Chips flew from masterpiece carvings. Sparks jumped as metal sculptures took shape. Smoke curled up from a blacksmith's fire. Jazz bands and folk groups set the musical score for artists inspired at ArtisTREE Fields late last month.
The fifth annual Golden Chainsaw Sculpting Championships ended up being more than just a chain-saw competition, according to Ross Olsen, owner of ArtisTREE Fields and co-coordinator of the event with AJ Lutter, a chain-saw sculptor from Brainerd.
Dayton Scoggins, a familiar face from Mississippi, won the Golden Chainsaw trophy with his sculpture of a canoe filled with forest creatures being pushed by a beaver and otter. It sold for $5,700 at an auction after the competition. Hayashi Takao of Japan was second with a giraffe, chimpanzee and hippo sculpture and Kurita Hiroyuki, also of Japan, was third with his artistic "Mother of the Forest" sculpture.
"People love to see the process. They want to be involved with the work," Olsen said. "That's why the Golden Chainsaw competition has been so successful, and that's why we plan to use the same concept and have artists showcase their work by showing what they do at future events."
With heavy media coverage - including a mention on television's Good Morning America - and positive feedback from the crowds that attended, Olsen is considering hosting a midsummer event to introduce ArtisTREE Fields to summer residents and tourists. He's considering new ways to combine carving, food and music and wants to expand the event, now held three miles south of Hackensack, to 10 days, with a food competition the first weekend, followed by carving workshops during the week and ending with the chain-saw carving competition and a juried artists' competition.
"We are looking for demonstrating artists to participate," Olsen said. "We want artisans from all disciplines to be involved. We want potters to throw pots, furniture builders to make furniture and painters to paint. We are drafting a list of Wisconsin and Minnesota artists, but welcome all artists to contact us."
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