By Melissa Wynn
Since the first snowball was made, man has been sculpting snow. From snowmen for fun to igloos for shelter, the artistic possibilities are endless.
A heavy, wetter snow is by far the best for snow sculpting. Fluffy, champagne powder is great for skiing but not for shaping.
The tools of this ancient art are as diverse as the people that use them. Basic round balls are made with gloved hands, rolling a snowball around until it grows to the desired size. Perfect the shape by rubbing the ball until the exterior is smooth. Smoothing and shaping can also be accomplished with paintbrushes and a spray bottle of water, an icy coating also adds shine to your sculpture.
Some snow sculptors start with a mound or block of packed snow to carve out their desired design. Ice saws, chisels, screwdrivers and even butter knives can easily carve snow. Ice picks and metal nail files are great for defining lines and edges. Tools of the wood carving and sheetrock trades easily transfer to the snow medium, expanding the possibilities of pattern and texture.
Bricks and blocks are just a few of the shapes that can be created using a wide variety of molds. From a small plastic pencil box to a huge Tupperware tote, the size is up to you, just fill, pack and dump. Just like Legos, you can build a million things with blocks. Pots, pans, buckets and pitchers add to the endless shape possibilities of molds that we all have in our homes. Cookie cutters, shaped cake pans and jello molds can make mini sculptures or be used to make accents for a much larger piece. If you can dream it, you can sculpt it from snow.
Simply shaping the snow by hand, much like sculpting with clay, is another method for creating an amazing snow sculpture. It is easy to turn a yard filled with freshly fallen snow into an attractive display by simply packing down the snow in some spots and building it up in others. A slightly mounded center surrounded by packed down, petal shapes, quickly becomes a giant flower to add a touch of forgotten spring to your winter yard decor.
Whether you carve, mold, shape or mix them all you can create beautiful art from nature’s winter gift of snow. The infinite possibilities transcend techniques or methods. However you arrange it to suit your vision is okay. If it works for you, it works. Enhance the beauty of the great outdoors, try your hand at sculpting snow.