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Mark Fleming’s first snow sculptures were a group of waist-high snails made from giants snowballs he rolled together. The friend he was waiting was for was taking a very, very long time to get ready.
“She was taking longer than I expected her to take. It was snowing, and I just started rolling up a snowball. I just started eventually turning then into snails, putting antennas on them with branches. I don’t know why I kept doing it,” says Fleming.
“It’s really how I got into it. I don’t consider myself to be an expert in it. It’s a hobby I just sort of stumbled into.”
Creatures he’s made so far include snails, an octopus, and a turtle. A punk-rock snowman he made on a beach in Bonavista, wearing a kelp scarf and with a driftwood Mohawk, captured the attention of a professional photographer - which earned Fleming hundreds of online views for his creations.
The St. John's, N.L., man's creations have gotten bigger as he has continued his snow sculpture hobby. The last sculpture he made was a polar bear that measured as big as the real animal – four feet tall and six feet long.
“But what happened is, if the temperature drops, you lose the stickiness of the snow. So, I didn’t really get to fine-tune it. It ended up looking like a weird hybrid of a polar bear and a German shepherd,” says Fleming.
For Fleming, the main draw of snow sculpture is a chance to be outdoors while doing something creative.
If you’re looking to try making a snow sculpture, Fleming says to just try new things and have fun.
“Just experiment with the snow. Sometimes, it’s really mouldable, and sometimes it’s not,” says Fleming. “Maybe get some inspiration from other people’s sculptures. Or maybe just come up with something off the top of your head. Humour is definitely a good idea.”
What’s up next for Fleming? A centaur.
“I like the idea of making some kind of folk art out of the elements,” says Fleming. “And if it’s a certain temperature, you can easily mould it into pretty realist figures.”
Mark’s tips for creating your own snow sculpture
- Warmer weather helps - “If it’s warmer out, the snow just seems to be more sticky – you can be more precise, almost like clay. From my experience, slightly warmer temperatures are better and you get that packable snow.”
- Start creating a basic shape with a shovel and your hands - “Make a big structure with an image in mind.”
- Adapt to the conditions - “It doesn’t have to be perfect at first. Just have fun with it.”
- Use a spray bottle to add food colouring.