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Snow provides medium for area amateur artists

February 10, 2010 12:35 am


A snow terra-cotta warrior guards a Fox Point yard. lo0210snowfigurescr3.jpg

A small snowman perches on a Hawke Street porch. lo0210snowfigurescr6.jpg

Snow gardener takes a tea break on Brent Street. lo0210snowfigurescr5.jpg

A Victorian snow woman poses in a hoop skirt. lo0210snowfigurescr4.jpg

A godlike figure watches over Caroline Street. lo0210snowfigurescr1.jpg

Eric Hetzer (left) and Justin Owens show off Fort Mort, which they constructed with snow on Mortimer Street in Fredericksburg.


A bunch of 20-something men weren't about to let the snow defeat them.

Justin Owens, Eric Hetzer and a few of their friends united their skills and college majors--in art, history and geography--in a battle to overcome the evil force that threatened to keep them stuck inside.

The result?

"Fort Mort," an igloo/man cave about 10 feet wide where the young men sat on plastic buckets in arctic temperatures and did what some guys like to do best.

Drink beer.

"We've been out there several times," Owens said yesterday.

The men also let neighborhood kids look around their impressive digs--after they disposed of beer bottles and cases. The guys named the structure Fort Mort because it's on Mortimer Street in Fredericksburg.

"We wanted to do something epic in the snow," said Owens, crowing that "we've got the intelligence, the skills and the smarts to do it."

They filled city recycling bins with snow--each weighing about 50 pounds--and stacked them up, four levels deep. They used parts of an old fence for the roof, covered it with snow and planted a makeshift flag made out of an old pair of blue boxer shorts.

Across the Fredericksburg region, a few creative residents did more with the snow than push it into dirty piles as tall as retaining walls.

They turned the meltable medium into works of art.

Here are a few noteworthy examples discovered yesterday. Unfortunately, not all the artists could be identified.


There's a snowman that looked like a terra-cotta warrior, standing guard on Avery Street in Fox Point, a subdivision in Spotsylvania County. Dana and Wes Marshall and their 12-year-old son, Spencer, had seen the National Geographic exhibit in Washington last month and decided that if the Chinese could make 6,000 soldiers them from clay, they could craft one from snow.

The details of their work were impressive, from the bun atop its head to the rivets in its uniform. The Marshalls used a 2-foot statue they'd had in their house as a model.

Equally lifelike was a snowy statue in the 100 block of Caroline Street in Fredericksburg. The face looked as handsome as a Greek god--and the pectoral muscles weren't too shabby, either.

In front of the Maury Commons condominiums stood a snowy Southern belle in a hoop skirt. She was assembled during the height of Saturday's storm by two residents--known by their first names only, Pedro and Francisco--then decorated by JoAnne Jenks.

Jenkins gave her a hairdo of pine boughs and gold garland decorated with snowflakes. She added nickels for eyes and a curled piece of red plastic from some sort of Lego set for a mouth.

She draped a silver satin cape over her shoulders and a lavender ribbon around her waist.

Monday's warmer temperatures caused the snow lady's proportions to shift a bit--and the rouge on her face to melt and look ghoulish.

After Jenkins and her son did reconstructive surgery, the belle no longer had a waistline as slim as Scarlett O'Hara's--or a chest like Dolly Parton's.


Jerry Bradley was dreaming of better weather when she could get out in the garden again. That's why she made a snowman sitting in an Adirondack chair, with an umbrella, sunglasses and gardening gloves.

The snowman sits behind her house in the city, sipping something from a red cup.

Sweet tea, of course.

"After you shovel so you can get out and go to work, you have to have some fun," Bradley said.


If you're wondering what to give your special valentine, take a cue from the present someone left for the Girvan family of Fredericksburg.

The Girvans had been in Colorado for almost a week, where father and husband Ross Girvan had a conference. They came home Monday night to find a petite snow creature on their porch, with tiny bits of wood for eyes and bigger pieces of bark for buttons.

Daughters Emily and McKenzie added a colorful stocking cap and scarf.

The Girvans thought it was the perfect welcome-home gift, after they'd been to the mecca for skiers.

"Denver had no snow when we got there," Ross Girvan said. One of the ski resorts, Copper Mountain, "didn't have all its runs open because there wasn't enough snow."


Cathy Dyson: 540/374-5425

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