If I got a dollar for every time that I’ve been asked, “what’s the most amazing ice sculpture you’ve ever carved” or “what’s the biggest ice sculpture you’ve ever carved” I’d have earned some serious cash. People are always intrigued by what’s extreme and what’s bigger and better and faster. I don’t know if we get bored with the everyday and average around us or what.
We enjoy that as much as anyone. Few things give a rush like getting an order for an ice sculpture like we’ve never done before. That’s how it felt when the Vancouver Convention Centre called on us to produce a centerpiece for a party they were throwing for a 1000 event and destination planners they were hosting in Vancouver. The resulting 10’ diameter chandelier that was fifteen feet high and housing an eight foot mega stalagmite ranks as one of those “biggest” and “most extravagant” ice sculptures. I should hasten to say though that the whole experience was kind of impersonal. Understandably so given the nature of the event. We were very much a means to an end a very specific end. And that was to make Vancouver look like the place to have your destination wedding or host your next corporate event. We had one meeting with key people putting the whole event together and another working out the logistics the day before. All very professional and well executed. I’m reminded of our business motto; “we look good if you look good.”
But not all ice sculpture jobs can look like this or, for that matter, come with that kind of price tag. The vast majority of them are average and done for an entirely different reason.
I tip my hat to the guy looking for an ice sculpture that is just for his girl and no one else. Or the Mom, who wants to surprise her daughter with a sculpture just because she heard her talk about it years ago as something that she would someday love to have at her wedding. These calls come something like this; “I don’t have a lot of money but there’s this idea I’ve had for along time about making our engagement really special.” When I get those calls I often ask to meet with the guy or the girl or both because I want to get drawn into it for them and make sure that it gets all of the “heart” they want to give it. One of my favorites was this guy who was planning to ask for his girlfriend’s hand in marriage at this small restaurant in an even smaller room tucked away at the back. He arranged it all down to the last details. That’s right, this was a guy doing all the planning. We were to come at just the perfect time with the perfect small ice sculpture to be surrounded by candles creating just the perfect mood for the moment they would both be remembering for a lifetime. Wow.. “Will you marry me?” with one of our ice sculptures. Who says it’s about the money? The one thing I missed was being able to hang around long enough to see the moment. But you can bet I asked him how it went when we spoke a few days later. And there was a smile on my face when he told me how special the little ice sculpture had made it for her.
Now sometimes us ice carvers get caught up with the most special of special occasions and meeting some of the most special and endearing people do it. We’re all about creating memories for people. One couple came to me with a picture of this very special piece of art they had bought in Europe and asking me to replicate it for them in an ice sculpture. What was challenging was the fact that it consisted of blended colors all laid out in a way that meant something very special to them and only them. I love those challenges. And I love it even more when the customer shows it on their faces that we have done a good job. That’s some reward.
This gets to the heart of, well, our hearts. Why do we do what we do? Anyone can tell you that money only goes so far when it comes to making you enjoy what you do. Sooner or later you will long for something to “pour yourself into” so that you have meaning and purpose… Yah, a nice pay cheque at the end of an event always goes a long way to keeping the doors open and the fires lit. But coming away with a smile on our lips and praises for a job well done, that fulfills like few other things do.
Thank you for reading!
Until next time… #theicemen