Wood Carving with a Chainsaw… North to Alaska

Fraser River, Hope BC

Hope, British Columbia sits on the Fraser River. This photo is taken from the river park in front of the town.

Peggy and I have ventured into British Columbia several times. And we have always been impressed. This time is no exception. The natural beauty, abundant wildlife, proud communities and friendly people guarantee our return– again and again.

We are also amused by the efforts of small communities to capture their moments of fame and share of tourist dollars. The world’s largest cross-country skis, the world’s largest beehive, and the world’s largest golf ball are all examples. These fun gestures make us smile. Out come our cameras for the obligatory photos.

The world's tallest cross country skis.

The world’s tallest cross-country skis.

Chainsaw wood carving exists on another level. This once primitive art form has taken on a surprising level of sophistication. Two towns we passed through on our journey north to Alaska featured chainsaw creations: Hope is an hour or so from the border of Washington State; Chetwynd is near Dawson Creek, the beginning of the Alaska Highway.

The helpful folks at the Chetwynd Information Center explained how they had obtained their extensive collection of carvings. Each year the town hosts a chainsaw wood carving contest. Participants come from all over the world. The process starts with importing logs from Vancouver Island. The logs dry for several months and are then tagged with numbers. Individual participants draw numbers to see which log he or she gets. Contestants then have 35 hours over five days to complete their masterpieces.

Today I am featuring Hope, which is located on the mighty Fraser River. Chetwynd will be featured two or three blogs up the road.

Woodcarvings in Hope BC

Hope is quite proud of its chainsaw woodcarvings. A map from the Visitor’s Center took us on a walk to find the town’s sculptures.

Woodcarvings in Hope BC

These herons are an example of how sophisticated chainsaw wood carving has become.

Chainsaw woodcarving in Hope BC

Animals are a common subject for chainsaw woodcarvers.

Chainsaw woodcarving in Hope BC

A pair of wolves.

Chainsaw carving in Hope BC

Fantasy figures, such as this wizard, also serve as common themes for chainsaw carvings. Note the mouse living in his beard.

Chainsaw woodcarving in Hope BC

The wizard also wore an eyeball ring.

Many of the chainsaw woodcarvings in Hope, BC display a sense of humor such as this tourist with a guidebook in his hip pocket.

Many of the chainsaw wood carvings in Hope, BC display a sense of humor such as this tourist with a guidebook in his hip pocket. Another carving can be seen on the next block.

Chainsaw woodcarving in Hope BC

Speaking of humor, I found this face on a statue of Bigfoot rather funny.

Chainsaw woodcarvings in Hope BC

In my last blog I featured totem poles. Given the First Nation influence in British Columbia, it was not surprising to find Raven as one of the wood carvings.

Chainsaw woodcarving in Hope BC

This eagle and girl also represented a First Nation theme.

I also found this face rather powerful.

I found this face rather powerful.

Stallones First Blood in Hope BC

My friend Bob decided to look tough in this Rambo photo board outside of the Hope Visitor Center. Stallone’s “First Blood” was filmed in the town.

Peggy and Linda share a laugh on the edge of the Fraser River at Hope BC.

Peggy and Linda share a laugh on the edge of the Fraser River at Hope BC. Possibly they were amused at Bob’s effort to look like Stallone.

Next Blog: When a campground is taken over by dogs.

24 comments on “Wood Carving with a Chainsaw… North to Alaska

  1. The carvings are wonderful. I’d never realized how much detail could be achieved with a chainsaw until after hurricane Ike. Several carvers did beautiful work, transforming trees that had been destroyed by the storm into art. There are a few photos here.

    The eagle and the girl is my favorite, followed perhaps by the herons. What really surprises me is that I can’t “see” the Raven. I’ll have to come back later with fresh eyes. 😉

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s