Before Darron Kingston starts up his chainsaw and gets to work, he steps up to the 300 pound block of ice in front of him.
It’s several feet tall and doesn’t look like much of anything. But with an hour of slicing, carving and polishing, Kingston’s turned it into an angel.
While he’s working on Friday night, people wander past, make s’mores and celebrate the season at Water Tower Plaza of Thanksgiving Point.
Aside from the bulky hearing protection, Kingston, who works with Amazing Ice Creations, looks like he might be enjoying a snow day with a heavy jacket, gloves and snow collecting on his clothes.
Kingston said he has been ice sculpting for nearly half his life. His father, Theron Kingston, taught him when he was only 12.
“My dad is a seventh place world championship ice carver, so I was born into it I guess,” he said.
Most days, Kingston works in 2-D art, but he said ice sculpting is something cool he enjoys doing part-time.
“I just like making art,” he said.
“I don’t know if I’d ever want to do it full-time, it’s just too cold,” Kingston adds, gesturing to the ice flakes rapidly melting on his clothes.
The things Kingston has helped create out of ice run the gamut from life-size bears and sled dogs to large ice bars.
He said his favorite creation that he has made on his own was a large bird that he carved at Ice Alaska out of a several thousand-pound block of ice, which took him seven days to complete.
Since he’s working with ice, Kingston’s creations are sure to melt. But he said he finds beauty in the impermanence of it.
“We’ve always had a saying that 'if it melts, they’ll buy another one, and you’ve got pictures,'” Kingston said. “It’s never really bothered me, but some people seem to feel bad.”
While Kingston has to work quickly and efficiently to finish his piece in his allotted time, he said he makes sure to carve a bit of a pattern into the ice block before he gets to the venue. This helps make sure the piece is even and proportioned.
Then he gets to work with the chainsaw to lop off larger pieces. He comes through and adds smaller details, which is really when the angel starts taking shape.
As large pieces of ice hit the ground with a resounding thunk, Eagle Mountain resident Deborah Reed and her family look on.
“It’s so neat,” she said. “We come from Arizona where there’s not much ice. I just think it’s fascinating they can turn it into something so pretty.”
Reed said she and her family come to watch the ice sculptors at Thanksgiving Point each year. She said the transformation is what interests her the most.
“I did it (ice carving) as a prom date one time,” she said. “It is super super hard. I know how hard it is, but I was doing it with a hammer and screwdriver. It’s just amazing.”
Those interested in seeing Amazing Ice Creations work magic in front of their eyes can visit Thanksgiving Point’s Water Tower Plaza at 6:30 p.m. on Friday and Dec. 16.