Do you like art? Many children feel the urge to create their own masterpieces from time to time.

When you feel creative, what do you reach for? Crayons? A paint brush? A ball of clay?

You probably don’t reach for a chainsaw and a huge block of ice. But believe it or not, that’s exactly what some artists do!

Ice sculptors use chainsaws and special chisels to sculpt works of art made out of large blocks of ice. Unfortunately, unless they’re refrigerated, ice sculptures have a limited lifespan.

For this reason, they’re usually created for special events, including weddings and fancy parties. Large restaurants and cruise ships also often feature ice sculptures on buffet tables or as part of decorative food displays.

Large blocks of crystal-clear carving ice are usually created with special machines. White ice blocks that look like snow are also used from time to time.

Artificial dyes are sometimes used to create colored ice blocks for special effects. Machine-made ice blocks aren’t the only source of carving ice, though.

In very cold areas, large blocks of ice can be removed by heavy machinery from frozen rivers, lakes and ponds. Frozen bodies of water used for harvesting ice carving blocks are sometimes called “ice quarries.”

Would you like to learn how to sculpt ice? If so, you might be surprised to learn that this particular art form is usually taught in culinary (cooking) schools, not art schools!

Since ice sculptures are used so often in conjunction with food and celebrations, culinary schools teach the skill. Art schools typically stick to sculpting materials that last longer, such as stone and metal.

If you’re interested in sculpting in nontraditional ways, there’s another form of sculpture you might want to check out: butter sculpture! Butter sculptures date back to the 7th century in Tibet.

They became popular as an art form in the late 19th century in the United States. Today, butter sculptures — especially “butter cows” — are still popular attractions at state fairs.

John K. Daniels made the first “butter cow” for the 1911 Iowa State Fair. Norma “Duffy” Lyon, also known as “The Butter Cow Lady,” took butter sculpture to a new level, creating likenesses of John Wayne, Elvis Presley and The Last Supper out of nothing but butter.

A typical “butter cow” is made by layering butter on a frame built of wood or wire. Smaller amounts of butter are then used to create fine details.

An average “butter cow” requires 500 to 600 pounds of butter, which is equivalent to about 2,400 sticks or enough butter for 42,000 cookies!


Wonder What's Next?

Join us in Wonderopolis tomorrow to see what kind of art the sea can make!