This year, with an early snow, he fashioned a tribute to the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, with an angel wrapping its wings around two children. The sculpture was modeled after a photo of two young survivors he’d seen in newspapers. At night, he lights a candle in the sculpted children’s hands.
Shortly after he built it, someone left 26 roses at the foot of the sculpture, one for each of the shooting victims.
“I don’t think I’ve ever had a snow sculpture my heart was in more than this,” he said. “Of all the things I’ve made, this is the one people can say is appropriate to the time, and represents how a lot of people feel. It’s been very gratifying, and it’s allowed me to do something probably a lot of people wish they could do: Let the world know we’re fortunate to have people who are our guardians, and to thank God for our own children and their safety.”
• Make a clay model to work from.
• Pile as much snow as you can scoop from your property (and maybe even some from your neighbors) in your front yard.
• If it’s cold and powdery snow, dump some water on it and let it sit overnight to make it “sticky.”
• Do the major shaping with shovels of various sizes. Use serving spoons and a curved carpet knife for the fine work.
• In late winter, when the weather starts to warm, knock the sculpture down and spread the snow out to help it melt.
“I like the idea of spring as much as anybody,” Welty said.
Kurt Kelsey, ice pane maker
Inspired by the ice candles at the annual City of Lakes Loppet, Kurt Kelsey has carried the torch back to his yard in south Minneapolis.
Using items from around the house and yard, Kelsey fashions water and weeds into glass-like showpieces that come into their own when backlit at night. He’s made the ice panes with his kids and their friends, and has found that they’ve become conversation-starters.
“It adds a friendlier feel to life on the tundra,” Kelsey said.
But as a skier and ski coach, he isn’t critical of the season.
“I enjoy the winter,” he added. “And once you start enjoying it, it’s way too short. I’m very conflicted about spring.”
• Fill plastic forms (such as lunch trays, sleds, storage bin lids or trash bags laid on concrete and sealed) with water.