Winnipeg ice carver excited to display work after months of preparation

Winnipeg ice carver Corby Pearce says harvesting the ice for projects is a very cool process. Iris Dyck / Global News

Winnipeg ice carver Corby Pearce is excited to display his work in the city at The Forks as well as some walking trails on Sunday.

He says he is using ice he harvested a couple of weeks ago.

“I am cutting it into pillars that will be lining the walking trail tomorrow night, as well as a larger sculpture to be at The Forks and some bigger pieces that’ll be doing some live demonstrations there tomorrow.”

Pearce says harvesting the ice for these projects is a very cool process.

“We’ll find a big field in the middle of the river. We’ll keep it as clean as we can of snow for as long as possible during the winter,” he said.

“We’ll cut the lines and we’ll do cross cuts and then we use bobcats and other machinery to just scoop up under the ice.

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“Then from there the ice gets put on a mill and once it’s milled and set up it can be delivered to the places where people need it to do ice carving projects,” he says.

For the past two weeks, downtown Winnipeg has been decorated with ice sculptures, made by Pearce and other sculptors from around the globe.

These blocks will be carved and lit to decorate the river walk at night.

Pearce has been working with ice since 1999 and this winter carved out some time to bring his passion to the public.

“It’s always been here, but we wanted to bring it to a bigger, better level,” he says.

“The exposure that the art got, it was perfect, it was exactly what we were looking for.”

And the passion for the craft is being shared across the city and province.

At Festival du Voyageur, full-time ice sculptor John Wade is teaching carvers of all ages how to chip away at their own masterpieces.

And It’s hard for him to describe what’s drawn him to the craft for the past 30 years.

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“For some reason, I could just see into it and I see something. I may not be able to draw it or anything like that, but I can see it.”

Although his creations can disappear in a single sunny afternoon, Pearce says the passion for the art in Winnipeg is here to stay.

“Everything I’ve ever done is gone. You have that moment to enjoy it, you’re either there or you’re not, and then it’s gone forever.”

Pearce says he wanted to bring the craft to a bigger and better level in the city and he did so by starting the first-ever international ice sculpture competition in Winnipeg called “Winterscape.”

The competition was held at the beginning of February and the idea was to share the passion with Winnipeggers.

“We had two students that had never carved ice before and are now completely in love with it,” he says.

“So it was exactly what we wanted to do with it and the exposure that the art got was perfect. It was exactly what we were looking for.”

With files from Global’s Iris Dyck

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World’s largest ‘Snow Maze’ almost ready to welcome visitors

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