Gary Marquardt Sculpts Up Some Fun at Saline Winterfest
Ice sculpting display in Saline sure to be a crowd pleaser.
Saline-area resident Gary Marquardt has been carving ice sculptures for nearly thirty years. This Saturday at 9 a.m., those visiting downtown Saline for the Inaugural Winterfest will have the privilege of watching him chisel ice blocks into art.
“The biggest sculpture we’ve ever done was 20 blocks,” said Marquardt. "The umber of blocks is how ice sculpture people usually count size.”
He says ice blocks used to be about 400 pounds, the six blocks he’ll use Saturday are a “smaller, cleaner block.”
Marquardt, an Executive Chef and quantity food production teacher at Washtenaw Community College, began sculpting ice a long time ago when he was working in a hotel. The hotel would need ice carvings for weddings and banquets, and those in the kitchen would take turns carving the ice.
Ice sculptures are beautiful to view, but caution must be used while they are being created, Marquardt said.
“Ice has this great quality that gives you all those facets and glitter, but there is still a little bit of danger. One wrong twist of the chisel and it’s all over.”
It will take Marquardt about three hours to complete a full Eskimo family on Saturday. There will be two adult Eskimos and most likely two smaller Eskimo children. Their faces will be left out upon completion, so spectators may insert their own faces for a family portrait.
The display will be located on North Ann Arbor Street, just north of Michigan Avenue in front of Hartman Insurance Agency in downtown Saline. The carving is scheduled to begin at 9 AM.
Marquardt competes in ice sculpting competition two or three times per year. Sometimes, he acts as consultant for college carving teams.
“Even if I’m not carving, it’s fun to hang out with other carvers because everyone knows each other,” he said.