I’m sitting here at the Lieutenant Governor General’s mansion in Victoria waiting to set up an ice sculpture. How in the world did we get here? I’m simply amazed. When we look back down memory lane to those first few sculptures when everything we did was new and scary, I can only shake my head.
So how did we get on the map? I mentioned the website. That helped a whole lot. But there were other people and events that helped. Ronaldo comes to mind. A total stranger, he called us from Montreal with a great idea to join forces with him and his Champagne Showgirls (you know the kind that have high heels feathers on their heads). Ice would make a super addition and he would call it Champagne Ice. His contacts and sales savvy, plus our ice. That’s how we landed the contract to do all of the Vancouver Club’s Christmas ice sculptures. Candelabras, reindeer’s, Santa’s etc etc, thousands of dollars worth of panic. I would carve late into the night and Valerie would drive the ice sculptures into Vancouver after taking the kids to school in the mornings. Their events were spread over a few weeks. Thanks to the Vancouver Club for their faith in us (if not Ronaldo). We never did meet him and his idea soon fizzled out. But we didn’t. Soon there was more work at the Club. Big stuff (there’s another story here). That effort landed us another job in Penticton for the Liberal Convention. They asked for a Fire and Ice bar made entirely out of ice. And so it went, order after order.
How do you carve a full blown ice bar when your garage studio is only 8 feet wide and 11 feet long? You crawl around under the counters to get around it. And you lie wake at night wondering how you got yourself into this pickle. This was the beginning of me have recurring nightmares that there was an ice sculpture under my bed. It was melting and I couldn’t remember where I was supposed to deliver it. Sometimes I would wake up groping around under the bed only to hear Valerie say, “get into bed, there’s nothing there.”
By now we had bought a real block maker from Clinebell in Colorado and then another one. It was now obvious that we needed more space. So with another leap of faith we sold our house and bought and acreage that came with a shop that was big enough for our block makers and more. Then we built a 400 square foot studio and began adding more tools of the trade. Julian (from Ice Culture) was right, we did know when the time was right and we bought a CNC to help with all the volume. And we did know when it was right for me to quit my full time job at Bethesda Christian Association. It helped for Vancouver to win the bid for the 2010 winter Olympics. Time to take the plunge. Three years of “should we do it now?” and we plunged full steam into Ice Decor.
There’s so much more that could be told here to do with the lessons we learned along the way. Its been a faith walk for sure. Up the road I’ll have to tell you how we got the kids involved. That’s been extra special. They’ve all married and moved out but our oldest son Nathan returned to full time with me.
There you go, a book’s worth of story in three short chapters. Now the fun stuff. How do you transport the ice sculptures? What do you do when the traffic is stalled on the highway and your delivery is due? Stay tuned for that and more. Thank you for reading!