Frost shavings were flying outside Sherwood House Vineyards in Jamesport Saturday afternoon, where Rich Daly took to the winery’s front lawn to carve a giant sculpture of Santa Claus made entirely of ice.
Dozens of spectators, many of them with cameras and wine glasses in hand, braved chilly outdoor conditions to watch Mr. Daly, a professional ice carver from Mastic Beach, transform 1,200 pounds of ice into the image of Old Saint Nick — a feat that took four hours to complete.
“You really just make it up as you go along,” Mr. Daly, 33, said as he used a chainsaw to slice through one 300-pound block of ice. “Every time you make a sculpture, you’re practicing and getting better.”
Mr. Daly, a culinary arts teacher at William Floyd High School in Mastic Beach, has been carving ice sculptures for the past 13 years. He learned the skill while studying culinary arts at Johnson & Wales University and runs his own business, Ice Melodies, Inc.
“I picked it up, had a knack for it and started competing,” he said.
This October, Mr. Daly earned the distinction of “Fastest Time to Carve 60 Ice Sculptures” from the Guinness Book of World Records, a record previously set in 2002 by Richard Bubin, a fellow American.
The challenge was exhausting, Mr. Daly said, but he managed to beat the previous record by 90 minutes.
“I could barely stand when I was done,” Mr. Daly said. “I carved 20,000 pounds of ice in under three hours.”
When asked what he enjoys most about ice sculpting, Mr. Daly was quick to answer.
“The traveling,” he said. “I get to go all over the place.”