WHEELING - A small group of students at West Virginia Northern Community College turned the school's front plaza in downtown Wheeling into an outdoor ice sculpture studio Tuesday.
Equipped with an arsenal of ice chisels, picks and a number of power tools, including electric chain saws and grinders, each student created a unique sculpture from a 300-pound block of ice.
In just a few hours, the simple cubes were transformed into a variety of sculptures, including a mermaid, a candle and a penguin. Following the class, the students moved all the ice sculptures to the school's front entrance, where they will stand until they eventually melt away.
CARVING A PENGUIN — Amelia French of Wheeling listens to advice from Chris Kefauver, assistant professor of culinary arts at West Virginia Northern Community College, while she carves a figure of a penguin holding a star Tuesday. -- Scott McCloskey
"Mother Nature is the one that determines how long they'll be here. ... So if it stays as cold as it is today, I've seen them last three or four days - I've seen them last two weeks," said Chris Kefauver, assistant professor of culinary arts at West Virginia Northern Community College.
Kefauver led Tuesday's class and said ice sculpting is just one aspect of the "Garde Manger" course, which deals with the preparation of "cold items." He also said the students seemed to be very enthusiastic about the ice sculpting.
"They got a good concept, they got good starts - they just need to finish getting their details into their work," he added.
The students seemed to agree that the ice sculpting session was a lot of fun and very worthwhile.
Amelia French of Wheeling said she really enjoyed the class while carving her block of ice into a figure of a penguin holding a star.
"This is the first time I've handled a power tool ... but the class is a lot of fun," said French.
Anthony Wheeler of Wheeling added, "I love cooking, and anything extra like this is pretty awesome."