About The Artist, James Ottens
James Ottens Joined The United States Marine Corps in 1978 and little did he know that when he retired 21 years later in 1999, he would have a full time Ice Sculpture business. I saw Ice Sculptures created from the first months in the Corps and was amazed at the art and beauty of it. All I had in the beginning was an ice pick and a chisel. I later went to Johnson & Wales Culinary Arts College in Rhode Island in 1981 to enhance my capabilities. No School taught me more than I learned from an old friend and mentor I met along the way named Gus Stempke From Long Beach, Ca. in 1991. He was a selfless, caring friend and taught me just by the way he was. I don't think I'll ever meet anyone like him again but I'll never forget what I learned from him. He always had a poem or story to tell. He passed away doing what he loved best, setting up an 8 foot ice bar in August of 2000. I also took an advanced Course by world Ice Sculpturing Champion Mark Daukas in 1994. With the Ice Carving Capabilities I taught myself while in the Marine Corps, I helped several Marine Corps Messhalls to win best Messhall worldwide including Marine Corps Air Stations El Toro and Tustin in 1986 through 1994. During one of these Award evaluations, I met a man named Joseph Amendola who was one of our VIPS. He saw an Iwo Jima Monument I had created and was so impressed he said I should start my own business. I scoffed it at first and than took him seriously and in 1991 established Crystal Creations. I later found out that Joseph Amendola was a distinguished Instructor in the Culinary arts field and has written a book on Ice Sculpturing and Pastry Preparation. Through these years, I also won many Trophies and awards in the Culinary Arts field and Ice Sculpturing field in Marine Corps and Civilian competitions. Upon my retirement from the Marine Corps, I went full steam into the Ice Sculpturing world and have thoroughly enjoyed it. God has given me this art and blessed me with it. I am amazed at the uniqueness of Crystal Ice and what can be done with it. I believe in quality control management and will never be happy unless I can think up a new idea every month or day if required! I have now worked with most hotels, restaurants, country clubs, caterers, & banquet halls. We have provided Sculptures for the motion Picture industry, Movie Premieres, commercials, and many other large Corporate events. We invite you to take a few minutes and browse through our web site. Whether you are having a corporate event, the wedding of your dreams, a bar/bat mitzvah, a birthday, anniversary, or just a gathering at home, we have everything to add that touch of class that will be remembered long after the ice has melted.
Crystal Creations © Anaheim, Ca. USA