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Jennifer’s passion for ice luminaries
Jennifer Shea Hedberg “The Ice Wrangler”
For three decades artist Jennifer Shea Hedberg and her family have been creating globe ice lanterns—magical, glacial candle-holders—all year ‘round. Friends marvel at these spherical shells of ice, the center of which glows with radiant flame. Time and experimentation have honed their ice lantern-making skills and now their icy creations have been featured many events including the 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014 John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon, the 2008, 2009, 2010 & 2015 City of Lakes Luminary Loppet (the 2010 Enchanted Forest a personal highlight), the 2011 Habitat for Humanity Ice Home, the 2010 and 2011 Wisconsin State Snow Sculpting Competition, “Good Morning Northland,” the 2010 Linden Hills Reindeer Days and Holiday Lights, the Ice Castles in MN and NH, as well as political rallies, corporate gatherings, weddings, and private parties celebrating everything from the Winter Solstice to the Fourth of July. Jennifer recently released a book, Ice Luminary Magic, to share many of the techniques she has developed over years of experimentation and artistic exploration. Ice Luminary Magic is filled with over 500 photos and illustrations making it perfect not only for your personal "ice lab", but also for your coffee table.
is centered around her belief that ice lanterns
are born from a true marriage of art and science.
As a child she was raised under the Southern California sun, swimming in the ocean and tide pooling along the coast, but as a teen she was introduced to the chilly Minnesota winters and needed to find a way to cope with the cold, dark days and nights. Head on was the answer. Finding the beauty in it was the goal. A tree covered in crystals after an ice storm was an easy find. But looking deeper and listening earlier and she discovered the melodies of ice chimes that can be heard on early Spring mornings around the lake; the crystal clarity of a very cold sunny day; the whale call of lake ice as it groans and shifts underfoot; or finally creating beautiful ice lanterns and lighting them on a city trail to surprise and delight joggers and walkers as they pass by. Magically, the cold winter days and nights started becoming something … to anticipate. Could it be so?
“Am I a science teacher?”
Jennifer believes an ice lantern is a gift of nature and the how-to’s can be found in basic science. So much so that children attending her workshops often ask, “Are you a science teacher?” “I wish, but noooooo!,” she responds. “I am the daughter, niece and granddaughter of teachers, inventors and artisans. As I was growing up, my mother met almost every challenge with,‘there has to be a better way to do this’. Then she gave me free reign to explore my own creativity.”
Jennifer’s mother, Frances Shea, introduced the concept of making ice lanterns in buckets, bowls and balloons. Through the years, they played around with the idea and tried to “make it better.” As a young adult, Jennifer discovered the heavy-duty balloons and started to experiment with different types of freezing bases in an effort to take it to the next level — consistently round and beautiful.
So when her kids came along, she had an unusual trick up her sleeve to add even more magic into their young lives around the Holidays. Time marches on and globe ice lanterns continue to be lit for homecomings and celebrations, and sun-etched beauties are still put in bedrooms as ethereal night lights.
A science teacher, nope. A wizened globe Ice lantern enthusiast, absolutely!
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