Think back into the mists of time, or failing that, to the 1950s. That’s about when the idea of using a chainsaw to carve a big ole tree trunk first began to take hold. The first carving was a step up from lovers carving their names in a tree. But from there, things really began to take off.
From there, a chainsaw carver did 50 different pieces for the Trees of Mystery in California and from then on, a star was, as they say, born.
There was a requirement for form to follow material rather than function. The work of a chainsaw carver tends to look like the sorts of things you would find in the woods; bear carving or bears with salmon or fishing.
Now, of course, the world of chainsaw carving has spread. Canada has plenty of woodworkers, not surprisingly, they have more forests than they have people. But even in places where you wouldn’t expect it. Chainsaw carving pops up. In the UK there is an annual chainsaw competition. Known as the English Open, it draws visitors from all over the world.
The forests of Bavaria hosts a competition and has had the world cup competition but in addition to the European competition, the biggest competitive gathering takes place in Pennsylvania. The Ridgway Chainsaw Carving Rendezvous is the world’s biggest annual gathering of carvers from the professionals to the people who just want to give it a go.
The chainsaw world is not just about the art, but the Japanese chapter was involved in raising huge amounts of funds for the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. So, if you’re looking to add something special to your rustic home from home, you could do a lot worse than a bear carving.