The London Ice Sculpture Festival was on at Canary Wharf during the weekend of 12th January. My friend and I headed down to the wharf to look at the ice sculptures and have a fun day out. We booked ourselves in for the ice sculpting Masterclass at Cabot place and headed to Nandos for lunch while we waited for our class to begin. This needed up being a bad idea as it took a while to order and wait for our food, which left only 20 minutes to chow done a big platter of piping hot food!
We headed over to the counter at 1:20 where the lady told us to pick a spot at the centre table. There were many blocks of ice half-chiseled. The teachers told to carve the small ice block into the shape of a polar bear following the image on the card using the small chisel in front and using a light but forceful shaving technique. The ‘sculptors’ before us had already given the block of ice a form and the starting points for the shape of our polar bear. I had noticed that the head was already defined and there was a relatively noticeable bump on the polar bear where it was rounded off from his back into his round bum. There were small archways at the bottom for his legs which I helped chisel and carve away to make a small cave. I found it hard to manoeuvre around the block of ice upright; it was very hard to create archways and shave off certain parts of the ice with limited tools. My friend was frantically smoothing his hump and creating a more in depth back for our lovely polar bear, where I was slowly shaping his legs and feet. However I chiseled too much and his front left leg fell off! We were both so sad and I wanted to re-freeze the lil polar bear so that his foot would stick back on…
After 10ish minutes, the bear was still not complete and we were told to leave our stations. I managed to take a few photos with our unfinished bear.
We went to Wood wharf after and found the entrance, also the exit, blocked from people trying to get in and out! The place was manic and there wasn’t an organised system in place. After a good while waiting to get in, the security guards came to save the day and tried to let everyone out. Though it took them a lot of effort to urge people to stand back and let others through. Once the blockage of people were off the bridge it was free for people to enter. The guards managed to input a system that allowed a one-way system where a batch of people could walk across the bridge that would alternate every 5 minutes; there were queues forming but at least there was a system in place. I didn’t understand why they hadn’t in the first place. I would have anticipated there would be a hoard of people and certain procedures and precautions should have been put in place before the opening of the event!
Nevertheless, we managed to get into the ice sculpting area and saw all 22 teams participating in the speed sculpting competition. There were many intricate pieces that were being judged on the theme “infinity”. Many of the sculptures were very abstract and it needed explanation. However I thought the process from start to finish was interesting to watch. To be able to judge and saw, chisel and shave away the ice in an instant and perfection is an art and mind-blowing skill (I thought the polar bear sculpturing was long!)
There was also a lot of food stalls in the area and the aroma was too good. The weather wasn’t very nice as it was windy and cold. I really regretted not wearing my winter snood I bought in winter wonderland since the hood would have covered my head and ears, then the excess material at the front would have protected my face. Why did I not wear it?!
We didn’t stay to hear the announcement of the winner because we were almost frozen and wanted to take our delicious treats home to eat. It was so nice when warmed up. The lemon cake was amazing! I really love desserts. Can’t live without them!
Which of the ice sculptures do you like most?