Couple inspired by ice

16:00, Jan 20 2014
Jimi Walsh
Waverley artist Jimi Walsh works on the kete design he and partner Lisa Walsh devised for the international snow sculpture competition in Harbin, China.

Fresh back from the artistic experience of a lifetime, Waverley couple Jimi and Lisa Walsh are planning an exhibition based on their travels.

The artists returned home last week after competing in the main snow sculpture section at the 2014 Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival in China.

The couple said they would hold two exhibitions at the end of March to showcase art inspired by their trip, along with some of the tools they used while they were in Harbin, Hawera's sister city.

The self-confessed snow ''novices'', who run the Waverley Glass Art Studio, said they were up against other artists who were well versed in what it took to carve in ice during freezing outdoor conditions.

In contrast, the Walshes had to learn how to work with the snow on the job, as they had no way of practising before they left for China on December 28. 

''There is nothing similar here,'' Mrs Walsh said.


The extreme cold was another obvious challenge.  

Mrs Walsh said they often wore six layers of clothing or more at a time, which often restricted their movements while they worked up to nine hours each day on their sculpture.

''It was work, work, work and challenge after challenge,'' she said.

The couple's design had to represent New Zealand's culture and they chose  a kete basket.

''To see one [kete basket] in that scale in snow from our perspective was something quite interesting,'' said Mrs Walsh.

Along for the trip were friends Diane Lance and Claire Symes, who like the Walshes, paid for their trip themselves.

Taranaki Daily News