James Stugart received his first World Ice Art Championships gold medal at the age of 19, making him one of the youngest internationally claimed gold medalist in ice carving. he has been carving ice since 2002. Born and raised in Fairbanks, Alaska, James grew up saturated in the marvels of ice sculptures. His passion for ice carving developed at the age of 17 when he was invited on a high school field trip to try this medium. Discovering he can compete in the competition, he eagerly participated the following year, receiving a bronze medal. In addition to carving ice, James graduated with honors at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks with a degree in mixed media sculpture, animation, and drawing.
How long does it last? Our ice sculptures last around 6-8 hours in 70 degree temperatures. It may melt a little faster outside given the impact of the elements. Sun and wind is ice's greatest enemy in any temperature. The UV rays that the sun emits burn traveling bubbles through the ice, increasing in density over long exposure. This is called sunburn and in extreme cases the ice will become very brittle and crumble like safety glass. Wind quickly erodes the surface of all detail, giving the ice a flawlessly polished ice blob. Choose a shaded area for your sculpture and do not place a fan on the ice to help cool it off. How is your ice so clear? We make our ice blocks using a Clinebell Ice Block Maker. We add circulating pumps in the water that circulate the air out of the ice while freezing to create a blocks of crystal clear clarity. It takes us about 4 days to freeze an ice block, with careful daily monitoring to ensure good quality. How do you carve ice? Most wood working tools work well on ice. However, many special tools are created just for ice. The most common tools are chainsaws, chisels, and die grinders with special bits. Here at ICEovation, we use chainsaws with custom made bars with specially sharpened chains, custom made chisels for unique textures, custom made die grinder bits, angle grinders, custom rasps to flatten large surfaces and sand paper to polish. We take good care to ensure a quality made piece of art. How is it working with ice? Ice is an extremely unique material. Considered a rock with an extremely low melting temperature, it handles like stone. However, you cut and carve it like wood. Some of the techniques used on ice, such as fusing and polishing, are actually similar to metal soldering or working with acrylic glass. Structurally, ice is amazingly strong, however it is very brittle. It is both a joy and a headache to work with, because the smallest tap can break off more than intended or destroy the piece. Why ice? Ice is perhaps one of the oldest materials, yet one of the most contemporary art mediums today. Perhaps owing to it's impermanence, it has not been given serious attention from hyper-creatives. Unlike wood, clay, stone, and metal, that has been worked with for thousands of years and with a multitude of techniques, styles and methods introduced, ice is still a premature medium, welcoming a field of experimentation to reach its full potential. Ice requires a unique skill set. Ice artists need to be strong but gentle, fast but patient. They must be dexterous, attentive, crafty, and be willing to hold on loosely to a temporal beauty. Ice melts, is that a heart breaker? Ice is like a child. With its temperamental nature triggered by external surrounding, it requires a lot of understanding and tolerance. The greatest joy of working with ice comes from the process, the excitement of designing, to the grit of execution, and the stress of moving it into place. But once all is done, you step back and admire all your hard work, setting it free to age in the world that you brought it into. Sadness does come in when a photo isn't taken or doesn't come out well.
James Stugart (503)319-2234 firstname.lastname@example.org