Meet the Carvers

Tony Baisas

Tony Baisas proudly hails from a small town in the Philippines called Paete. On March 15, 2005, Paete was proclaimed the Carving Capital of the Philippines by Gloria Macapagal, the 14th President of the Philippines.

“My hometown is known for woodworking and carvings of many kinds, such as wood and fruit. We are known for our carved wooden sandals, the Bakya. Much like the Dutch have their signature wooden clogs, Paete has our own beautifully hand-carved footwear chiseled with various remarkable designs. It is also believed that the famous Yoyo toys originated in Paete. Many locals in Paete have two very large occupations. Some are specialized in wood and fruit carving, especially in the creation of religious figurines, artifacts, souvenirs and more. Others excel in paper mâché and painting intricate details for special occasions. They make animal figures, masks and such for parties and holidays.” Tony Baisas

Tony’s father, a talented wood carver, taught Tony to carve at the young age of 12. By the end of the 1980’s, when ice carvings were in high demand and an essential in hotels and cruise ships, Tony took the opportunity to work abroad. In 1992, Tony was employed at a 5-star hotel as a Kitchen Artist. He carved ice, fruits and vegetables, chocolate and even Styrofoam. Here he learned that he loved carving these foods and materials more than wood. Tony participates in many culinary and ice carving competitions around the world.

The City of Fort St John is excited to welcome Tony back to the High On Ice festival this year. 

Ryan Cook

Ryan Cook has been chainsaw carving full time for the last 12 years. He began his carving career on the TV Show “Saw Dogs” by being cast as “the Apprentice”; he was an actor who never carved a day in his life until that show. Ryan quickly found his passion for carving and then dedicated his life to the craft. After 3 years Ryan embarked on a professional career, winning many competitions.

Ryan chainsaw carves full time out of Vancouver, BC and has been carving ice for the last 8 years. He now spends all year traveling and carving all over Canada and the world carving Wood & Ice.

Ryan is one of the main cast members on the HGTV show “Carver Kings”, little brother to Timber Kings. Over the years Ryan has also appeared on the Netflix shows “Virgin River & Big Timber” and most recently appeared as aJudge on The Discovery Channel TV show “A Cut Above”. Ryan is the first Canadian to be sponsored by Echo Canada, Cannon Bars, Makita Power To

ols, Arbortech, Saburrtooth & Pfanner. He is also an influencer for Dremel. 

He is the owner of Saw Valley Carvings Inc.;.

Ryan has become a recognized face in the carving world; He is constantly trying to progress the craft. You can find him weekly on YouTube putting out content on his page @Ryancookcarvin .

The City of Fort St John is excited to welcome Ryan back to the High On Ice festival this year.

To follow his daily life and join the fun scan this QR Code

David Ducharme

David Ducharme attended the Kootenay School of the Arts in Nelson BC from 1992-1995, studying stone sculpting, ceramics, metal and jewelry. Later, his artistic interest was sparked by the potential offered in sculpting sand, ice, and snow. The inherent properties of these materials allow the carver to render an idea quickly on a monumental scale.

In 2003, David participated in the World Championship of Sand Sculpture in Harrison BC and received 2nd place in the solo category, and 1st place in the doubles category. This event was pivotal in his artistic development and opened the doors of international sand and ice competitions and commissions to him. Since then, he has traveled the world participating in sand, ice and snow sculpting events and festivals in Canada, Hong-Kong, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Germany, Japan and a dozen other countries. Sand and ice sculpting have become a bridge for David to work with other media like concrete and wood.

“In my figurative work, I hope to capture the essence, simplicity or intensity of a moment, bringing it to life. I hope to share with the world an appreciation for beauty, as well as everyday reality.” David Ducharme

The City of Fort St John is excited to welcome David back to the High On Ice festival this year.

Dmitrii Klimenko

In 2004 Dmitrii received his master’s degree from Saint Petersburg State Academy of Industrial Art and Design, Department of Monumental arts. Dmitrii has taken part in international festivals of ice and sand sculpture in Japan, Russia, Canada, USA, Kuwait, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Holland, Poland and Latvia.

