Grandview Heights resident Trey Justice has a cool job.

Grandview Heights resident Trey Justice has a cool job.

Really cool.

Justice is co-owner with Greg Butauski of Rock on Ice, a Columbus-based ice sculpting company.

The company creates ice sculptures for such occasions as weddings, buffets, corporate events and golf outings and also offers performance ice sculpting, ice-carving classes and seminars and team building exercises.

"We host a lot of winter festivals and participate in a lot of competitions," Justice said. "I think people really like our interactive ice sculptures. We'd create something like a snowmobile or throne and people can sit on them and have their picture taken. Kids really love it."

Justice and Butauski met in 1994 when both were working as cooks in a restaurant.

Butauski had moved to Columbus to start an ice sculpting business "and he asked me to help him with a big castle he was doing for Cleveland Metro Parks," Justice said. "I kept helping him and kept helping him" and the pair ended up going into business together.

"I really liked ice carving the first time I did it," Justice said. "It's really fun to do. It's sort of an unusual career to have, but I've always been sort of a contrarian."

All of the sculptures Rock on Ice creates are made using 40 inch by 20 inch by 10 inch blocks of ice, he said.

"We make about 80 to 100 blocks a month using several ClineBell machines we have on our premises," Justice said.

ClineBell is a Colorado-based company and at Rock on Ice, the machines run 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Ice carvers use a number of tools including chainsaws, chisels and dye grinders with special bits, Justice said.

"Some of the tools are the same you'd use in wood carving," he said. "But ice is easier to carve than wood because it's a softer medium. That makes it easier to shape and manipulate."

Once they are made, the ice blocks are stored in freezers at Rock on Ice.

"You get used to being in the freezers," Justice said. "I can spend 20 minutes or 30 minutes in there with wearing a T-shirt.

"Sometimes I'll take a little nap in the freezer," he said. "We don't have heat or air conditioning in our building, so it feels really good in there when it's a 90-degree day."

Justice has earned certified professional carver status from the National Ice Carving Association and has competed at the national ice carving championships and at the world championships in 2008, where his team placed 17th of 40 teams.

"I like participating in competitions the best, probably, because you get to pick what you're going to carve," he said. "It's fun to try to think up unusual ideas. I've done things like carving a six-foot tall old-fashioned telephone and a guillotine that was 12 feet tall. You don't see too many guillotines carved out of ice."

One of the largest carvings he has done, Justice said, was a 12-foot tall, 25-foot long American flag he carved using colored ice at an event in 2001. The piece was made using 40 blocks of ice.

His favorite of all his carvings was probably a depiction of the Munch painting "The Scream."

"I carved an easel, picture frame and the painting itself," he said. "It was a big challenge to get the face just right, all haggard-looking and hollow with that scream."

On another sculpture, he used only two blocks of ice to carve Snoopy sitting on top of his dog house.

"The dog house was completely hollow," Justice said. "I was worried that it wouldn't be able to hold Snoopy's weight, but it worked out well."

Ice carving is both an art and a craft, he said.

"There's definitely a lot of creativity coming up with the ideas for sculptures, but it's also a craft that just takes a lot of intricate work," Justice said.

More information about Rock on Ice is available at www.rockonice.com.