Nice ice baby!

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  • Joseph Pillas, Chef De Partie, is at work, sculpting an Americas Cup Catamaran at the Fourways Inn (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

    Joseph Pillas, Chef De Partie, is at work, sculpting an Americas Cup Catamaran at the Fourways Inn (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

  • Joseph Pillas, Chef De Partie, is at work, sculpting an Americas Cup Catamaran at the Fourways Inn (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

    Joseph Pillas, Chef De Partie, is at work, sculpting an Americas Cup Catamaran at the Fourways Inn (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

  • Joseph Pillas, Chef De Partie, is at work, sculpting an Americas Cup Catamaran at the Fourways Inn (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

    Joseph Pillas, Chef De Partie, is at work, sculpting an Americas Cup Catamaran at the Fourways Inn (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

  • Joseph Pillas, Chef De Partie, is at work, sculpting an Americas Cup Catamaran at the Fourways Inn (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

    Joseph Pillas, Chef De Partie, is at work, sculpting an Americas Cup Catamaran at the Fourways Inn (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

  • Joseph Pillas, Chef De Partie, is at work, sculpting an Americas Cup Catamaran at the Fourways Inn (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

    Joseph Pillas, Chef De Partie, is at work, sculpting an Americas Cup Catamaran at the Fourways Inn (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

  • Joseph Pillas, Chef De Partie, is at work, sculpting an Americas Cup Catamaran at the Fourways Inn (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

    Joseph Pillas, Chef De Partie, is at work, sculpting an Americas Cup Catamaran at the Fourways Inn (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

  • Joseph Pillas, Chef De Partie, is at work, sculpting an Americas Cup Catamaran at the Fourways Inn (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

    Joseph Pillas, Chef De Partie, is at work, sculpting an Americas Cup Catamaran at the Fourways Inn (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

  • Joseph Pillas, Chef De Partie, is at work, sculpting an Americas Cup Catamaran at the Fourways Inn (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

    Joseph Pillas, Chef De Partie, is at work, sculpting an Americas Cup Catamaran at the Fourways Inn (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

  • Joseph Pillas, Chef De Partie, is at work, sculpting an Americas Cup Catamaran at the Fourways Inn (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

    Joseph Pillas, Chef De Partie, is at work, sculpting an Americas Cup Catamaran at the Fourways Inn (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

  • Joseph Pillas, Chef De Partie, is at work, sculpting an Americas Cup Catamaran at the Fourways Inn (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

    Joseph Pillas, Chef De Partie, is at work, sculpting an Americas Cup Catamaran at the Fourways Inn (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)


The rapidly approaching America’s Cup has become a source of inspiration for ice sculptor Joseph Pillas.

While Mr Pillas has traditionally focused his attention on birds, fish and other animals, he is now turning his attention to carving sailboats out of ice at Fourways Inn.

Speaking to The Royal Gazette, Mr Pillas said he started carving and sculpting 25 years ago in his native Philippines.

“When I was 13 years old I started to carve in wood,” he said. “Then I started with soap carving and when I was 19 years old I went to a hotel to train as an ice sculptor.

“I like to do the ice carving because I like to make art. I can also do a little painting and tattoos. I have won a few awards in Manila. Four silver, four gold and gold with distinction. I do ice carving every year in Manila. I also entered into competitions in Singapore and won two bronze medals for butter sculpture and ice carving.”

Over the years he said he has plied his trade around the world, sculpting in front of passengers while working on a cruise ship and making sculptures in Tahiti, France and Dubai. During a stint at the Hamilton Princess, Mr Pillas even crafted a replica of the hotel out of ice.

“My first design was a swan,” he said. “I have done lovebirds, horses. I can do everything. I think my favourite sculpture was an angelfish.

“Humans are very hard to carve in ice because of the proportions. If you carve the hands very small, it looks very different. It’s not like a fish or a horse where if it’s not in proportion, it still looks good.

“I get nervous, but you must always have options. Let’s say you make a swan, and then you break the head. You can make an eagle. You can change the design.”

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Published Feb 17, 2017 at 8:00 am (Updated Feb 17, 2017 at 7:16 am)

Nice ice baby!

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