Carving out an icy niche

Posted: Wednesday, February 06, 2008

 

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  Rob Younkins and Eric Shumar with their Angel in Ice entry in the State Championship Ice Carving Competition at the Soldotna Sports Center.

Steve Curtis and Derrick Stanton with their 1st Place ice carving of a giant Coy.

As the sun sparkled through the ice carvers crystalline creations at the State Championship Ice Carving Competition during last week’s Peninsula Winter Games, the artists and visitors once again agreed and it was the work of Steve Curtis and Derrick Stanton that was selected for both the 1st Place honors and the People’s Choice award. Traditionally it’s the carvers who select the top three pieces of ice sculpture in the competition and spectators cast their votes for the People’s Choice Award. The carvers tend to look more precisely at the detail, technique, and difficulty of the sculpture and some aspects that a casual observer might not see, explained former first place winner and internationally renowned Sterling chainsaw carver Scott Hanson.

 

Rob Younkins and Eric Shumar with their Angel in Ice entry in the State Championship Ice Carving Competition at the Soldotna Sports Center.

“I think this was the most incredible and creative selection of ice art that we have ever seen during the Peninsula Winter Games,” commented Norm Blakeley, one of the creators of the event. The winning piece by Curtis and Stanton was a giant Coy fish. Past winners of the competition Ben and Aurora Firth of Anchor Point this year carved a complex piece of a fox leaping to catch a ptarmigan, “We started with a concept, then created a rough sketch, which I turned over to Aurora and she refined the composition with photographs and actually designed the piece. We’re really happy to participate in this competition, to be part of the art community and to enjoy the work of all the other carvers and artists here on the Peninsula,” said Ben. Aurora has been selected Best of Show for the State of Alaska in the National Duck Stamp competition for four years, most recently for her stamp depicting a pair of Hooded Mergansers, “I enter the junior division of the federal competition, my dad told me about it and I only had 2 weeks to create a piece the first year I entered, that was in 2001 and since then six of my siblings have all placed in the competition,” said Aurora. The Firth’s are a family of nine that support themselves with their art work from their studio at mile 161 of the Sterling Highway between Anchor Point and Homer. You can see other examples of the Firth’s art at their website by going to www.benfirthstudio.com. Ben and Aurora’s Fox catching a Ptarmigan placed second in this year’s Ice Carving Championship and Speareo Stephens took third place money. All twelve entries plus other ice sculptures are still in great condition and worth seeing repeatedly as they slowly weather at the Soldotna Sports Center.



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