Written By Kurt Fekete
A couple of times each winter season here in Maine, if you’re lucky, you get that perfect modeling snow. Not too wet, not too powdery, but that just right snow that packs easily but isn’t overly soggy. On those days, once the driveway and porches are cleared off, Zsa Zsa and I set off to work on creating an original snow sculpture. Over the past ten years or so we’ve made some fantastic creatures—an enormous rabbit, Zsa Zsa’s cat, Daisy (the snowball tail was a real challenge), a true to scale great white shark consuming Zsa Zsa, the Little Mermaid, a huge platypus, a kangaroo with joey (to raise awareness and support Australian wildlife in crisis during the wildfires of late 2019 and early 2020), and even a massive turkey after an early season snowfall on Thanksgiving Day! But, up until now, we’ve never attempted to sculpt a bust of a human being. Zsa Zsa is a sophomore in high school and really enjoys art, and recently told me how much she wanted to sculpt a human head, albeit, out of clay. Our first big snowfall of the year was perfect for sculpting, but as it was smack in the middle of high school midterms, Zsa Zsa didn’t have the time to build anything too large. So, with a bit of coaxing and a promise of hot cocoa with extra marshmallows, I convinced her to do a smaller snow sculpture that we could complete in under an hour. Since we spent a November weekend with a marble bust of Swedenborg at the Boston church of the New Jerusalem and as we recently returned from the SCYL winter retreat, making a Swedenborg bust was the natural choice. We’ve spent much time working together as a team and time was short, so we constructed quickly and efficiently. As usual, I did the heavy lifting, by bringing in the snow, building the base, and rolling the ball to form the head. Once the structure was roughed out, Zsa Zsa immediately started in on carving the facial features while I frantically worked around her rolling cylinders and attaching them to the sides of the head to form those famous wig curls. We laughed as the “wig powder” came down naturally from the sky as light snowfall continued while we worked. In just about forty-five minutes we completed the whole project. It came together easily and honestly the most difficult part was capturing a picture that showed Zsa Zsa’s wonderful work on the facial details (she even insisted on adding wrinkle creases to the forehead and around the eyes and mouth after I thought we were finished). Zsa Zsa is nearly sixteen now and our times snow sculpting together are drawing to a close. Soon she will be going off to college and I’ll be left behind with just the memories of all our fun times working and playing together in the snow. But until then, if the weather cooperates, if the temperature hits that ideal sweet spot, if the snow falls at just the right time, maybe, just maybe, I’ll find a couple more opportunities to sculpt in the snow with Zsa Zsa and make a few more memories together.
Read the full issue of the January/February 2023 Messenger
Meet Kurt Fekete
Kurt Fekete is the vice president of the Swedenborgian Church of North America. He has been been the Youth Director for the denomination for over 20 years.