleep!
The second day, we harvested and prepped the rest of the ice, put out the Globe Ice Lanterns we brought with us that had characters frozen inside into their spots in the Ice Castle . . . and then I started to look for sites for Luminary Ice Sculptures. At the crack of dawn on the next day, I started building.
First, I placed the teardrops in a wall - trying to place them in a way that looked like they were had erupted into their spots. I was not planning on lighting them, but wanted them to be a subtle change of pace for the guest during the day and to glow with the light coming from the Ice Castle wall at night.
Second, I carried some tall Ice Glass and Ice Spires to the "Dome Room", which is a room in the corner of the castle has a lighted well in the middle and the ceiling is heavy with masses of ice stalactites. A light shines up from the bottom of the well, so I placed the Ice Glass around the light. The builders' ultimate goal is to have a water fountain come through the ceiling and fall into the hole, so the Ice Glass might melt or become thicker - I will have to wait and hear what happened.
Third, I created two large Ice Glass Sculptures in nooks in the Ice Castle wall. Because the crowds are so large, it is critical to put them in places where people cannot reach, as anything too close or too fragile gets broken or destroyed almost immediately.
Fourth, I worked with Kevin, one of the Ice Castle Builders who is a stone mason in the off season, to create Stained Ice Glass Window. Every once in a while, there is a space in the Ice Castle wall where the sprayers are too far away to work properly. These holes are perfect for a Stained Ice Glass Window. (See first photos as well.) Dan was doubly pleased as this Stained Ice Glass Window filled a hole that used to let guests view the back lot where the workers store their tools. I think I received some good Karma points for that!
What I find spellbinding about the Stained Ice Glass Windows is the dimension that can be see on close inspection of the individual tiles. The air bubbles and pincushion effect is different in every one . . .
I worked all day and did not have the energy to take photos, so most of these photos were taken the next day on a cloudy day after a snowfall. Pretty, but not quite like when they were all lit up the night before. I will have to rely on the kindness of strangers - yes, that's a wait and see strategy.
Humorous Note: As I was preparing to leave, I mentioned to Dan that I hoped that the Ice Castle workers would feel free to use any of the ice we had not managed to use to make more icy creations. He said he would be sure to let them know. Great, I thought. All that ice will not go to waste. Then, I went to the car and realized I had forgotten one of my tools, so I headed back. As I rounded the corner, I saw the Ice Hands get swooped up by two young workers and they started walking toward the Ice Castle with big smiles on their faces. Someday, I hope I get to see a picture of how they were placed and if they scared anyone in the process :)
Enjoy the Glow!
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