Dmitrii also works with ice bronze and wood.

“I always thought the sculpture was a kind of beautiful art for the ages. Something very serious for the museums and squares. I never expected the great joy I would find in stepping away from an academic way of thinking.” Dmitrii Klimenko

In 2001 Dmitrii was asked to replace a colleague slated to participate in an ice contest in Saint Petersburg. This unexpected opportunity allowed Dmitrii to discover a new way of working.

“Once I started instantly loved working with this material. That shapes and forms and amazing play with light and air captured my consciousness. Every time I push the limits of ice I discover new ways to play with it. Ice provides never-ending possibilities to grow that’s why I am always happy to work with this amazing media.

Each sculpture unique and temporary. Each project is a new challenge and I don’t think I will ever stop working with ice.

The City of Fort St John is excited to welcome Dmitrii back to the High On Ice festival this year. 

Kevin Lewis

Kevin Lewis was born and raised in the Comox Valley. He was given his first chainsaw at age 11. Kevin began logging and falling at 16. He has been a chainsaw wood carver since 1996. He started ice carving in 2017 at Fort St. John’s High on Ice festival, and has been in love with ice ever since.  

His career has allowed him to carve across Canada, and he has been recognized for his talent as a fine art ice and wood carver. 

Kevin can create any creature his imagination allows, and specializes in fantasy art and wildlife art. He has carved wood, ice, antler, ivory, and bone.

Kevin is known as the West coast chainsaw artist, as well as Uncle Kevin Carves on YouTube He has an outdoor art gallery nestled alongside the Brown’s river in Courtenay, BC Vancouver Island, which is one of the Comox Valley best kept secrets. If you visit his studio you can take walk around the gardens and forested pathways, where you will see Kevin Lewis’ spectacular chainsaw carvings. As you enjoy your stroll through the grounds, you will see wildlife, fantasy and a variety of functional art sculptures.

When he is not at his gallery, Kevin can be seen carving at exhibitions, fairs, and other events across Canada, transforming wood or ice into art. 

Kevin enjoys the challenge of carving ice in spectacular places, such as Fort St. John, BC, Mackenzie, BC and Lake Louise, BC

The City of Fort St John is excited to welcome Kevin back to the High On Ice festival this year. 

Susanne Ruseler

Susanne Ruseler was born in Rotterdam in the Netherlands. Ruseler started sculpting in 2003, while studying biology and living in Utrecht in the Netherlands.

“I discovered that I love creating sculptures and started sculpting more and more. After receiving my master’s degree in animal behavior and ecology, I started my own sculpture company working with different materials such as snow, ice, sand, clay, foam and concrete. I've been sculpting full time since 2008. I really enjoy alternating between materials. I travel all over the world working on projects, events and competitions.” Susanne Ruseler.

You can find more information about Susanne’s work at

The City of Fort St John is excited to welcome Susanne back to the High On Ice festival this year. 

Garry Oker

DRFN member Garry Oker completed Visual Performing Arts and Fashion Design at St. Lawrence College in Kingston, Ontario in 1985. He worked in Montreal as a fashion designer for many years and returned home to create and direct the Aboriginal Design and Cultural Study Program for School District #59 from 1990 to 1998. In 2005, he attained a Master of Arts Degree in Leadership and Training from Royal Roads University in Victoria, British Columbia.

Garry is presently serving as a DRFN Councilor, and previously served as Chief from 2001-2005 as well as DRFN Program Director from 1999-2001. As Councilor, Garry is focused on leading the community cultural plan through Kema Experiences. The platform allows individuals, or groups of people to participate in and learn about traditional Dane-zaa ways using all the senses – sight, smell, taste and sound as well as through actions, such as art, drumming or shooting with a bow and arrow. He has created partnerships with BC Parks, local northeast BC businesses and the City of Fort St. John to share these experiences with the public.

Garry’s vision emphasizes retaining Beaver language and developing a dreamers’ philosophies museum. He endeavors to promote cultural pride and is involved initiating an array of Beaver/Dene cultural education materials using a variety of formats and mediums.