The Preeceville Recreation Board welcomed world renowned snow sculptor Theressa Wright and her husband Terry Ouellette, both of Saskatoon to be part of the Mushers’ Rendezvous 20th anniversary on February 2 and 3, by creating a snow sculpture for the event.
Wright created a design tailored to the event with a snow dog sculpture. The sculpture began as an 8 foot by 8 foot block which contained 20 tons of packed snow. Four truck loads were required to haul the snow.
After completion the sculpture measured approximately 12 to14 feet deep and 10 to 12 feet high.
The couple arrived on January 31 to begin their three-day project.
"We were very excited to come out and create something special for the community to enjoy. It is also an honour to be part of the 20th Mushers’ Rendezvous," said Wright.
The couple faced some challenges with the bitter cold and blizzard conditions.
"The fun part of the second day was doing a demonstration carving for the Preeceville School Grade 3 and Grade 9 students,” she explained. “About 50 kids listened as we gave them a bit of talk and a demonstration. Apparently the carving made quite the impression on the Grade 3 students as they talked about it quite a bit and a couple even got their parents to swing by after school to take a look and grab a photograph. The demonstration carving featured a man’s face frozen in the snow."
Wright and her husband use special ice and snow carving tools to create her sculptures; everything from hand made tailored tools to basics like sand paper and a chainsaw.
Wright has a Fine Arts degree from the University of Saskatchewan with a major in stone carving. She is also a graphic artist, photographer and painter. She is currently a substitute visual arts teacher in Saskatoon. Her husband Terry is employed as a correctional officer in Saskatoon and they have been married 14 years.
"Working with Theressa is very gratifying and but can be stressful at times too," laughed Ouellette. "Creating sculptures brings out the artist side in me. It can also be dangerous with possibilities of a block of snow falling on top of someone. We have taken many suggestions from other sculptures as well as learned by our own experiences."
"It is all about the art," stated Wright. "We have travelled all over the world creating sculptures and meeting many friends. Each design we create is unique and has its own challenges.”
Wright began sculpting snow in 1994 after somebody had suggested that since she carved wood and stone, she might enjoy carving snow. Since that first sculpture, Wright has designed and been the lead sculptor/captain at events ranging across the country (Charlottetown, Quebec City, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Edmonton and Whitehorse) as well as in several Saskatchewan communities.
In 2012, she led her team to Harbin, China to compete in one of the largest competitions in the world. In 2018 the team went to Pontebba, Italy and Kiruna, Sweden. In Sweden the team won the Artists Choice Award.
Other awards include: Artists Choice in Quebec in 2008, Special Distinction in Quebec in 1994, as well as numerous first place finishes across Saskatchewan.
Snow is not the only medium that Theressa works in. She has carved with stone, wood, clay, sand, pumpkins and cheese, in which she placed second in her only attempt while in Winnipeg in 2018.