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Beast from the East is a breeze for snow carving artist

PUBLISHED: 10:53 06 March 2018 | UPDATED: 11:43 08 March 2018

Snow carving artist Kate Munro with a sculpture she created from an old trampoline frame with reception pupils at Sheringham Primary School, where she is resident artist. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

Snow carving artist Kate Munro with a sculpture she created from an old trampoline frame with reception pupils at Sheringham Primary School, where she is resident artist. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

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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.

Teams working on their creations at the annual Kiruna International Snow Festival. Photo: LISA LINDQVISTTeams working on their creations at the annual Kiruna International Snow Festival. Photo: LISA LINDQVIST

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.

The giant swirling skirt created by artists Kate Munro and Lisa Lindqvist  takes shape. Photo: LISA LINDQVISTThe giant swirling skirt created by artists Kate Munro and Lisa Lindqvist takes shape. Photo: LISA LINDQVIST

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.

Artist Kate Munro (right) with snow carving partner Lisa Lindqvist and a giant leaf they created in a previous year's competition. Photo: LISA LINDQVISTArtist Kate Munro (right) with snow carving partner Lisa Lindqvist and a giant leaf they created in a previous year's competition. Photo: LISA LINDQVIST

“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.

The finished sculpture, which was inspired by the Northern Lights. Photo: LISA LINDQVUISTThe finished sculpture, which was inspired by the Northern Lights. Photo: LISA LINDQVUIST

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.”

Teams working on their creations at the annual Kiruna International Snow Festival. Photo: LISA LINDQVISTTeams working on their creations at the annual Kiruna International Snow Festival. Photo: LISA LINDQVIST

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.

Snow carving artist Kate Munro with a sculpture she created from an old trampoline frame with reception pupils at Sheringham Primary School, where she is resident artist. Photo: KAREN BETHELLSnow carving artist Kate Munro with a sculpture she created from an old trampoline frame with reception pupils at Sheringham Primary School, where she is resident artist. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

To see more of Kate Munro’s work, visit www.katemunro.co.uk

The giant swirling skirt created by artists Kate Munro and Lisa Lindqvist  takes shape. Photo: LISA LINDQVISTThe giant swirling skirt created by artists Kate Munro and Lisa Lindqvist takes shape. Photo: LISA LINDQVIST

Artist Kate Munro (right) with snow carving partner Lisa Lindqvist and a giant leaf they created in a previous year's competition. Photo: LISA LINDQVISTArtist Kate Munro (right) with snow carving partner Lisa Lindqvist and a giant leaf they created in a previous year's competition. Photo: LISA LINDQVIST


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