This New Brunswick chainsaw sculptor makes delicate carvings with dangerous tools

Joel Palmer first picked up a chainsaw with the sole intention of cutting himself some firewood. Now, his carvings have become his life — and his livelihood.

Joel Palmer's chainsaw art has become his life — and his livelihood

Joel Palmer's chainsaw art grants him a simple life and financial independence in an unstable time 3:11

Joel Palmer first picked up a chainsaw with the sole intention of cutting himself some firewood. He didn't know it at the time, but this action would set him on a path to rejecting the standard 9 to 5 career path, instead creating carvings with his chainsaw and supporting himself financially with his business Swamp Bear Art.

"Ever since I was a child I was very creative, very artistic," says Palmer, whose business is called Swamp Bear Art. "So that's where, when I found this art form, I basically rerouted myself back to who I really was at the beginning — which was an artist and kind of a crazy, outgoing, free-spirited person."

Palmer's independence affords him the freedom to spend lots of time in nature, searching for inspiration and the right logs for his carvings. Forages in the woods, Palmer says, "are my times of peace."

(CBC Arts)

In this video, you'll get an inside look at Palmer's process as he creates the chainsaw art that has won awards and been entered in competitions around the world.

Follow Joel and Swamp Bear Art here.

Watch CBC Arts: Exhibitionists on Friday nights at 12:30am (1am NT) and Sundays at 3:30pm (4pm NT) on CBC Television.

About the Author

Shauna Chase and Alex Vietinghoff

Shauna Chase is a freelance writer and editor, and Alex Vietinghoff is a freelance videographer and video editor. They are the founders of The Manatee, Atlantic Canada's largest satirical news website. They recently completed post-production on Beerocracy, an independent feature documentary on the growing craft brewing industry in New Brunswick.


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