Beast from the East is a breeze for snow carving artist
- Credit: Archant
While most of the UK was battening down the hatches waiting for the Beast from the East to do its worst, Sheringham-based artist Kate Munro was heading off to Sweden, where temperatures hit as low as minus 35, and snowdrifts reached up to eight feet high.
Ms Munro was taking part in the little-known international winter sport of snow carving, which sees teams work for three days to create sculptures from a three-metre-square block of snow weighing nearly 20 tons.
Working with team-mate Lisa Lindqvist, whom she met at art college 25 years ago, mum-of-three Ms Munro created a gigantic Northern Lights-inspired swirling skirt for the Kiruna International Snow Festival, held every year in the most northerly town in Sweden.
Competing against teams from Estonia, Sweden, Spain and Canada, the pair, who took the 2015 title for their David Bowie-inspired high-heeled shoe, worked against the clock to complete their creation.
'We start off with shovels, then move on to chisels we have adapted, before finishing off with sandpaper and knives,' Ms Munro explained.
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'It is really like working with a gigantic sugar cube, although the texture of the snow changes with changes in temperature, so it can become almost like a different material.'
First prize this year went to a team of architects from Barcelona, who beat off competition from creations ranging from a giant snow snail to a Santa's sleigh to bag the trophy for their intricately carved cathedral.
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Ms Munro, who, with Ms Lindqvist, has previously competed for snow carving titles in Japan, Russia, China and Greenland, said that while temperatures hit rock bottom and snow was as much as eight feet deep in Sweden, the weather in the UK last week was worse.
'Minus thirty is a bit nippy,' she said. 'But it was very still and, with the wind, it actually felt colder here.'
Keen to share her snow carving skills with her children, Ms Munro asked them to join her in creating a sculpture, but the three youngsters were not so keen.
'After working so hard for the competition, it was lovely to have a chance to play in the snow, but they were much more interested in sledging and making traditional snowmen,' she said.
To see more of Kate Munro's work, visit www.katemunro.co.uk