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Day 4 at Ice Art Park

Published in Ralph Bolt's Blog
26 February 2014
2-27-14  Plus 14 degrees Fahrenheit
The xylophone construction progresses well.  I had hoped to make the keys a bit more sturdy than the original version of four years ago. The instrument will be unattended at times.  But the heavier the key, it seems the more muted the tone. I can get a nice sustained ring from thinner and narrower keys but the thicker ones don't seem to vibrate as long.  Seems intuitive, I guess, and I'm sure some acoustic expert could explain the physics.  But I'll make them thinner and musical and see if it holds up.  Ice is very forgiving.  Make a mistake or break it and simply pick up another piece and try again.  We seem to have plenty of it around.
The bell sounded last night at 9 and the Single Block carving stopped.  The judges did their work overnight and awards were handed out tonight.  I did not attend the award ceremony so will have to way until tomorrow to know the winners.  I have my opinions but I've been too wrong too often to publish them.
One sculpture collapsed in its very last stages of construction so that one is out of the running.  I haven't determined yet which one it was.  Perhaps one of your sharp eyes will notice it's absence in this round of photos.  I took these at about 2 PM do you'll have a clean view of the sculptures in daylight.  Tomorrow evening, I'll make a round and get them under colored lights.
The aurora forecast for last night was pretty good so I went out to have a look.  Stayed until just after 11 but all was quiet.  I'll check again tonight as a recent CME is shooting some energy our way and should produce aurora.
More later.
Ralph Bolt

Day 3 at Ice Art Park

Published in Ralph Bolt's Blog
25 February 2014
2-26-14  Minus 15 degrees Fahrenheit
The bell will ring on the Single Block competition tonight at 9.  Then the judges will begin their rounds and likely work until the early morning.  White lights will have been placed on all the sculptures to equalize their presentation and after the judging, we'll place colored lights for more dramatic public viewing.  Part of the sculptors' responsibility is to have the site clean of scrap ice and debris so the judges and public have an uncluttered view.
When I made my rounds today there were just 6 hours or so left in the competition.  A few sculptors were finished with their pieces but most were still working.  One or two appeared to have given up as little new work seems to have been done in the last 24 hours.  Each year it seems there are new sculptors who probably thought prospectively that the competition looked like a fun experience but didn't realize the magnitude of the job and the quality of the competing artists until they were faced with the 7000 pound block of ice.
There are many wonderful sculptures and it looks like the judges will have a tough job identifying the best of this top-notch field.
Xylophone Progress
Stan Zelienski and Carl Lundgren had a big stack of ice blanks cut for me and assembled on one of their work tables by the chapel dome.  I hauled them all over to my work area and will begin the fine cutting and tuning tomorrow.  Pics will come then.  For now, here are some pics of the nearly complete Single Block sculptures.
More later.
Ralph Bolt

Day 2 at Ice Art Park

Published in Ralph Bolt's Blog
24 February 2014

2-25-14  Minus 23 degrees-Fahrenheit

I started work on my ice xylophone today.  Alan Armbruster located a good used Craftsman band saw and after putting a new blade on it, found that it does a great job cutting ice.  Stan Zelienski at the chapel dome is cutting ice blanks for me with his well-built ice-cutting table.  I take the blanks to the other side of the park to a cold building where I can set up lights and have the bandsaw.  The keys will be about 1-1/4 inches thick by 2 inches wide and will range from around 22 inches to 5 or 6 inches in length, depending on the musical pitch.  I have a pitch pipe on my iPhone so I can tune the keys fairly easily and quite accurately, at least as far as my ear will allow.  At the moment, I'm cutting the keys into 22-inch lengths and will begin the tuning process when I have enough to complete the instrument--probably tomorrow or Thursday.  And I have to make the mallets with which to bonk the keys.

At noon I snapped a pic of the united nations lunch room.  Walking through one hears Chinese, Mongolian, Russian, Japanese, a couple European languages, English, and,... Alaskan.  It's quite an experience.

Around 2pm I walked through the sculpting area and again snapped pics in the same sequence as yesterday.  The progress in just 24 hours is quite impressive.  At the time of the walk-through, the artists had about thirty hours left on the clock.  Some will need every minute.  A few might not finish.  Most will have a bit of time to spare.  At any rate, tomorrow evening at 9pm, it's all over for the Single-Block.  I'll make another run through tomorrow at around noon.

More later.
Ralph Bolt