The year 2020 was incredibly challenging as a self employed chainsaw carver. Our business suffered immensely, and we had so many cancellations for events.
To say we were glad to hit the road again this year would be an understatement! Before I dive into our quick carving competition recap, I’d like to thank everyone who has supported us this year through purchasing our one of a kind chainsaw carvings; or by liking, commenting, and sharing on social media, referring a friend to us, etc. We notice and appreciate all of that!
Chris Lantz of Extreme Sculpting stretches before competing in the Speed Carve, a one hour mini competition during which all carvers create a piece to be auctioned off at the end!
This year’s circuit began in mid-April with a trip to Shippensburg, Pennsylvania for a chainsaw carving competition. About 50-60 artists gathered from all over to compete and learn from one another. It was awesome to see everyone again! I was awarded first place in the Masterpiece and Quick Carve categories. (Woohoo!)
After the Central PA Chainsaw Carving Festival, we headed a few hours north to Keuka Lake, New York for a few days before driving back into PA to an event at the Waterville Fire Department. There I carved an eagle bench with a couple of fish on it. It was a really enjoyable piece and something completely out of my comfort zone; I added in the wing and head and it actually came out really well. I’d like to carve another version of it very soon in my free time.
From PA, we headed south to Russellville, Arkansas for the first annual Chainsaw Carving Competition at the Balloons over Russellville event. There were about 30 carvers at this event. The logs were not the size we all expected so we all had to improvise and morale was pretty low amongst the carvers. We did what we could with what we had and still managed to enjoy our time there. I carved three running horse heads (still haven’t finished a base for the piece!). I love meeting new and upcoming chainsaw carvers and got to connect with a couple here. My hope is always to help them accomplish their goals and give encouragement where possible.
After a few weeks off the road, on June 6, we packed up the family and left our house in northeast Georgia to tackle the 45+ hour drive to Reedsport, Oregon for a competition Father’s Day weekend. About 38 carvers competed here and I placed 7th. Could’ve done better, but I was pleased with my piece overall. Considering the size of the log , it was awesome that I even finished in the allotted time.
Both bears and the fish came from the same log. It was over 6’ diameter!
The following week we were in Ocean Shores, Washington for a more relaxed weekend. Each artist carved multiple smaller pieces and one main piece. I think my favorite piece from this show was this little owl out of western red cedar.
After Ocean Shores, the plan was to head home but plans changed when I was invited to the Loggerodeo Chainsaw Carving Competition in Sedro-Woolley, Washington! This is a sought after competition because of the log size/type and a huge potential for sales. I chose a log about 4’ in diameter! Talk about a dream come true. I decided to go with a nautical themed piece here and love the way it turned out! Sadly, I didn’t place but I did receive compliments from many great artists there, Bob King and Mark Colp being two of them. And that’s congratulations enough!
On the way home, we stopped at a friend and fellow carvers house in Montana near Flathead Lake. Once home, I had about 7 days to prepare for leaving again. The next trip was much shorter, however. We went first to the Woodsmen Show at Cherry Springs State Park bear Galeton and Coudersport, PA. This is a fun little carving show with 10-12 artists. We go because it is on the way to the Chenango County Fair, where I carve live demonstrations. The location is incredible and it’s a nice, laid back show. I won second place in the Masterpiece and 1st,1st,2nd in the three Quick Carves.
Our final stop for 2021 was the Wood, Wine And Blues Festival in Storm Lake, Iowa. This is by far my favorite competition to go to (shout out to Storm Lake United for being great hosts!). We are put up in a water park resort which was thoroughly enjoyed this year by our children, and us. The small town atmosphere is incredible and something interesting about Storm Lake is although a small community, they have a robust minority population, and it’s growing. Anyway, I carved this wolf and owl piece and was awarded the People’s Choice Award and Second Place.
We drove close to 30,000 miles this summer and next year we definitely hope to stay closer to home. But I’m glad we got to go and see the country and enjoy seeing friends; new and old alike. I added a few more trophies, ribbons, and certificates to my wall and learned a few tricks. That’s what matters! This is definitely the long story, short version of our summer. I hope you enjoyed a look into our adventures!
Chris Lantz is an internationally award winning chainsaw artist from Georgia who shares his talent abroad. He hopes to fill this blog with insight into the creative process. Thanks for looking!