HFCC Hosts First Ice Carving Invitational

Sounds of chainsaws viciously coming to life, ice particles flailing strategically into the frost bitten air and unusually large ice cubes everywhere are not exactly common for many people during the winter. But for some students at HFCC, and many other colleges around the state, these things are eagerly anticipated during the months prior to ice carving season. On November 19, HFCC ice carving club advisor Richard Teeple, president Ditto and vice president Paul Nuzov of the HFCC Ice Carving team hosted their first invitational right on the grounds of the college.
Competitors at the invitational included four carvers from the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, two carvers from the Art Institute of Novi and five HFCC carvers, for a total of 11 participants.
Starting at 9:00 a.m., carvers were given one block of ice, weighing 300 pounds and measuring 10 x 20 x 40 inches, to carve whatever they chose using tools such as drills, chainsaws, ice picks and even a hot iron to model their masterpieces.
Carvers were given three hours to carve their block of ice, and if an “oops” occurred, there was a limited amount of ice blocks to use; however, carvers were not given any extra time. Walking around, one saw a variety of things, such as a wolf and a shark, and many spectators were confused as to what one blob of ice would turn out to be. Ice carving is a mysterious sport, leaving audiences in awe of what a few tools and an idea can do to a block of ice.
At 12:00 p.m., the time came for the final touches, an extra few minutes for those whose generators broke down, and then time was up. The gloves and hats were taken off, iPods were unplugged and each carver stepped back to admire his or her canvas of ice. Coaches shook hands with other coaches, carvers with carvers, carvers with coaches and talk went on of the final products. Finally, the judges took one last sweep of the carvings, and the crowd moved on to lunch, where the carvers anxiously awaited the judges’ decision.
Prizes for the invitational were provided by sponsors such as Elegant Ice Creations, Carhartt, Ice Crafters of Chicago, Wayne Lawn and Garden, Park Place Caterers, HFCC Hospitality Department, Comfort Inn of Taylor, J.R’s Ice Sculptures and the National Ice Carving Association.
Judges included National Ice Carving Association judges Jeff Petercsak, Kenneth Diederich, Greg Butauski, Stephan Koch and Brian Swift.
After lunch and all of the introductions, the winners were announced. The Art Institute of Novi’s Gregory Lewis, Jr. was awarded third place and received a “V” Bit, donated by Ice Crafters, a pair of Carhartt insulated leather palm gloves and a canvas fleece-lined Carhartt shirt for his entry, an angel fish.
Second place of a $50 Gift Creations Certificate for icesculptingtool.com donated by Elegant Ice Creations, Carhartt “work flex” pants, and lined rubber carving gloves donated by Ice Crafters, went to HFCC’s Chris Burnasah for his piece, an eagle.
Finally, winning not only first place, but also Carver’s Choice with his flying pig—which he named “Swine Flu”—was HFCC’s Jeff Lao. Lao won a three-hour workshop with Aaron Costic, donated by Elegant Ice Creations, a Carhartt arctic jacket, and lined rubber carving gloves donated by Ice Crafters, along with the Carver’s Choice prize of Carhartt insulated leather palm gloves.
The basic template of the invitational was for local carvers to have a chance for practice before major competitions and, cliché enough, for the invitational to be a “bonding” experience amongst carvers. The execution was successful, and the HFCC Ice Carving Club looks forward to the next competition, the Trenton Ice Fest on December 17, from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
The Ice Carving Clubs all around the nation provide yet another incredible form of art. It is not every day a person finds a passion for ice.

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