By Rachel Carasso
Ice, ice, baby
Greg Hathaway, a Student Union Dining Services chef, is a professional ice sculptor. His weapon is an electric Shindawa chainsaw that he uses to delicately shape 300-pound blocks of ice.
Hathaway, who sculpts ice in his free time, uses special Japanese ice sculpture chisels to add the details to his frozen works of art.
The University of Arizona hired Hathaway Jan. 28 to sculpt a Wildcat with a Pacific 10 Conference logo for the visiting Pac-10 Student Union Directors. He also hacked an eagle out of ice on the UA Mall in August and sculpted a tiger Jan. 19 for the Chinese New Year.
Although the university does not pay Hathaway to make the sculptures, it does purchase the massive $35 ice blocks from a local company.
Hathaway became interested in crystallized water art when he started working at a local hotel in 1982.
"I started out watching the other chefs make ice sculptures for events, and I knew right away that I could do it," Hathaway said.
He learned his art from Stephen Green, who Hathaway said is known for being one of the nation's best ice sculptors. Green helped Hathaway and other ice sculptors enter nation-wide competitions.
Hathaway said he has made about 400 ice sculptures since 1982.
"I get better and better every time I do one," Hathaway said.
He said mild weather is best for creating the sculptures.
"I don't do too many of these in the summer, and I try not to do it in the mornings when there will be direct sunlight on the ice," Hathaway said.
The ice Hathaway uses, which has less air bubbles than regular ice cubes, looks almost like glass.
"The neatest thing for me is the kids who watch and have to come up and touch it to believe it's really ice," Hathaway said.
Hathaway, who said he doesn't have a favorite sculpture, said deciding what to create is his favorite part of the process.
"The best thing is when you have done a figure so many times that you have all the cuts memorized and can create the same sculpture over and over," Hathaway said.