2011 OC Fair Ice Museum

closeup of a seahorse ice sculpture by Mark Daukas at the 2011 OC Fair Ice Museum
closeup of a seahorse ice sculpture by Mark Daukas at the Ice Museum
For the second year in a row, the Orange County Fair in Costa Mesa, California was the site of a most unusual attraction: an ice museum. Much more than a ragtag collection of ice carvings in a big freezer, the ice museum is likely the largest color ice sculpture display in the U.S. ever carved by Americans. (The ice sculptures at the Gaylord Hotel ICE! events, also featured on ice carving secrets, are carved by ice sculptors from Harbin, China.)
Roland Hernandez in front of blue ice block wall at 2011 OC Fair Ice Museum

Roland stands before a wall of blue ice blocks explaining how he wants the reef shark and the multicolored reef to look.

colored ice blocks at 2011 OC Fair Ice Museum

These are just a few of the many colored ice blocks before they were moved into the freezer to be incorporated into the huge ice art display.

a blue ice block arch at the 2011 OC Fair Ice Museum

The basic structure of a blue ice arch is in place. Later, this arch would be shaped and detailed so that the ice block look was gone.

a jumble of ice blocks at 2011 OC Fair Ice Museum

Before major sculpting began, the ice sculptors were faced with a jumble of ice blocks, some colored, some clear.




food booth at the 2011 OC Fair Ice Museum

While sculptors worked in the nearby deep freeze, vendors got ready to sell deep-fried butter (How is that possible?!) and chocolated-covered bacon.

Longest Ice Bar sign for the 2011 OC Fair Ice Museum

Oops, outdated info! The fair posted a lot of nicely done signs outside of the museum that had lots of ice trivia. Evidently, the new Guinness record for the longest ice bar didn't make it in time for this sign.

reef shark ice sculpture in progress at the 2011 OC Fair Ice Museum

Here's the ice shark, partly complete, sitting atop the uncarved reef. A small strut near the front of the shark's head relieves the stress on the large weld at the center of the shark until more ice can be removed.

double size ice block

This massive 600 pound double can ice block was used for the front half of the reef shark. Despite the block's size, it's almost completely clear!

The display took up almost 1600 square feet and used an estimated 350 blocks of ice, about 300 of which were colored ice. Headed by Roland Hernandez and his team at Carving Ice, this year's museum also featured work by Mark Daukas (Mark Daukas Designs; World and National ice sculpting champion) and me (Dawson List of ice carving secrets & ice dragon ice sculptures).
Roland Hernandez carves a jellyfish ice sculpture at the 2011 OC Fair Ice Museum

Roland Hernandez of Carving Ice works on his jellyfish ice sculpture for one of the Ice Museum's front viewing windows.

jellyfish ice sculpture at the 2011 OC Fair Ice Museum

Here's the finished jellyfish ice sculpture by Roland, sitting in front of a viewing window and lit with pink LED lighting.

Mark Daukas, ice sculptor, at work at the 2011 OC Fair Ice Museum

Mark Daukas works on a small section of his multi-block King Neptune display, which also includes an intricately sculpted ice seahorse as well as ice dolphins.

reef shark ice sculpture on a multi-colored ice reef at the 2011 OC Fair Ice Museum

This shark ice sculpture sits atop its multi-colored ice reef. At this point, the display is nearly finished, although the reef would later get some additional smaller ice creatures added to it.

Building on the success of the 2010 Ice Museum at the fair, this year's layout was larger, more elaborate, and much more colorful due to the addition of the colored ice blocks! Frozen venues such as the ice museum offer an unusual opportunity for the large scale use of color ice blocks, which in other situations are a messy proposition once they start melting. This year's ice museum had an undersea theme, so bright blue ice surrounded museum-goers plunged into a series of cool aquatic scenes and sculptures. A rainbow of other icy colors made up the various coral pieces, while delicate window pieces were carved from crystal clear ice.
King Neptune ice sculpture by Mark Daukas at the 2011 OC Fair Ice Museum

Mark Daukas' multi-block King Neptune ice sculpture sits partly complete in front of the blue walls of the Ice Museum. (photo courtesy of Jim Ottens)

manta ray ice sculpture at the 2011 OC Fair Ice Museum

A single block manta ray ice sculpture is on display in front of one of the viewing windows. The design for this sculptures is in the secrets blog.

seahorse ice sculptures at the 2011 OC Fair Ice Museum

Both types of seahorses, the normal one on the right and the hybrid horse/fish hippocampus on the left, sit next to one another before they are set on their ice pedestals. Both were sculpted by Mark Daukas.

Hippocampus or seahorse ice sculpture at the 2011 OC Fair Ice Museum

A different kind of "seahorse," this hippocampus combines horse and fish, and was sculpted by Mark Daukas.

Mark Daukas carved five of the nine detailed window pieces, while Roland and I contributed two apiece. The windows into the ice museum are a great feature of the because even if you don't want to escape the summer heat into the chilly museum for a few minutes, you can still check out some of the best ice sculptures. But you do miss out the chance to verify that yeah, all those sculptures are really made out of ice!
twin goldfish ice sculpture by Mark Daukas at the 2011 OC Fair Ice Museum

A finished Daukas goldfish piece sits on its pedestal in front of one of the Ice Museum's viewing windows.

red coral ice sculpture at the 2011 OC Fair Ice Museum

A large red ice coral piece by Roland stands with the goldfish ice sculpture by Mark Daukas in the background.

Great Wave engraved ice sculpture at the 2011 OC Fair Ice Museum

The skilled CNC ice artists at Carving Ice created an icy version of the famous Japanese print "The Great Wave off Kanagawa."

Mark Daukas at work on a sailfish ice sculpture at the 2011 OC Fair Ice Museum

Mark Daukas puts finishing touches on his double sailfish ice sculpture for one of the nine viewing windows.




sea fan ice sculpture at the 2011 OC Fair Ice Museum

Roland Hernandez carved this delicate sea fan ice sculpture for a viewing window. The secrets blog includes a similar design.

sea turtle ice sculpture at the 2011 OC Fair Ice Museum

This sea turtle ice sculpture has a delicate base to support it. The sea turtle design that's in the secrets blog is a little more robust, but also more refined.

Chainsaw Chicks sculpting ice and performing at the 2011 OC Fair

Another nearby (but separate) ice sculpting attraction at the fair was the series of live sculpting shows put on by the Chainsaw Chicks. (photo courtesy of Jim Ottens)

angelfish ice sculpture by Mark Daukas at the 2011 OC Fair Ice Museum

Much like a real angelfish in a fishbowl, Daukas' ice angelfish, looks out at a world it could never live in: a warm summer day in California as the Orange County Fair prepares to open.

My main project was an 8 foot shark ice sculpture and multi-colored reef while Roland created colorful ice coral pieces and kept the project running. Mark also worked for many days on a multi-block King Neptune piece. Roland's staff at Carving Ice, besides completing all the many thankless tasks that a project this size requires, built the basic structure of the entire display, put together a fantastic colored ice rendition of the famous Japanese print "Great Wave off Kanagawa," and added hundreds of tiny details to the walls and sculptures throughout the cool display.

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