What Is Involved With Becoming an Ice Sculptor?


So many young ice carvers are interesting in exploring how they can possibly turn their craft into a career, but aren’t sure where to start. In all honesty, this particular form of art can be pretty difficult to tap into professionally, but with the right drive and a significant amount skill you may just end up with a successful career in something you’re passionate about.

What Is Involved With Becoming an Ice Sculptor? | Ice Crafters


Have a few questions about where to begin? We’ve got some answers:


What exactly does an Ice Sculptor do on a day-to-day basis?

When a project comes in for a sculptor, he will first sit with his client and discuss the vision and design for their sculpture. From there, plans will be drawn up and final approval will need to be given before a block of ice can even be touched. Once that approval has been given, a variety of different tools such as chainsaws, chisels, rotary tools, burrs, etc. will be used to bring the masterpiece to life. All of these tools and more are currently available at IceCrafters.com.


Where Does an Ice Sculptor Work?

This is entirely dependent on the individual path a sculptor has taken. While some professionals choose to work for or own their own sculpting company, others choose to work solely for culinary institutions. In other instances, a number of sculptors may choose to have a completely different full time career and use their ice sculpting skills in a side business or at sculpting competitions only.


How much does the average Ice Sculptor make?

Again, this can be very subjective based on the career path that you choose. According to 2010 statistics from The Bureau of Labor Statistics fine artists, such as sculptors, make an average annual salary of $61,760, whereas culinary arts professionals that offer special food services earned an annual income of $45,550.
How do I select a school for Ice Carving?

While there is no actual degree or certificate program dedicated to ice carving, there are plenty of schools that offer hospitality management and culinary arts programs, both of which often feature carving classes. While you may not get too far in depth, you will at least be introduced to the craft and get a chance to familiarize yourself with various carving tools and safety procedures. Getting a bit of experience will help you if you ever decide to seek out an apprenticeship.


Regardless of whether you choose to go full force towards a career in ice carving or if you’re more interested in sticking to the pure fun of competitions, IceCrafters.com will always have everything that you need. Browse through our inventory today and get carving!


(Posted by: Alice Connelly of Ice Crafters)


The Types of Ice Used In Ice Carving


If you are unfamiliar with the art of ice carving, you may believe that each sculptor just uses the same, simple block of ice for every piece that they create. However, in order for an artist to get the desired affect that will make their vision come to life, the type of ice they use has to take some serious consideration.

The Types of Ice Used In Ice Carving | Ice Crafters


Can Ice – Can ice is a traditional type of ice that was most often used for carving and can be purchased at 55” and 46” tall. Smaller ice blocks can be 43”-45” tall and weigh 350 pounds, while larger blocks can weigh 450 pounds and are called “450’s”.


Can ice is made by putting the can in brine and generating a core with a bubbler or pump, which is put down the middle of the can. Stirring and agitation cause the outside of the block to freeze clear, with the impurities settling in the center, forming the core or feather.


Some advantages of can ice include that it comes out of the freezer ready to be carved, it can be created faster than other types of ice and it is easier to work with because of the core. It is also cheaper than other ice types.


Clear Ice – Clear ice, or Clinebell blocks are beautifully crystal clear blocks of ice made from the bottom up within a well with spring hinges. Pumps circulate the water, with the impurities rising to the top to be shaved off later. The time period for creating two Cinebell blocks in one machine is about 3-4 days.


The advantages of Clinebell blocks include, of course, their clarity, their consistency in that each block is 40”x20”, with a depth of between 9 ½”-10”, and the ease of staking on their flat surfaces.


Natural Ice – Natural ice is harvested from man-made ponds that are bubble- and algae-free. It can come in a host of different sizes, with the greatest variation being the ice’s thickness. These blocks were also used at the World Championships in Fairbanks, Alaska, measuring at 4’x5’x32” and 4’x8’x32”. The depth of these blocks can go up to 36”.


