Photos courtesy of Okamoto Studio

BY TAMMY SCILEPPI

Ice, ice, baby!

Summertime is party time and there’s nothing like a frosty mug of beer on a hot day.

At Okamoto Studio, located at 35-03 31st St. in Long Island City, you can meet new friends and break the ice — in more ways than one. Become a budding ice carver, create your own ice mug and enjoy your fave icy cold drink! No rocks needed.

Owner and master ice carver Shintaro Okamoto said this interactive ice sculpture turns your favorite designs into a perfect conversation starter. 

“Summer is the perfect time to spend some time around ice, cold drinks and friends! We think the ice mug workshop incorporates all three elements to create the perfect team-building/bonding experience for anyone (over 21, of course),” he added.

Ice. It’s a versatile material that can be both functional and aesthetic. With designs based on individual taste, sculpted ice does more than just chill your food and drinks; it makes any event extra special. 

Using drills, picks and other tools of the trade, Okamoto thrives on the drama as he tames the complexities of ice to create his clients’ desired experiences. This means careful execution of details and an artist’s keen eye for form and beauty. The result? An amazing work of art: Life-like sculptures, live performance carvings and delicate ice creations of all kinds.

He has been teaching this unique craft to his eager students during year-round workshops and events. “Our Ice Mug Making Workshop is a great way to bond with friends or coworkers. You reserve a date to come in with a group to our studio or we can come to your office instead,” Okamoto explained. “First, we spend 15 minutes introducing you to the process of ice carving, as well as how to keep things safe and fun. Next, you are given a block of ice along with tools to chip and shape the icy beer mug of your dreams.”

Ice is of the moment; it’s fleeting and ephemeral but embodies the “here and now.” And sculpted ice has that glam wow factor. It’s all about celebration, so it’s perfect for a wide range of events, from birthdays and office parties to weddings, anniversaries and one-of-a-kind celebrations. It’s even great for public installations in NYC, which Okamoto has greatly enjoyed.

As a working material, ice’s capacity for last-minute, large-scale production also makes it very cost-effective and time-efficient, according to the ice king, who said his diverse clients ask for a wide range of designs. “We have had the pleasure of working with exciting clients like Reebok, HBO, the NY Yankees and Uber,” he noted. 

“We recently collaborated with Coors Light and CNN to create a mini-documentary clip where we capture the essence of summer within blocks of ice.” Check out the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B54roXuSoM8

Ice is nice but what’s behind Okamoto’s passion for it?

“Ice is one of the most interesting mediums to work with. There’s something poignant about creating something that will disappear without a trace in a matter of hours,” he explained.

The studio also offers Image Carving and Penguin Carving Workshops – which are just as enjoyable as the Ice Mug Making experience – but are also suitable for those who don’t drink or for kids (with adult supervision) who want to join in the icy fun.

For the Mug Making Workshop, pricing for the set-up starts at $360; price per is person $65. 

Make reservations (right away) by contacting info@okamotostudionyc.com or calling 212-842-0630

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