A Manx sculptor is preparing to take part in a major international arts competition this month.
Darren Jackson is making preparations to fly out to Finland to take part in the 2017 Ice Carving Championships.
He and a partner will compete alongside 11 other groups to create a huge sculpture from raw blocks of ice in the competition, whjich gets under way on February 13.
The competition is held in the picturesque village of LeppÃ¤virta, which , according to Darren, is ’right up in the sticks of Northern Finland’, six hours travel away from the capital Helsinki.
To qualify for the championships, which allows only 12 pairs to compete, Darren and his fellow ice carver, Londoner Neil Smith had to submit plans and designs for their own creation, which had to feature the theme ’Togetherness’, which ties in with Finland’s celebrations of Independence, held throughout 2017.
Darren and Neil’s creation goes with the title ’WithinA Tree.’
’We’ve designed something around a brown bear, which is the national symbol of Finland,’ said Darren. ’We have designed this large bear figure to be sort of wrapped around around a tree’.
’We are going to include a slide into it as well,’ he said. ’Part of the brief is to have something that kids can play on and use, so it’s going to have a slide running around it.’
He will have to wrap up and work outside in temperatures which will reach minus 10 degrees to create the piece, which, when completed, will stand at over four meters tall.
His efforts will be worth it should he succeed, as the first prize is 4,500 euros.
’You are given around 30 blocks of ice, and each one measures 50 by 50 by 1 m,’ he said.
’It works out as about seven tons of ice. Plus we’ll have to pile a massive load of snow up around it.
’We get there on the 12th, and the competition starts on the 13th.
’The competition goes on for five days, and we have 48 hours within that time to make your sculpture.
’It’s going to be a long, hard week.’
Darren is an experienced ice sculptor, and has been involved in making many ice carvings on the island, most notably for the christmas decorations in Strand Street, Douglas.
He has also been involved with making sculptures, including the enormous Magical Ice Kingdom for the WinterWonderland Christmas extravaganza, in Hyde Park, London.
’Working with ice is very theraputic,’ he said . ’Its a good material to carve. It’s a fast, speedy thing to work with. And you only need basic DIY tools, like a chainsaw, chisel, grinders, things like that. You can get stuck into it and work very quickly.
’It’s very satisfying.’