Advantages of natural ice include the gorgeous blue color and the fact that it is thought to be the best ice for carving.


So all ice is not the same and each different type appeals to the individual sculptor and his project. If you are an ice sculptor or aspire to be one, do your research on the different ice types before carving. Then let your imagination go wild, and create!


(Source: National Ice Carving Association)


(Posted by: Alice Connelly of Ice Crafters)


Greg Batauski Wins the 2014 National Ice Carving Championship Title


Greg Butauski is used to working in a very cold office. He is the national ice carving champion out of Sunbury, Ohio. A former international champion, Butauski is now preparing to compete in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games.

Greg Batauski Wins the 2014 National Ice Carving Championship Title | Ice Crafters


Butauski has been refining his talents as an ice carver since the early 1990’s, gaining international attention in sculpting for events in Ohio where his business, Rock On Ice, is located. Butauski carves up to 2500 ice sculptures each year and when he is asked about his unusual success in a very unique industry, he says, “I get the same reaction (from a lot of people): ‘You can make a living out of that?’ or ‘What do you do in the summer?” he said. “I say, ‘Yes, and in the summer I carve ice.’


Getting his start at the University of Akron, Butauski majored in engineering before finding his passion for carving ice sculptures. Walking around outside of his dorm one day, he came upon a gentleman carving ice. Totally enchanted with the idea of learning this skill, Butauski did some research and found out that he could learn ice carving in the culinary arts program at the university.


He immediately changed his major to Culinary Arts with a focus on ice carving. Now, over twenty years later, Butauski has converted an old barn into his office and workspace, which houses three ice machines that produce 50 blocks of ice each month. Even with so much ice, Butauski actually runs out often and purchases ice to keep his work going. Using a bandsaw, drills and carving tools, he cuts the blocks of ice down to a manageable size for sculpturing.


Butauski’s commissioned event pieces are mostly things that are easily recognizable, like swans, but for his national competitions, he is able to use his imagination and truly create works of art. In one of his two-day competitions, Butauski created a piece titled, Miracle Grow, which was the image of a woman morphing out of a flower.


Today, Butauski’s business is a family affair. No longer working out of a warehouse in Columbus, he has moved to a more rural location where his wife, Jill manages his website and his daughters are his muse and inspiration. His daughters even get to reap the benefit of having such a talented and artistic father; his oldest daughter’s birthday party will be decorated with ice sculptures from the movie, Frozen.


Though Butauski also loves to carve other things, such as pumpkins during the fall season, his greater passion will always be the chill of the ice.


(Source: LimaOhio.com)

(Posted by: Alice Connelly of Ice Crafters)


The History of Ice Sculpting


As much as we all enjoy the act of creating ice sculptures and participating in ice sculpting competitions around the world, how many times do we actually stop and think about what we’re doing? How many times have you wondered, who even thought of ice sculpting in the first place? As incredible as it is, it is sort of an unusual craft and we can’t help but wonder who the first person was to decide that ice was something that could be transformed into works of art.


The History of Ice Sculpting | Ice Crafters

Well in actuality, the history of ice sculpting isn’t entirely clear. According to an article from BBC Travel, the first instances of people actually using ice as a resource were recorded nearly 4,000 years ago in present-day Alaska, Canada and Greenland. Natives in these particular regions would gather ice and snow and use them to build houses, much like the igloos we see and/or hear about today. From there, the uses and benefits of ice became more heavily recognized throughout the world. For instance, in 600 BC, farmers in northwestern China would flood their fields, wait for the water to freeze and then harvest and store blocks of ice to help preserve seafood and other perishables.


From there, it wasn’t long before individuals came to realize that the ice could be sculpted into different shapes by using salts and various tools. Not only did fishermen in Chinese province, Heilongjiang start lanterns from ice in the 1600s, but in 1739 Russian empress Anna Ivanovna ordered the construction of the first known ice palace, to be used to special events.


