Watershed Project Day 6 to 8

September 28, 2012

After two days of storm the skies cleared for a perfect dawn with 10cm of soft powder snow covering everything. We made new tracks to a site to the north and began work on a three-part sculpture.

With strong sun and no wind it was too warm and the first one collapsed in a heap while we were building the second one. We developed a strategy in the hope of preventing further collapses: by building all three at once and keeping snow piled up on their north, sunny sides they stayed standing through the heat of the day.

About 5pm it became cool enough to begin shaping though it was with the aid of a headtorch it was finally finished.

A freezing clear night brought another sensational sunrise on Mt Aspiring. With the three sculptures lit against the shadows of the Matukituki valley and the sun highlighting the tracks of a hare in the foreground the image was finally completed as planned.

With the morning snow hard underfoot we cramponed out to a partly frozen waterfall where we built a sculpture overlooking this extraordinary spectacle.

Keas circled above us calling and diving and the sun made the work arduous.  The walk back was heavy going as we sank into the softened snow at every step. The beauty of this awe inspiring place more than makes up for any hardships.

After a delicious lunch and some rest we began planning how to create ice to work with. Since there was none naturally occurring we made a mould by digging a shallow pit in the snow and lining it with a tarpaulin. We poured water into it and left it to freeze overnight.

Day 8

At 5.30am after a cold clear moonlit night surface ice had formed but not quite thick enough to lift in one piece. It broke as we tried to get it out, so we quickly developed another concept using a shard of the ice to great effect in front of the sunrise on the glorious mountain scene.

With the wind picking up and the skies grey I finalised a work titled Cold Facts on Bottled Water and photographed it before breakfast.