Sunday, 16 January 2011

10 minutes on the Couch with……. Carol Cordrey, founder of the London Ice Sculpture Festival.

I made my way over to Canary Wharf to interview Carol and I must say I do find Canary Wharf a bit of a maze and it was a case of trying to find a needle amongst a mass of skyscrapers. I did at one point think that this lone van, was the nearest I was going to get to any ice and that I may have to call Carol to conduct a telephone interview. 

But thankfully I found I found the location and I found Carol and she not only gave me 10 minutes on the couch, but also a scrummy chocolate brownie (I’m easily bought!) 

What made you start this great festival?

I had a eureka moment whist on a skiing holiday in Switzerland, during day 2 I injured my knee and had to swap my pools for crutches. My husband took pity on me and took me for the day to the next village, Gindelwand, as I was hobbling around, I can across a 3 meter high ice sculpture, a beauty which was captivating, invigorating and exciting and decided there and then that I wanted to bring this concept to the UK. Obviously it is a lot harder as there isn’t any snow or ice in the UK and it took my 2 years to find the Ice Box company, Europe’s leading ice specialists and the owner Philip Hughes, who thankfully shared the same vision as me.
This festival is now in its third year and for the last 2 years it has been held at Canary Wharf, we are a charity and we have receive great support from the Canary Wharf Group and the event has grown year on year.

There is a mention of this being an international event, where is the world have the sculptures travelled from? 

The teams have travelled from France, Hungary, Netherlands, Portugal, Africa and we have a UK team.

Ice sculpting is growing in popularity, could you describe it in 3 words?

I would describe this event as inspirational, exciting and magical.

Is there something to do for the whole family, including children?

This event is for all age groups, free for everyone from any background including families and tourists, especially for the master classes, which are free classes, enabling the public to give ice sculpting a go.

What is the high light this year?

This year the high light of the event is the opportunity for the public to judge the ‘Love London’ competition and by voting it gives them a chance to win a 3 night holiday to the Ice Hotel in the Swedish Lapland, just by voting.

After this, what is next?

Next year will be an even bigger and an even more spectacular event which inspires in the dull months of January, and we hope it helps to promote Canary Wharf as London’s new heart of Art.

Critic’s feedback

I was mesmerised watching the sculptures, blocks of ice being electric sawed, hacked, scraped and smoothed into a beauty taking many different forms and it was sad to think within a few hours it was going to melt into nothing. I loved that the British team, were the only women team in the competition and they we’re flying the flag with honour (yep you can call me bias).  I also loved the African team, there was definitely a ‘Cool Running’ moment for me and they held their own very well, with their penny fathering taking shape for the speed sculpturing, themed ‘Pedal Power’ There were a huge number of photographers there on the day, who would have taken amazing pictures, with their super lens cameras, which I don’t have, but to give you an idea of what to expect, here area few of my best shots.

Competitor from Hungry, making great head way..

Reigning champion from the Netherlands

African team with their Penny Fathing entry

Ice Maidens

UK making headway against the other countries

Ice sculpture is obviously growing in popularity and if you’d like to try it, there is a place in south London who offer master classes, visit Ice Sculpture for more details.

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