Monday, February 7th, 2011
Last weekend’s Winterfest in downtown Camden drew throngs of people, including about 35 local artists, who teamed up to create seven beautiful ice sculptures that now sit proudly on the library’s snow covered lawn.
One of those sculptures is “Giles the Penguin Waiter,” the brainchild of Wayfinder Schools art teacher Tom Butler, student Eimi DeWitt, and volunteers Kate Russo and Steve Murtagh. Butler and Russo also volunteer with the Center for Maine Contemporary Art (CMCA), and DeWitt, an aspiring artist, interns at the center several mornings each week.
“We wanted to do something fun and playful,” Butler said. “Eimi’s really into animals and mystical creatures, so we came up with the penguin idea. We wanted something that wouldn’t be too complicated or top heavy.”
Butler, who has sculpted with stone in the past, said that working with ice was a new experience. “It’s a bizarre and wonderful material to work with,” he said. “It really was good fun.”
DeWitt agreed and said, “It was so fun. It was my first time carving with ice, and it was a very good experience for me. I want to be an artist, so it was an important experience for me, to try something new.”
The sculpture took about two and half hours to complete, with a few hot chocolate breaks mixed in.
Butler said, “It was nice to do something for the school and CMCA, and to see all the other works being created- some really bold, creative and imaginative designs.”
Asked about the future fate of Giles, Butler said, “He’s become a bit of friend and it’s sad to think of him sitting out there all by himself. I’m sure we’ll stop by to pay our respects before he melts.”