We learned a tremendous amount at this year's competition, but perhaps the most important lesson was this: it can be done. We had problems, mostly with tools and weather, that prevented us from reaching our goal of building a working clock out of ice, but we gained confidence in the medium. Counting our successes, we were able to
- make working gears,
- make working axles,
- bore large holes,
- lay a level pedestal,
- waterglue a rigid frame, and
- finish the competition not in last place.
With better tools and more time, I'm certain that we could have completed a ticking clock. As it turns out, we could have taken more time. We didn't know until the end of the event that it is not uncommon for teams to continue working on unfinished sculptures for a few days after the judging takes place. Unfortunately, we were incredibly exhausted after three days and two nights of hard work. We needed rest and already had plans for the weekend, so we decided to pack everything up and go home.
Another lesson: this is fun! Okay, that wasn't exactly unexpected, but the entire ordeal was a challenge we will never forget. Carving ice is fun, and the quality of ice, support from volunteers, talent of the competitors, and overall atmosphere of the World Ice Art Championships made the whole experience absolutely incredible. If they'll have us back, we would like to return next year and for many years to come.
We probably won't try to achieve our goal of a working clock next year, but perhaps the ice clock will become a reality in 2008. We have plenty of time to decide what to do in 2007, but right now we're thinking of trying something a bit less challenging that will allow us to improve our tools and skills before attempting the ultimate goal. Whatever we create, it will almost certainly be mechanical and/or interactive.