Monday, September 03, 2007

Chainsaw Sculpture: Crude & Refined

Do you, by any chance, recall a 1982 pop book, Real Men Don't Eat Quiche. It was one of those overnight sensations that disappeared just as fast as it appeared. I've always remembered this item: one of the most important historic dates for Real Men was the day the chainsaw was invented. Today, it is an implement of a most manly art form.

These 3-4 foot pine logs have been sitting at a neighboring house for several months; I lust after one or more. But it turns out the the occupant is into chainsaw sculpture. Garden gnomes, I'm told. All by way of introduction to one of my favorite art forms.

Chainsaw sculpture can be simple, like the cat over at Miss Kitty's...

...more detailed, like this bear I photographed in Ponderosa Park...

or crude like the four or five critters sitting up on poles overlooking the pond at the late lamented Young's farm. Above, one of two eagles and, below, a dog.

I'll admit that this sasquatch isn't a local item -- SIL photographed him up on the Al-Can highway on the way to Alaska. While I tend to think of chainsaw artistry as a very American thing, it actually is a world wide phenomenon. One article I read credited the boom in chainsaw carving to the internet, believe it or not!

Since the medium is a tree trunk, a totem pole of one variety or another is an obvious use. This is another sculpture from Ponderosa Park.

Three bears are climbing the pole...

...which is topped off by an eagle. Local critters and themes are typical subjects -- Paul Bunyan at the Minnesota State Fair, moose in northern states, frogs, eagles and toadstools everywhere and, I presume, trolls in Norway. Browsing a few of The Google's 14,000+ chainsaw sculpture entries, I even saw a beautifully carved giant snail.

One of the more elegant local examples of chainsaw artistry is the totem pole in Prescott College's library.

Incorporating several local animals, the sculpture even has a white stripe down its back side. Symbol of the skunk, perhaps, or maybe snakes.

I'd hate to run into this intimidating mountain lion that tops the carving; if you look more closely, a raven is just below the cat.

The first time I saw the totem pole, I did not see all the animals that were present, such as these deer.

Here is another raven. There are probably other critters that I will discover on my next visit!

However, my absolutely most favorite sculpt is the Viking a couple of streets over. Whenever I have a new visitor, he or she is taken on a walk to gawk at my heroic friend. Today being a holiday, he had a flag in his fist. I'm sure he is meant to hold a spear but I guess that it is stashed in the closet.


Hermano said...

I've bee waiting for 'Undem' the viking to make his appearance.

RE: chainsaws. I saw some early beauties in a lumber company museum in Yarloop, a hundred or so km south of here. These were full size jobs replete with huge champion spark plugs. It took a real man/men to handle same. The chain assemblies were 4/5 feet long.


quilteddogs said...

I love Sasquatch and of course I recognize the carvings from Ponderosa Park.

Who has the time for this kind of stuff?

sheoflittlebrain said...

I did want a bear, but Sasquatch has stolen my heart!

Granny J said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Bro, for the right name for my Viking. Everybody else: Undem is the last name of my Norwegian great grandfather.

QB -- Ponderosa Park seems to be the location for chainsaw art locally. Does a sculptor live there?

Brain -- It's hard to decide, tho I think I would opt for Undem, if given the choice.

quilteddogs said...

I don't know if a scupltor lives in Ponderosa Park but I do know that chain saws are going all the time so maybe. I just figured these carvings were bought by rich people.

Granny J said...

I've no idea what kind of prices chainsaw sculptors are asking; I suppose I could go on the internet, but on the other hand, there are the guys who do the state and county fair circuit, whipping them out. A friend was given a big bear by one such artisan who figured it would be too much trouble to load the critter and take him home. Lucky lady!

smilnsigh said...

Wow!!! I am *in lust* with that Viking!!!!!!! Wish he was just a stone's throw away on the college campus, instead of the big red bug. :-)


Granny J said...

SnS -- Isn't Undem the Viking to die for?

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