Today, ice palaces are still being constructed in some of the largest ice sculpting competitions in the world, with some countries even creating ice towns for the entertainment of tourists and enthusiasts alike. It has grown in such popularity that ice sculpting competitions are even being featured in the Olympics, not as a sport, but as a Cultural Olympiad event.


So regardless of how muddled and unclear the history of ice sculpting may be, there’s no mistaking how far it has managed to come. At any rate, here at Ice Crafters, we couldn’t be happier with the progress!


(Posted by: Alice Connelly of Ice Crafters)


2014 BP World Ice Art Championships in Fairbanks, Alaska!


In its 25th year of hosting, Ice Alaska will soon welcome back the BP World Ice Art Championships and we highly encourage competitors to get their tools and equipment together as soon as possible! Taking place in Fairbanks, AK from February 24th-March 30th, the event is jam packed with all sorts of fantastic ice sculpting fun, so be sure to make your plans and get your affairs in order now if you haven’t already.


2014 BP World Ice Art Championships in Fairbanks, Alaska | Ice Crafters

While there is plenty more for adults and kids to do while out enjoying Ice Alaska, the Championship is hands down the main event. This year alone, Fairbanks will host over 100 ice artists from nine different countries and many areas around the United States. Will you be one of them? If not, that’s okay! Sometimes being a spectator can be the most fun, anyway!


The first big competition will take place from the first day on February 24th-26th and is recognized as the Single Block Classic World Ice Art Championships. Starting from 9am that Monday until 9pm on Wednesday, teams of one or two will be given an ice block measuring 5’ x 8’ x 3’ to create their sculpture. The results are usually incredible and the winner will be announced at a ceremony on Thursday February 27th at 8pm.


On March 1st-6th, spectators will be treated to the Multi-Block Classic, featuring teams of two to four sculptors who are given 10 ice blocks measuring 4’ x 6’ x 3’ to work with. As various pieces are stacked on top of one another with the help of skilled lift operators, audience members will be thrilled to see some sculptures reach possible heights of more than 25 feet! The awards ceremony for this particular event will be held on Friday, March 7th and cash prizes will be given to those who rank from 1st-10th place. Additionally, awards will go to those who are voted Artists’ Choice, Governors’ Choice and People’s Choice.


For more information about these events, as well as the Amateur Open Exhibition and Youth Classic, visit IceAlaska.com and make your way up North later this month to support your fellow ice crafters!


(Posted by: Alice Connelly of Ice Crafters)


A Little Bit of Spice and a Whole Lot of Ice


If you happen to be around the Bay Harbor area this weekend, we’ve got a great event that you’re definitely going to want to check out! Considering the fact that you are reading this entry, we’re going to go ahead and assume that ice sculpting is something that you have an interest in. However, sometimes standing around in the freezing cold is a less-than-pleasant price to pay when it comes to seeing some of the work in action. Thankfully, the 2014 Bay Harbor Ice and Spice Festival has a way of making your time in the cold deliciously fun!


2014 Bay Harbor Ice and Spice Festival in Bay Harbor, MI | Ice Crafters

Yes, you read that descriptive adjective right – we said “delicious”. Odd way to describe an ice sculpting competition, right? Well not when you consider the fact that this unique type of festival is a pairing of ice sculptures and hot, tasty chili.


Held this weekend, January 17-18, 2014 in the village of Bay Harbor, MI, the Ice and Spice Festival is an extremely unique event that blends two worlds that you would never expect to collide. On one side of the spectrum, you have professional and amateur ice carving competitions being held on both Friday and Saturday. The festival is certified by the National Ice Carving Association (NICA) and participants will be competing for more than $12,000 in cash and medals. Then once the competition is over and the winners have been chosen, each ice sculpture will be left on display throughout the Bay Harbor village for as long as the weather permits.


