Maple Grove Couple Part of Prize-Winning Ice Sculpting Team
A Maple Grove couple is celebrating a pretty cool feat for their efforts at the St. Paul Winter Carnival. Joe and Sally Wightkin were part of a team that took third place in the multi-block ice sculpting competition.
The Wightkins were part of a team with Deneena and Paul Hughes, longtime ice sculptors from Eden Prairie.
Their ice creation, titled “2 Vikings Combat,” features a female Viking archer pointing her bow at a male Viking and his shield.
“The official title is something like the Viking interpretation of ‘honey, you left the seat up again,'” laughed Sally Wightkin.
The Wightkins moved to Minnesota six years ago and decided to “embrace one of Minnesota’s art forms.”
“It’s a lot of work,” said Joe Wightkin on ice sculpting. “I’m amazed at the ice. You can get it so thin. You can bring out such detail.”
For the multi-block competition, teams maneuver 10 300-pound blocks of ice to create their sculptures. Initially, it’s a lot of cutting and heavy lifting.
“The big blocks, you have to cut them into chunks and it’s a lot of stacking,” described Sally Wightkin on the initial process.
Teams have 48 hours to complete their work. The weather this year made the process more challenging.
“This year was pretty cold and you’re out there for hours and hours. You have to make sure you’re dressed properly,” said Sally.
‘It’s fun having power tools’
Sally Wightkin, who works at the book store for Hennepin Tech in Brooklyn Park, says she took one sculpture class in college. But she says that was her extent of sculpture work.
“I like the dremels and other carving tools,” she said. “It is fun having the power tools.”
Her husband, Joe, who works in the finance department at Hennepin Tech, says a blow torch helps gives the ice that translucent look when the sculpture is finished.
As for how they will celebrate their third-place finish?
“Take a hot bath,” laughed Joe. “My core temperature is shot.”
Also See: Winter Golf in New Hope Offers ‘Uniquely Minnesota’ Experience
Corey Bork contributed to this report