The Year of the Flower

Jennifer Shea Hedberg | 03 February, 2020

young family on ice throne

This young family was the first to pose for a photo while sitting on the brand new Floral Ice Throne I designed and built for the MN Ice Castles. I know you're probably thinking, why are there flowers in the ice? The story goes like this . . .

First, the MN Landscape Arboretum hired me to install an ice luminary display as part of their 2019-20 Winter Lights event. The wise folks at the Arb let me go into their amazing gardens during warmer months and "cut floral samples" (except trees!) and freeze them into tall ice luminaries to be displayed at their Winter Lights event! The blog about that amazing adventure can be found here: Serendipity at the MN Landscape Arboretum

Close up of Floral Bucket Ice Lantern at the MN Landscape Arboretum's 2019-20 Winter Lights event Wintercraft Ice Wrangler

The event was to last 7 weeks, so I made a bunch of flower towers in case I needed to replace some each week. Well, the sun protection system dreamed up by my team and I worked very well and we only had to replace a few, so that meant I had a lot of Floral Bucket Ice Lanterns that could be used other places. 

Ice Luminary Magic - The Ice Wrangler's Guide to Making Illuminated Ice Creations(Floral Bucket Ice Lanterns and projects involving building with ice of all shapes and sizes are found in my book, Ice Luminary Magic.)

So, I sold a few for private installations (sorry, no pics yet), and I used a few at the European Christmas Market in Saint Paul, MN, . . .

Floral Tower at the 2020 European Christmas Market Wintercraft Ice Wrangler

. . . and I just finished an ice bar for a private event in which I fused together seven of the Floral Bucket Ice Lanterns to make a very festive greeting spot. 

Floral Ice Bar Wintercraft Ice Wrangler

Add a few ice shot glasses and some of the good stuff, and this ice bar was rockin'.

Close up of the Floral Ice Bar in use Wintercraft Ice Wrangler

I put my favorite of the floral towers on top of the bar so it could really shine. The bright white LED lights sparkled through the beautifully translucent pink cosmos and caused the fuzzy grass stalks to become silhouetted.

The top Floral Bucket Ice Lantern filled with Cosmos Wintercraft Ice Wrangler

But, I still had quite a few Floral Bucket Ice Lanterns left, so I decided to use 10 of them for my largest installation of the season. For several years now, I have built huge ice thrones for the Ice Castles--a company that builds ginormous ice structures and lights them up with fabulous light displays. Each year, I try something a little different.This year, the Minnesota Ice Castles is located in New Brighton and its ice throne just happens to be filled with FLOWERS! Lit with white LED lights to contrast against the colored wall of ice behind it, the floral ice lanterns look great! And I really appreciated, as always, the help from the Ice Castles crew. They lift and build with ice every day, so they are primed for this sort work and do it well!

One night while we were working after the castle had opened to the public, a woman named Jill Bauer walked by and snapped some great photos . . .

Ice Castle builder Ryan Sinz and I loaded the globes with LED lights before putting them on top of the Floral Bucket Ice Lantern Towers - near . . .

ryan and jen

. . . and far.

Ryan using weed burner to smooth ice

Ryan used a "weed burner" to smooth some ice after it was installed.

Ryan with weed burner close up

Close up of the weed burner in action!

The behind-the-scenes can look pretty chaotic at times, . . .

The behind the scenes

lit ice throne

. . . but after the last piece of ice has been positioned, locked into place and cleaned with a torch, then the lights go on and the magic starts. People come in and delight in the beauty and enormity of the Ice Castle, and hopefully, they find the ice throne and have a seat--smiling from ear to ear!

Because, that's the best part . . .

smiling faces

I was thrilled that someone offered to take my picture with the finished throne the night we finished! 

Jen on ice throne

I recommend heading out there - a word from the wise - if you can, go on a week day when it's not quite as crowded and also go when it is below freezing. The cold temps make the ice sparkle! Make sure to purchase tickets ahead of time online on the Ice Castles website - you'll save a bit and be assured of entry.

Make sure to send me a photo when you sit on the Floral Ice Throne. I'd love to see your smiling face!

Enjoy the Glow!

-- Jennifer Shea Hedberg, The Ice Wrangler


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