Had a fabulous time at the Silver Skate Festival on the 16th!

A long day, but well worth it. We got to the festival site about 9:30 Sunday morning, and started right in to work.

Photo Credit: John Halliday | Instagram: j71halliday
Photo Credit: John Halliday | Instagram: j71halliday

Here I am in the background, looking rather pensive!  At this point, we had completed the interior portion of the WORDWALL sculpture … this element would be revealed as the sculpture burned.

John Halliday | Instagram: j71halliday

This is a shot of me finishing up one of the exterior ‘walls’ for the sculpture. The piece was all puns and wordplay, based on the narrative for the Folktrails storytelling portion of the Festival.  Essentially, the story revolved around how easy it is to get rigid in our thinking; we say NO to new ideas, because we “KNOW” everything. This attitude builds walls, creates physical and emotional barriers, limits growth.  So … of those walls come down … change and positivity can flourish (YES!)

John Halliday | Instagram: j71halliday

We had a few tense moments getting the sculpture finished and set to burn; the two outside walls had to balance properly, so that once the fire reached them, they would fall away from the center, and leave the YES panels standing! Somehow, we managed to make it all work, and get the WORDWALL stuffed with straw, and ready in time for the Procession from the Folktrails area. Here, you can see the leader of the Procession entering the burn area; the finished sculpture is in the background, waiting for the torch.

John Halliday | Instagram: j71halliday
John Halliday | Instagram: j71halliday

And here I am, lighting the wick that leads to the sculpture …

Burn 1
John Halliday | Instagram: j71halliday

… and up it goes! It’s quite dramatic (and not a little cathartic) when the work catches fire. There’s something really primal in the visceral response the crowd has to the lighting and the fire.  John Halliday (you can find his Instagram handle in the photo captions) – who was kind enough to share some of his photos of the event with me – pointed out the creepy face that seemed to emerge from the flames here. Seems appropriate, since part of the story is the banishing of ideas and thoughts that have outlasted their usefulness~!

John Halliday | Instagram: j71halliday
John Halliday | Instagram: j71halliday

I really like this shot – it captured the point in the burn where the walls are falling away to reveal the YES inside. Great moment!

John Halliday | Instagram: j71halliday

Another shot of the walls coming down …

John Halliday | Instagram: j71halliday
John Halliday | Instagram: j71halliday

And finally … all that was left after the fire did its work. Embers and smoke, and the night sky, lit by spotlights.

And that was that for another year; about 12 hours all together, and an amazing experience.

I can’t say enough good about all the fantastic people that make this Festival happen.  The site crew and organizers were amazing – so helpful, and so lovely to work with. We were very well taken care of all day … blocks of snow got delivered to brace the sculpture, bales of hay appeared, volunteers gave us a chance to take a break for lunch, and even brought us a late dinner when it was all over (because we were too busy finishing the work to go for supper!)  I feel like WORDWALL belongs to everyone at Silver Skate – they all really helped make it happen.

And I have to say my fellow wall-builder-engineer-wirecutter-twine-wrapper and all ’round amazing partner John was completely indispensable.  Absolutely couldn’t have done this without him!

I’m a bit sore around the edges today – discovered some underused muscles, that’s for sure! – but more than anything, I’m really grateful I was able to do this.

Silver Skate continues next weekend too – and there will be two more fire sculptures being made and burned on Saturday February 21 and Sunday February 22. So, if you’re in the Edmonton area, try to make it down. It’s a free event, and there’s a lot going on all weekend – check out the schedule here.  Races, snow sculpture, storytelling … so much to do.

5 thoughts on “Silver Skate – an amazing day

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