December 23, 2008
By Suzy Bales
The worst weather and the worst conditions for gardening often bring out the best in people. Take my friend, Les Brake who lives in Willow, Alaska where winter temperatures plunge to thirty below regularly and snowfall averages 110 inches. The snow is so high he has to worry about the rabbits eating the tops off of his Japanese maples. Winters are long and dark in Alaska, from September to May. Living in a one-room cabin, five miles from the nearest town, Les has little company.
To entertain himself and give friends and even strangers a reason to visit, Les has turned his garden into a fairyland of “fire in Ice”. He makes ice sculptures out of household kitchen molds and lights them with candles. Snow is the glue that holds the pieces together. A Jell-O mold and a bund pan shape many of his ice sculptures. See if you can figure out what other dishes he has used.
Whenever winter gets me down I think of Les and I smile. He is an artist in his own land.
As requested, I’ve added some additional pictures. Can you figure out how they were made?
Les Brake, the artist at work.