Filling the Well – The Ice Bear Project

Filling the Well, creating visual images to draw on, sounds, tastes, touch to stimulate and enrich your writing. Or just because it’s fun and inspiring and gets you away from the desk.

This morning was gorgeous on Sydney Harbour. The cool winter sunshine glistened across the water and the ferry chugged its way from Balmain to Circular Quay. I don’t normally catch the 8am commuter ferry and that in itself was interesting. Teenagers heading to school, iPods firmly in ears, 2 women were reading Lynda La Plante novels, men reading newspapers and professional journals. There was plenty of texting, iPad and general tech action happening.  Not too much gazing out the window taking in the view.

the bear emerges

The Bear Emerges

Unlike my fellow passengers, I wasn’t heading to school or work, but to watch Master Sculptor, Mark Coreth create his Ice Bear, a life-sized sculpture of a male polar bear. The bear is carved out of a block of ice which will take 3 -4 days to melt, revealing a bronze skeleton of a polar bear, measuring 2.2 metres high by 4 metres long.

bear with sunhat

There was a team of 4 ice sculptors at work, including Coreth and they’d started work at 7am in the morning, by the time I arrived it was 8.15am and the bear was already taking shape.  The men worked with long-handled sculpting tools to create a fluid, active ice bear from a rectangular slab of ice. What looked like random stabbing and poking was defining the legs and belly of the bear.

The Ice Bear

It was all a little incongruous. The sculptors were surrounded by the bustle of morning commuters, snatching mobile phone photos  as they waited for their lattes and the TV news crews setting up, jostling with the professional photographers for premium bear watching position. But it was beautiful, the way the sun hit the ice, droplets of water lingering on the bears chin before falling to the plinth, the spray of ice being chipped from the block and the abrasive scrape as the shards of ice were pushed away, watching the sculptors carve out a form.

Mark Coreth (in baseball cap)

And isn’t that what we try to do as writers? We carve out a form, create an image, shape a piece of work, chip away at a draft from the words at our disposal. It may have more permanence than the melting ice bear, or it could be a fleeting moment caught in a blog post.

The Ice Bear Project is designed to highlight the plight of polar bears and the impact of climate change on their natural habitat, as Mark Coreth says, ‘the survival of the polar bear is entirely dependent on the survival of the sea ice’. You can read more here WWF – Ice Bear Project

The Copenhagen Ice Bear

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