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Meet the Carvers!

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The ice used for the sculptures at the Downtown Dartmouth Ice Festival presented by the East Coast Credit Union is specially made for carving. We source the ice from the amazing Ice Creation Glace - the only producers of ice carving ice in the Atlantic region. The ice is frozen from bottom up to avoid cracks, creating a crystal-clear canvas for carving. They bring the ice to Downtown Dartmouth from Caraquet, N.B. in a freezer truck. This special ice requires talented carvers to turn the ice into masterpieces. Meet our carvers below.

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Chandana Kapila

Meet Chandana Kapila. Originally from Sri Lanka, Chan made his way to Canada and is now a very successful chef! Chan is currently the Executive Sous Chef at The Port Pub & Bistro in Port Williams, Nova Scotia. He is magnificent in the kitchen and with carving! He creates masterpieces on more than just ice, most recently winning Best Display at Kentville's Soup Fest 2023 in support of the Community Soup Kitchen. Chan's creativity and attention to detail makes for a fascinating show.

Claude Roussel

Claude Roussel is an artist based in Prospect, Nova Scotia whose art is heavily influenced by the environment around him. Claude spent 12 years in Nunavut where he worked closely with artist Mathew Nuqingaq, who you can read about below. Together, along with other artists, Mathew and Claude built and ran a collaborative studio where they worked together to elevate their art. *Fun fact* Claude and Mathew were on the same team for a snow sculpture contest in Nunavut in 2010, where they had less than 24 hours to create a masterpiece!

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Darren Hudson

Darren Hudson, 7-time World Champion Log Roller, and owner of the Timber Lounge. Enjoys carving as a way to satisfy creative desire.  He has spent time with top carvers in the world but will be the first to admit he’s not one of them. While Darren doesn’t consider himself a top carver on the world stage, he still enjoys putting on a great show. This is Darren's 2nd time at the Downtown Dartmouth Ice Festival and his performance will not dissappoint!

Joel Palmer (Swamp Bear)

Joel Palmer is the Owner/Operator of Swamp Bear Art. With close to a decade of carving as a professional, Joel has become recognized as a top sculptor. His work has been featured many times in both national news and magazines. Joel was selected to be a participant on Discovery TV series A Cut Above - a popular chainsaw carving series. Over the years, Joel has worked on a variety of subjects for his clients, and his work can be found here, there, and everywhere. Joel currently lives in New Brunswick in the small town of Browns Flat. Having carved with some of the best sculptors in the world, Joel strives for excellence and quality in all of his work. One of his favourite ways to create is in the moment, off the top of his head and seeking the energy in each piece of wood or ice to reveal its inner hidden beauty as it reveals itself.

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Liam Tromans

Liam was born in Cape Breton and has been an artist since childhood. A professional logger for over 30 years, he began self-taught carving on his worksite. Liam gave up logging in 2016 to carve full time and his respect and love of nature is reflected in his works. He has participated in numerous carving events and competitions nationally and internationally. Spirit of Wood-2008 (Maple Ridge - 1st), Atlantic Canadian Chainsaw Competition-2013 (Fredericton, NB - 1st ), Powel River BC Logger Sports - 2017 (1st ), Eibauer International Competition (Germany - 1st ), Wood to Wonder-2018 (Gold river BC - 1st), World Class Competion-2018 (Hope BC - 1st ). Liam also attends Exhibitions and Shows to demonstrate and show carvings. He has recently returned to Nova Scotia and is based in the Amherst/Tidnish area.

Mathew Nuqingaq

Mathew Nuqingaq is a multi-talented artist and educator from Iqaluit, Nunavut. To name a few of his talents, he is a sculptor, drum dancer, photographer, and founder of The Aayurra Studio. Mat has worked to create & promote Inuit art for over 20 years, and his studio has become a space to do just that. He travels to bring his talents to the Downtown Dartmouth Ice Festival presented by East Coast Credit Union and to reconnect with his long-time friend, Claude Roussel – who is another carver in the festival!

Mathew Nuqingaq
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Richard Chiasson

Richard Chiasson is a renowned ice artist based out of New Brunswick. He also happens to be the owner of Ice Création Glace, who provides the 300-pound ice blocks for the Festival. Richard is a chef by day as an instructor at the culinary school, CCNB Acadian Peninsula. Ice carving started as a hobby, and he now has decades of ice carving experience. Many of his ice carving tools, he has created himself by adapting other types of tools, often ones made for wood carving. His experience and knowledge are intriguing, and he never fails to impress.

Rob Milner

Rob Milner is the Owner of Eternity Chainsaw Carvings and resides in Brooklyn by Liverpool. He is a multi-award winning wood and ice carver who exists to make sculptural art and is absolutely stoked to be able to participate yet again in Downtown Dartmouth Ice Festival for all to enjoy! We can not wait to have Rob's energy back with us in 2024!

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Artist Statement

Traditional wooden mask carving is the medicine that connects our oral stories to our visual language as Mi’kmaw people from the east coast of Turtle Island known now as Canada. Masks have the ability to bring people to gather in a safe place to share our oral history through stories, ceremonies, drums and dance. With the knowledge of mask making it has provided me with the ability to discover my roots through the art of sculpture. It’s my honour and obligation to continue the traditional wooden mask carving for my people and for my late mentor that is on his journey into the spirt world Edward Ned Bear, master traditional wooden mask carver.

Gordon Sparks

My name is Gordon Sparks, my clan mother is the beaver, clan spirit animal the bear, born from the
Turtle River, and the salmon is our clan dotem, raised in Pabineau First Nation, now living in Rough
Waters N.B. Canada. The traditional hand-carved wooden mask has taken me on a vision path that is
guiding my mind, body, and spirit to seek knowledge and wisdom of the Mi'kmaw people’s stories,
traditional ceremonies, traditional food, and medicine. Each mask that I make is from my life story, and
the people of Mi’kma’ki. Each mask, has a personal story on how I was guided to find the tree, take its
life, carve the spirit out of the wood for all to see, and listen to what it has to say to ears that need to
hear it. The vision I have been given guides my passion, and desire to record the past and present, with
three dimensional form. I strongly believe in the traditional hand-carved wooden mask, traditional
ceremony and storytelling. Each mask speaks to me, guides me, the tree that is chosen speaks to me to
carve the spirit of our ancestors and the stories of our life givers and life protectors that live here in
Mi’kma’ki, to be shown to all people of the land. In the end the spirits of the trees will speak of my
people of today and my ancestors of the past, through the wooden mask, storytelling, and the language
of the land. My work as a Mi’kmaw artist represents tradition for the Mi'kmaw people, to guarantee the
preservation of traditional values, new and old ceremonies, oral storytelling, and the gathering of
people to share in life stories together.

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