Ice carvers are a real chip off the old block

Fire and Ice festival will show off some really cool talent

The forecast this weekend calls for sunshine… great news for the thousands of people who will be flocking to Qualicum Beach for the 20th annual Fire and Ice Festival.

Hopefully the warm weather won’t create too many challenges for the ice carvers who will be chiseling into blocks of ice and transforming them into amazing sculptures.

There will be 18 ice carvers at various locations throughout town, some professional and some amateur but all vying for a cash prize.

On the panel of judges is Stewart McTavish and the culinary artist from Parksville who makes ice sculptures for events he caters said the carvers have to take the weather into consideration on Saturday.

“It is May… most competitions are in the winter so this is one of the more difficult ice carving competitions,” he admitted.

He said if the ice is carved the right way the design should be able to last despite the weather.

“If you carve it properly it looks even better as it melts… it goes crystal clear and there is a little bit of drama to it.”

McTavish has been making art work out of frozen water with the tools of the trade, chainsaws and ice picks for about 18 years now and he has been a judge at Fire and Ice for many years.

He said when he is handing out marks for the crystalline works of wonder there are several criteria.

“The first thing you look for is excitement… the wow factor, then the technical skill and difficulty of what they are doing.”

He said if there is a beautiful sculpture but he has  seen it before, he won’t be impressed.

“I don’t want to see a copy.”

He said the carving must be creative as well as symmetrical and there are some technical considerations that come into play.

“If they fuse a block of ice together it has to balanced properly so it doesn’t fall apart,” he said.

The ice blocks are made through a special process.  They are frozen in tubs of brine in an aluminum vat and there are tubes that go in and suck out air.

McTavish said the ice is a strong as granite but the blocks must sit out for three hours to temper them before they can be carved or they will crack.

“The ice should have consistency of hard soap before you carve it,” stated the accomplished carver.

Cash prizes are awarded for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd best ice sculptures. There will also be an Honorable Mention cash prize for the most interesting sculpture not placing in the top three.

McTavish will be using his expensive razor sharp chisel, (he paid $700 for it 18 years ago) as well as his chainsaw to create some ice art in front of Quality Foods during an ice carving demo.

 

If you want a feast for your eyes and well as your taste buds, don’t miss the fun filled day which goes from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in downtown Qualicum Beach May 5.

 

 

Just Posted

The Arrowsmith Search and Rescue Society has outgrown its home at the Coombs-Hilliers Fire Department and will soon move to its new operations hall at the Qualicum Beach Airport. (PQB News file photo)
The Qualicum Beach Farmers Market is one of the organizations approved for a grant-in-aid by the Town of Qualicum Beach. (PQB News file photo)
COVID-19: Town of Qualicum Beach awards $80K in relief funds to community groups

Pandemic has put a financial strain on many organizations

The remains of the Mid-Island Co-op in Whiskey Creek along the Alberni Highway on Friday, June 18, after a blaze the day before devastated the gas station. (Michael Briones photo)
VIDEO: Whiskey Creek gas station destroyed by fire after camper van explosion

Nine fire departments responded to the incident, no injuries reported

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

Things are looking up for Vancouver Island as zero COVID-19 cases have been reported for the first time since October. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Island records zero new COVID-19 cases for the first time since October

For the first time since October, the province is reporting zero new… Continue reading

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Bruce Springsteen performs at the 13th annual Stand Up For Heroes benefit concert in support of the Bob Woodruff Foundation in New York on Nov. 4, 2019. (Greg Allen/Invision/AP)
Canadians who got AstraZeneca shot can now see ‘Springsteen on Broadway’

B.C. mayor David Screech who received his second AstraZeneca dose last week can now attend the show

Most Read