|by Jessie Groeschen
Fox Chapel Publishing: 2005
paperback, 150 pp., $19.95
Author Jessie Groeschen is an experienced competitor at chainsaw carving events throughout the U.S. and in Japan. For those who wish to try the art of chainsaw carving, she offers one detailed chapter on how to chainsaw a chair from a raw stump, but the majority of the book is made up of profiles of eighteen professional wood sculptors. This is a very upbeat book, revealing Groeshcen's love of the craft, and tells the individual sculptors' backgrounds, how they came into carving, and how they developed it into a career when the each 'turned a corner.'
Of the eighteen profiles, a common thread running through many of their stories is, "What I was doing really wasn't like other carvers, so I branched out on my own." They seem to be rebels all, and have definitely found their niche. There is an artist who routinely carves names in wooden belt buckles with a chainsaw while the recipient is wearing it, and one who carved a scaled, coiled dragon sixteen feet high by seven feet wide. The works are as individualized as the sculptors.
Groeschen gives a brief history of chainsaw carving competitions, addresses and websites of shows and contests, as well as contact information and websites for the featured sculptors. This is a wonderful glimpse into a specialized form of woodworking.
. . . Barb Siddiqui