Several years ago, however, he decided to concentrate on ice sculpture, his first love, he said.
“I am a recovering chef,” he said with a laugh.
Chapelle uses chain saws, chisels, knives, drills and a variety of smaller, finer tools to make the ice come alive. He works at his shop and at the various locations where his work is displayed.
While at the shop, he sculpts the ice in a freezer kept at 15 degrees. Chapelle stays busy throughout the year, he said — even during August.
So is there a lot of demand for ice sculptures? Chapelle said he keeps busy carving frozen sculptures for corporate events, weddings, bar mitzvahs, birthday parties, anniversary celebrations and other functions.
“We make our own ice,” Chapelle said, although sometimes he buys blocks from Cape Pond Ice Co. of Gloucester. There is nothing out of the ordinary about the ice that he transforms into all sorts of images, he said.
“Just plain old water,” he said. A typical block of ice measures 40 by 20 by 10 inches and weighs about 300 pounds, he said.
Generally, Chapelle’s intricately carved sculptures don’t last very long. They melt or get chopped up after the event they graced has ended.
Chapelle said the short life span of his art work does not faze him.
“That’s one of the novelties of it,” he said.
Chapelle is originally from Enfield, Conn., where he picked tobacco during his youth. He has lived in North Andover for 25 years and has two sons, Julian, 27, and Ryan, 26.