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North to Alaska - Live!

by Kathy 17. June 2011 14:00

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Chainsaw Carvings in Chetwynd


This past weekend marked the 7th annual Chainsaw Carving Contest in the town of Chetwynd, British Columbia. Twelve master carvers were invited to participate, with the town providing the materials, tools, accommodations, food, and even a travel allowance. The carvers were given 35 hours, over a 3 ½ day period, to create whatever they could envision from an 8-foot log of western red cedar.

After the contest, the twelve sculptures remain with the town and are displayed for a year on the main thoroughfare, next to the visitor’s center.

Sebastian and Genevieve, getting ready to enter the visitor’s center:

Inside the center, we were welcomed by Erin, whose open and warm personality made us feel right at home. She generously offered to give us a free guided tour of the twelve new carvings.

Erin, with Genevieve and Sebastian:

We started the tour with a large praying mantis, called “Praying Over You”:

The artist was Chris Foltz from Oregon, and his piece not only won First Place in the competition, but it also won the People Choice Award (voted by viewers) and the Carver’s Award (voted by the carvers themselves). We could definitely see why!  The detail was amazing.

Here is a back view:

The Second Place prize was awarded to a carving of two dinosaurs, called “Mother’s Instinct” by artist Tomas Vrba from Slovakia:

The sculpture “Dreams,” by Tommy Craggs from the UK, won Third Place:

Judging the contest must have been extremely difficult. Each piece had unique and wonderful features.

Ben and I really liked “Journey to the West” by Kazuo Kondo from Japan:

The carved textures and details in the dragon and the monkey were outstanding:

The dragon’s scales ran all the way down the back:

The work “Breath of Life” was by artist Steven Higgins from Missouri, and depicted a version of the creation story:

A chameleon was hiding in the creator’s hair:

Pete Rieger from Quisnel, British Columbia, had carved a tall piece (not yet named) with a bird and a frog:

An intense scene of a cougar attacking a deer, called “Rocky Mountain Survival,” had been created by artist Dayton Scoggins from Mississippi:

Paul Frenette of Ontario, Canada, had carved a majestic woman and two dragons, entitled “The Hand That Rules”:

Colors of yellow, green and white had been subtly incorporated by artist Ken Sheen (from Quisnel) in his carving of two small dinosaurs with a T-Rex skull:

Local carver Blaine Brake had created a skateboarder figure, entitled “Ride Your Hearts Out”:

The piece was in remembrance of two boys who had been killed last year in a car accident. Both had been avid skateboarders and also instrumental in getting funding for the local bike park.

Two floating sting rays, called “Life’s Gentle Beauty,” had been carved by Ken Brawn Jr. from Colorado:

The final work was “The Last Hunt” by Elmer Gunderson from Prince George, British Columbia:

The eyes actually seemed to follow us as we moved from side to side:

The artists in this year’s contest had certainly worked some magic with their chainsaws! When next year’s contest arrives, these twelve sculptures will be moved to different parts of town, where they will be displayed indefinitely.

After our tour, we took a moment to admire some of the nearby wood carvings from past contests.

“Wildlife” by Kurita Hiromu from Japan (2010):

“Wrangler’s Rest” by local artist Blaine Brake (2008):

“On Eagle’s Wings” by Scott Hansen from Alaska (2006):

A sculptural detail from the side:

This beautiful floral bench was carved by local artist Richard Austin in 2008:

Sebastian appreciated the peek-a-boo aspect of the cutouts:

The many large wooden sculptures throughout the town of Chetwynd gave it a unique, artsy vibe. We can only imagine how this place will be transformed over the years. Perhaps we will come back to see for ourselves—and next time we will arrive in time for the contest, to witness those magician artists in action.

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Comments (2) -

6/18/2011 5:58:12 AM #

Donnie W. Jennings

Hi Kathy!

I am very glad that you and your family are having such a wonderful time!  Please think of Sheryl and me today.  Her services are at 4:00pm.


Donnie W. Jennings United States | Reply

6/18/2011 8:26:33 AM #


Donnie, I am so very sorry to hear that your beautiful Sheryl has passed away.  You both will definitely be in my thoughts today, as well as in the future.  Kathy

Kathy United States | Reply

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Places We’ve Been, w/Quick Links

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   Janko Marca
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Costa Rica
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   Manuel Antonio
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   Venado Caves


   Amazon Rainforest
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   La Mitad del Mundo
   Napo Wildlife Center
   Papallacta Hot Springs
   Proyecto DCR
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   Silverton, CO
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   St. Louis, MO
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   Talkeetna, AK
   Telluride, CO
   Route 66
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   Virginia Beach, VA
   Washington D.C.
   Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park in IL
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   Winom Frazier OHV Area, OR
   Winslow, AZ
   Zion National Park, UT

Planning Our Adventures

For us, each journey begins with the initial heart pangs to venture to a certain part of the world. Then the ideas start coming together . . . ahh, the possibilities . . . and the dream evolves gradually into an actual plan. But, oh, the joy of the dream!  Click here to learn more about how we plan and prepare for our journeys.

Where Are We Now?

Click here to discover where we are now, as well as our uncoming travel plans.

Words for the Heart

“. . . and then the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

Anais Nin