Meet Matt Morris, a snow sculptor who currently lives in Waterloo, Ontario. Matt has been making snow sculptures on his own front lawn for the past nine years and he shows no signs of slowing down. Actually, quite the opposite, his snow sculpting just keeps attracting more attention from locals and beyond, and he has even started a snow sculpting club.
Matt started snow sculpting after visiting a museum where he saw a Moai figure. When looking at it he turned to his wife and said, “I think we could make that”. Which is exactly what they did the following winter, they actually made three snow Moai in one day. With that, Matt was hooked, he needed to learn more about snow sculpting. So he did his research, practiced different techniques, and got better at sculpting.
Something that surprised me was that Matt actually recommends using non-packing snow for sculptures. He mentioned that packing snow often has ice in it so as long as you learn to pack down your non-packing snow and let it sinter it actually makes for a smoother carve. What is sintering you ask? We had the same question, it’s when snowflakes start to bond together. For this to happen the snow has to be packed down tight in the pail either using your mitts or a pounder tool (you can find information on how to make one on Matt’s website). After that, you flip the pail upside down, take it off the snow, and let the snow sit to sinter, it can take a few hours depending on how cold it is outside.
Now that you know a little more about how cool (pun intended) snow sculpting is, let’s talk about how you can get in on this action too. Matt has a website as well as social media platforms that are full of the information you need to get started in snow sculpting.
His YouTube videos are a valuable source of information where he does tutorials, share tips and tricks, and even showcases some of his own work. In the summer of 2020, Matt already knew it was going to be a difficult winter, so he decided to start developing a snow sculpting club that he would launch later that year.
He hoped that having an activity that is outdoors, socially distanced, and that kids can participate in would help a lot of people get through an especially difficult winter. Anyone from anywhere in the world can be a part of the club, so long as they are willing to follow the principles of the club. There is even a whole section for kids with badges to colour and cut out as they work their way through the program. It starts with building your first snow tower, and it ends with sculpting a penguin. The best part is that it’s completely free to join the club, Matt believes snow sculpting can be for everyone so wanted to make sure all the resources were accessible to all.
The community Matt has created through snow sculpting is an unexpected result of him simply falling in love with an activity and wanting to share it with the world. While chatting, he said that, “half the […] fun is figuring out just how to build the towers and carve them, and the other half of the fun, that I didn’t expect, was all my neighbours walking by. We would get into these awesome conversations and just hang out.” Matt has been an inspiration to more than just his neighbours, there is an upcoming snow sculpting challenge in Riverview, New Brunswick that was inspired by him.
We will leave you with some advice from Matt. He recommended an easy project if this is your first try at snow sculpting. He recommends using a five-gallon pail to make your block, and then carving a gnome into it. Matt has an entire page on his website dedicated to teaching you how to make a snow gnome. So get out there, get sculpting, and if you feel like showing off your work make sure you use #snowsculptingclub so Matt can see what you make!