By Christian Price, News9.com' Insite Team
Chips off a 300 pound block of ice fall to his feet as he methodically carves his creation.
Ken Burkemper started his business, Ideas In Ice, in 1989. At the time, a fad was emerging and he saw an opportunity which he took.
"I got into it as a chef. It was another medium of food for me to work with as a chef," Burkemper said. "I did it for banquets and country clubs, hotels primarily."
Today, Burkemper is busy filling orders for customers from Tulsa to Dallas. He creates ice art work ranging from corporate logos to weddings center pieces. He is quick to point out that his pieces don't necessarily have to be "monolithic".
"A lot of people don't realize that we can actually do little miniature pieces and put them on individual guest tables instead of a bouquet of flowers or a set of balloons," Burkemper said. "You can actually have an individual ice sculpture on your table."
John Flottman is Burkemper's nephew. He has been working with and learning from his uncle for the past four years.
"I'm getting pretty good at it. I do like what I do and it's a passion of mine, "Flottman said. "Sculpture in general is a passion of mine."
Flottman has won Oklahoma City's local ice carving competition for the last two years in a row. Now he's taking his talent to Chicago to compete on a national level.
"I'm headed to Chicago for the National Restaurant Association Food Show convention and ice carving competion they have every year," Flottman said.
The competition will be a series of heat races timed. Eight sculptors from the United States will be competing in this winner take all event.
Flottman is aware of how valuable the trade and skills are that his is uncle is passing on to him.
"It's a lucrative career. It's still growing. It's growing every day, all the time," Flottman said. "In the past ten years it's really blown up. I would like to go back to school so I can build on this. I'm glad I got into this."
For more information and to view creations by Ideas In Ice, log on to www.ideasinice.com .