by Aaron Burns

HUNTERSVILLE – Nathan Moran knew what he wanted to do for a career from the time he first learned about ice sculpting.

Moran was a student at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Orlando when he discovered the craft. Thirteen years later, he sculpts ice for a living as the owner of Huntersville-based Ice by PreMo.

Moran worked for two years for Ice Sensations in Charlotte before he opened Ice by PreMo in October 2010. Moran’s wife, Ana, and her parents work as partners in the business, which he said has been successful from the start.

After six months of being in business, he quit his part-time job to focus on sculpting everything from ice luges and walls to vases, food containers and blocks of ice with corporate logos in them.

“I enjoy the artistic side of it,” Moran said. “We like to say we’re one of the few hand-carved ice sculpting companies still around. Most companies don’t do it by hand anymore because it takes longer, but that’s part of the fun to me.”

As part of his craft, he uses chainsaws, chisels, die grinders and angle grinders to design and manually engrave the sculptures, which range in price from $299 to more than $600. Some take as little as two hours to finish.

The company name is a combination of Ana Moran’s maiden name, Preciado, and Moran’s own last name. But the company’s creativity doesn’t stop there.

“Every job is an interesting job. It’s never the same thing,” he said. “You never know what people are going to need. I like to say we’ll do an ice sculpture from birth to death and every time in between. We’ve done them for births, for funerals, Sweet 16 parties, you name it.”

Jaime Preciado serves as Moran’s business and sales manager. As the primary administrative person, Preciado stays he away from the designs, but marvels at the success the company has enjoyed in its two-plus years of existence.

“It’s like carving wood,” Preciado said. “It’s all up to your imagination for what you can design and what people will want.”

So far, the company has served a wide audience in North Carolina and beyond. In addition to ice sculpting projects throughout the lake area and across the state, they have served clients in Georgia, Tennessee and Florida.

The ice sculpting market is such that it’s tough for several businesses to provide services in one area, because the industry is so specialized.  Moran maintains that there is a steady demand for sculptures, including some as large as the 10-foot by 15-foot ice wall they made.

“I think back and sometimes wonder why I spent so much time at culinary school,” he said. “But, it’s because it’s what eventually got me to doing this, and it’s taken off from there.”

Want to learn more?

Contact Ice by PreMo at 704-754-4238 or visit for more information on how to place an order.