Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Colorado's Cool Carving Competition Commences

The Budweiser International Snow Sculpture Championships are held in Breckenridge, Colorado every year. The first internal competition in the town was in 1991 so this year mark's the town's 21st competition.

The competition allows only hand tools to touch the 10x10x12 blocks of snow (yes, that's feet) that weigh in at 20 tons. The competition starts today with 5 person teams coming from Russia, China, Japan, Morocco, Belize, Finland, France, New Zealand, Switzerland, Sweden, Mexico, Great Britain, Spain, Bulgaria and Canada and of course, the United States. This year 8 countries are represented by the 15 teams with the US boasting 4 different teams all competing for medals and ribbons--but no cash. Sculptors do it for the fun of it and love to have you come enjoy the process and the results.

The teams have five days (65 hours total) to create their masterpieces. After that a panel of artist judges will find a favorite on the basis of theme, style and technique. At the awards ceremony on Sunday (at 3:30pm), the sculptors will also learn which team has been selected as People's Choice, Kids' Choice and Artists' Choice. People vote with $1 donations, with the money going to help support the event.

Some years the works are melting by the time the weekend comes, but this year it looks like the temperatures will be cool enough to preserve the work. Mother Nature permitting, the sculptures will remain on display until the evening of Sunday Feb. 6.

Organizers suggest visitors come before then and watch the pieces evolve--which is a lot of fun. It is hard to see what they are doing at first, but then suddenly the work reveals itself. Very cool...no pun intended. Friday night Jan 28 ought to be a really fun night since it is frequently an "all nighter" for the artists as they put on the finishing touches before they judging on Saturday the 29th which begins at 10:00am.

Many of the sculptors who participate in snow sculpting also work in other materials other times of the year. Loveland sculptor Jack Kreutzer is a stone sculptor and one of the founders of the Sculpture in the Park show every summer (this summer will be the 28th annual event.)

Learn more about the snow sculpting competition including the best parking spots and some photos from past events. The venue is at the Riverwalk area (see map) and there are shuttles from other parts of town.

Check out more photos, information and even videos of past events.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Yule Marble Quarry Reopens with Italian Ties

Good news for lovers of the beautiful white stuff from Colorado called Yule Marble (yes we have beautiful white stuff that is not snow!) After being closed for 10 months the quarry is reopening under new ownership.

Read the Denver Post article.

It seems that Colorado Marble and Carrara Marble are now linked: the new owner is from Carrara, Italy!

I'm actually working on a small piece of snow white Yule Marble right now, so I was pleased to hear this news.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Stone Sculptor Works in Limestone and Marble

Local sculptor Gene Milway took art lessons in high school, but like most of us pursued other ways to make a living. About 40 years ago Gene first started sculpting using clay.

Now Gene carves in limestone and in marble--Yule marble from here in Colorado and Carrara marble from Italy.

He has attended the popular Marble Marble symposium five times. This symposium is organized by another local sculptor, Madeline Wiener, and it takes place in Marble, Colorado near Aspen every summer.

Gene has also spent 3 weeks in Italy near the famous Carrara marble quarry.

I have met Gene and his lovely wife, Gaea. While I was at their home, Gene showed me his pieces and was very generous with his time telling and showing me a variety of tools he uses in his studio at home.

Gene's work is often displayed in Fort Collins' Lincoln Center, and the sculpture shows in Loveland: Sculpture in the Park and the Loveland Sculpture Invitational.