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February 17, 2011

8 Over-the-Top Snowmen

Womans Day Article

Tip your hat to the fun side of winter with these cold-weather creations

By Olivia Putnal Posted February 15, 2011 from WomansDay.com

The nation has recently experienced one crazy winter. Snow has blanketed every state except Florida, leaving us with sidewalks to shovel, streets to plow and cars to dig out. But despite all that hard work, let's not forget that snow can be a lot of fun, too! Have a look at these impressive snowmen-from traditional ones sporting a corncob pipe to comic book character lookalikes-sure to remind you of joyful snow days gone by.

Snow sculptor Mark Wissing, who has been carving snow for over 10 years, spent eight hours on this cool rendition of Doc and Dopey from the Disney movie Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The masterpiece was built in January 2009 and on display in front of Riley Drugstore in Geneva, Illinois. Photo: courtesy of Mark and Vivian Wissing




February 11, 2011

Dear Naperville Illinois Elmwood Elementary School Students,

I am very honored you contacted me and asked about my snow sculptures. First I want to tell you Mrs. Anderson is an awesome Sister!


Q. You have asked me three questions. First was how did I get started sculpting snow?
A. January of 1999 when the weather was very cold an artist friend of mine wanted to make a snow sculpture.

My friend knew I liked to paint and draw pictures so he invited me to help him. The new venture sounded fun so I agreed to become involved with the project.


Q. Next, you wanted to know which snow sculpture was first?
A. The dancing pigs was the first piece of serious snow art I made. We named the sculpture "Pigs in Paradise". Below I have described what we did to build the snow pigs.

After deciding to make 11-foot tall dancing pigs we needed a plan and a drawing in order to do a good job.

My friend and I sat in the kitchen of his house planning our work with paper and pencil drawing our pigs the way we wanted them to look as a sculpture. Carving snow sculptures is like taking a trip in the car, you might need a map to help you get somewhere you have never been before.

Next, using fresh snow, we filled a large cylindrical container that served as a snow mold. The mold measured 7 ft. wide & 11 ft. tall and is designed to come apart so it can be easily removed. The mold took many hours to fill.

When the mold was full with snow we removed it and laid it on the ground, that exposed the pile of snow. Now we had an 11-foot tall pile of snow the shape of a very large soda can.

Finally my friend and I started carving the pigs. We did not use power tools, only shovels, large saws, and some hand tools. We worked on the pigs for 2 days removing a little bit of snow at a time until we completed the sculpture. Many people came and asked if they could take pictures. The weather warmed up three days later and the pigs fell over crashing to the ground. That made me sad but I enjoyed making the pigs, so I have made many more sculptures since that time.


Q. The last question you asked is, which one of the sculptures is my favorite?
A. I loved carving the "World of Humanity".

The winter of 2004 I was invited to enter the U.S. National Snow Sculpting Competition in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. The sculpting event is held the first week of February and features 20 teams from all around the United States. We competed for prizes and the chance to represent the USA at the International Competition in Breckenridge, Colorado.

I called my friend and asked if he would like to be on the team and enter the contest with me. He was very excited and said yes. After registration we needed to submit a plan to the officials for their approval. We spent two nights after work designing and planning the new theme. Once we agreed what we wanted to sculpt we then made a small clay model of the new sculpture.

The "World of Humanity" sculpture depicts 4 men holding 3 women in the air. The Women were connected hand to foot creating a circle, that shape represented the world. The four men represented Humanity, Nature, Environment, and Peace. We did not win but had a wonderful time.


Good luck and have fun with your new art project. Mr. Wissing






Doc and Dopey took me for 8 hours to carve in front of Riley's Drug store in Geneva on January 13 and 14, 2009. The temperature was below zero all of the time.






Geneva Public Library

Pooh is leaning against two books at the Geneva Public Library in February 2007. I broke two of my front teeth filling the mold before I started to carve Pooh.


December 20, 2008 I carved Grumpy of Snow White at the Geneva Illinois Public Library. He lasted one week. The rain and warm weather after Christmas melted him away.



The 2007 Season has started with this snow man in front of Kettley Real Estate office in Geneva.

The Fat Cat sclupture can be found at the corner of 4th St. and State St. in Geneva IL.







Rules: The U. S. National Snow Sculpting Competition Each team shall consist of three members 18 years and older from the same state. Amateurs and professionals are eligible. Additional sculpting assistance is not allowed except that given by competition organizers and grounds crew. The final sculpture must fit within a 12 foot circle, height is optional. No media other than snow, ice or water may be used. Competitors to use snow available on site only. Colorants not allowed. Armatures or molded shapes are NOT allowed. Sculptors may provide their own tools at their own risk and liability. No power tools are permitted. Snow removal equipment, axes, machetes, buckets, shovels, long-handled ice scrapers and ladders will be available on site.

A new block of snow ready to be carved for the contest.




2004 U.S. National Competition, Lake Geneva Wisconsin.

"The World of Humanity".

Our team, Mark Wissing, Lynden Bute, Vivian Wissing.


Having fun with nature

Ozzie.


I carved Jimmy on the table and then we moved him to the big sculpture pictured below.

My friend Lynden Bute is poseing with his little friend Lucy.

Buzz and Woody are roughed in and ready for some details. February 2004.


I finished Buzz & Woody after 6 hours of carving.


We are getting this new sculpture ready for carving.


The crew, from left to right, Jennifer Schultz, Mark Wissing, Vivian Wissing, and Tammy Johnson.


This is the sculpture after being roughed in.

This how it looked the first night after 4.5 hours of carving.

My new friend.


This is a great way to advertise..

On to new projects.


The 2005-2006 Season has started, YEPPEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

We gathered at our house and started about 10:00 am. working on the new sculptures. This year I am very lucky to have the same team back again.

This bear was fun to carve, after we figured out how to carve him leaning on the tree.

I was happy to finish a second bear on Saturday.


Vivian carved 4 penguins that make our little home look like we live in the Artic Circle.



The next day was Sunday and we carved a big cartoon penguin on main street in Geneva.


This Santa 7 feet tall and is standing in Elburn, IL 12/13/2005.




Saturday morning we got up at 3:30am to carve the Chef in front of The Little Owl on State Street in Geneva. I finished the peice at 9 am. We took some pictures and headed for home. The head was knocked off or something about noon. That is the shortest time one of my sculptures has lasted.




Just having more fun © Mark Wissing 2011

Mark Wissing  •  0N 799 Old Kirk Road  •  Geneva Township  •  West Chicago, IL 60185  •  630/404-8255

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