Then come Saturday, attendees will be treated to the Pro-Am Ice & Spice Chili Challenge in a heated tent on the Village lawn. The first place winner for both the professional and amateur divisions will each go home with a $500 prize and all proceeds will go towards benefiting the Backpack 4 Kids Program through the Manna Food Project. Looking to warm up after watching the carving competitions? A minimum $5 donation will enable you to taste and vote for your favorite!


The event is free and open to the public so stop on through to try some delicious chili and support your fellow ice carving enthusiasts! For more information about the event and its various activities, visit visitmichiganupnorth.com.


(Posted by: Alice Connelly of Ice Crafters)


Collegiate Ice Carving Invitational Invades Holland, MI


Each January, as a fresh new year begins, Downtown Holland, MI forms a partnership with the National Ice Carving Association (NICA) to put on an Ice Sculpting Invitational and Competition to remember. This is a weekend-long invitational that is jam-packed with all sorts of fun and excitement, so trust us when we tell you that you aren’t going to want to miss it!


2014 Collegiate Ice Carving Invitational Invades Holland, MI | Ice Crafters

This year’s collegiate competition will take place January 10,2013 until the 11th where talented students will take chisels, torches, hammers, chainsaws and whatever else they need to create beautiful works of art out of blocks of ice! Friday’s competition will require contestants to carve a “buffet style” sculpture out of a block of ice in an hour and a half. On Saturday, participants will have four hours to create a sculpture of their choice in a freestyle competition.


If any of you ice sculpting enthusiasts are in the area during this particular weekend, we would highly recommend that you make time to check out this competition! Come out watch these talented students carve and chisel beautiful creations out of a block of ice and you may just get a glimpse at the next generation’s greatest ice sculptor! The Downtown Holland area will be transformed into a winter wonderland of fascinating ice sculptures, so even if you’re just passing through, you’re sure to be treated to a breath-taking sight.


Wander through Holland and watch the process from beginning to end. You will be amazed at what can result from a chunk of ice and who knows – you may even discover a new passion yourself!


(Posted by: Alice Connelly of Ice Crafters)



New Guinness World Record is Set in Ice Sculpting!


It’s been a very exciting few weeks in the world of ice sculpting! If you haven’t yet heard, allow us to be the first to tell you that the official record for the world’s fastest time to carve 60 ice sculptures was shattered on Sunday, October 20, 2013. It was on that day that Richard Daly, became the new record holder at roughly 3pm, when he completed the feat in just 2 hours and 52 minutes. That’s almost half the time it took former record-holder, Richard Bubin, who had previously clocked in at 4 hours and 20 minutes.


New Guinness World Record is Set in Ice Sculpting - Photo Courtesy: news.scrantonchamber.com

The spectacle took place in The Ice House at Sculpted Ice Works facility in Lakeville, PA, where hundreds of onlookers watched history unfold. With Guinness World Record Adjudicator there to oversee everything, there were a few guidelines that Daly needed to adhere to. For starters, for each piece to be considered a sculpture, it would need to be carved 3D and be a recognizable shape or design. Additionally, the materials that needed to be used were not just your everyday ice blocks; each needed to be a verified, industry-standard 300-pound ice block, measuring 10” x 20” and 40” tall.


With the proper materials in front of him, only Daly was permitted to alter the shape of the ice block, while his six-man team proved to be helpful in moving each block into place for him, keeping time and clearing space for the next block once he was ready. With the support of his team, Daly was able to carve each piece in two to three minutes.


So what did Daly use to make his 60 world record-worthy sculptures come to life? Stihl electric chainsaws, a die grinder with a 5” rotary knife, a die grinder with a 4” long by 1” diameter burr and apparently, a lot of muscle! All of the tools Richard Daly used are available at www.icecrafters.com – minus the muscle of course!


At any rate, we’re happy to see new and exciting things happening in the world of ice sculptures! Congratulations to Daly from the Ice Crafters team!


(Source: news.scrantonchamber.com)


(Posted by: Alice Connelly of Ice Crafters)



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