After a few additional job transitions, traveling and endless practice, Randy and Derek started carving ice and selling it locally using their car trunk as a makeshift studio. They would drive to a hotel or banquet hall, open up the trunk filled with tools, and sculpt a block of ice right on location. They worked long hours as full-time chefs in order to support themselves along with this second job to fuel their new-found passion for ice sculpting. With hardly a penny in the bank yet determined to succeed, Randy and Derek invested everything they had to open Ice Sculptures Ltd in 1994. Some of their earliest sculptures included swans, hearts and buffet pieces made for country clubs throughout Detroit and Grand Rapids, Mich. More than 15 years later, the company is thriving and has more than 10 employees. The projects just keep getting bigger as the chainsaw-wielding team creates out-of-this-world ice sculptures for countless clients and special events. The company motto remains simple yet focused: Anything worth doing is worth overdoing.
Randy and Derek’s ice carving methods are unparalleled to others in the industry. Many of their techniques and ideas are shared in “Ice Sculpting the Modern Way” (Delmar Learning, 2004) their co-authored book with Robert Garlough, now used worldwide to teach ice sculpting. They were among the first in the industry to fully-incorporate computerized ice sculpting technology (commonly known as an “ice-carving robot”) into their work. Randy and Derek also thrive off competition; they placed among the top 25 in “Artprize,” the world’s largest art contest held every September in Grand Rapids, Mich. They also coached the ice sculptor on the U.S. Pastry team that won “Best Ice Sculpture” in the 2009 Coupe du Monde de la Patisserie in Lyon, France. They currently coach the ice sculptor for the 2011 competition as well. Randy and Derek both live in Grand Rapids, Mich. within a few miles of their office.