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25 Oct 2012
While there may not be snow everywhere, it is becoming clearer that the days are getting shorter, and the temperature is dropping. Winter will be here soon, and with that comes the holiday season. Many families will be looking to take a winter break, and for many people that involves taking a vacation to Orlando, Florida to escape the snow for their holidays. However just because you might want to escape the cold doesn’t mean that you have to completely avoid snow and ice. In fact, you might be surprised to learn that warm and sunny Orlando has some of the coolest attractions around, literally; your family can see beautiful ice sculpture and snow sculpture.

For some people, ice might just be what you add to a drink to make it cold, but for a number of dedicated artists, ice can be used to create a beautiful and exquisite ice sculpture. Working with ice is a lot different than working with another artistic media like clay or even stone. Ice is the frozen state of water, and in a warm environment like Orlando ice does not last for very long. Depending on the temperature of the environment and the size, an ice sculpture could last as little as a few minutes or as long as a few months.

To create a sculpture from ice, an artist will usually work with a giant block of ice. The process of how the water was frozen to create the ice, and the type of water that was used (the purity of the water) will influence the appearance and clarity of the ice. Dye can be added to the ice to create colored ice. The block of ice that is used can start off weighing hundreds of pounds or more depending on the size of the ice sculpture being created. The artist will usually start using a large tool like a chain saw to cut away giant pieces of ice, eventually revealing a rough shape of the intended statue. Sometimes computerized machines may be used to create a logo onto an ice sculpture. Molds are also commonly used to make sculptures. Using a mold also allows for more precision in the creation of the sculpture.

After the main shape is created the artist will continue to saw, chip and cut away at the piece refining it to reveal more details in the carving. The artist might use a smaller saw, like a hand saw, as well as various chisels to chip away at the ice. Refining tools would also be used to add the final polishing touches on the ice sculpture.

The sculpture could range from a whimsical and artistic design to a fully functional item like a slide or even a building.  To preserve the ice sculpture, it should be kept in a cold environment with the temperature around 23 degrees Fahrenheit to allow the ice to retain its beautiful shape for several months. Beating the heat in Orlando has never been cooler.

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