Edmonton·Video

Hooked on carving: Sherwood Park artist creates sculptures with chainsaw

In the front yard of a home in St. Albert, artist Kelly Davies is using a chainsaw to create a dragon from the stump of an old tree.

‘Someone called it the rock and roll of the art world, and I kind of like that’

Chainsaw carving.

3 years ago
1:45
Kelly Davies uses his skills with a chainsaw to create art out of wood. Today its a dragon for a St. Albert client. 1:45

In the front yard of a home in St. Albert, artist Kelly Davies is creating a dragon from the stump of an old tree.

Davies, of Sherwood Park, has been an ice-carving artist since 1999, but for the past four years he has been passionate about making art with a chainsaw.

"Someone called it the rock and roll of the art world, and I kind of like that," he told CBC News.

In May, Davies was hired by a St. Albert family to do a carving on a Manitoba maple stump out front of their house.

After the initial consultation, he got the go-ahead to carve a dragon.

"Most artists have their repertoire of carvings such as birds, bears, eagles and owls, that kind of thing," he said.
This proud eagle is one of Kelly Davies' chainsaw creations. (David Bajer/CBC)

"I had wanted to do a dragon for a while, so I suggested it and the client loved it."

Davies, who runs an animation design business, was hooked on chainsaw carving the first time his saw hit wood.

These days he is able to pursue it every week. He has various projects on the go, including one for the Town of Thorhild and another in Sherwood Park.

He loves sharing his art with people while it's being made. The collaboration and public engagement excites him more than being in his garage, just pumping out carvings, he said.

In front of an audience on Canada Day, he created a piece for the Muttart Conservatory he hopes will be there for many years to come.

Chainsaws aren't known to be a finesse or detail-type tool, he said.

"If I make a mistake, I make it really quickly. I know I've made a mistake, so I stop and start again."

Davies uses several specialized chainsaws with various "carving bars" and sizes of chain to bring the tip to a finer point.

The 43-year-old plans to continue making chainsaw art long into the future.

Kelly Davies works with several specialized chainsaws to create the cuts he needs. (David Bajer/CBC)

One of his long-term goals is to carve a large outdoor chess set. That would be a labour of love as it would be too expensive for any one client to finance.

"There is no limit to this, there really isn't," he said.

"My heart and soul need this. I'm in it for the long haul."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Bajer

Video producer

David Bajer is a video producer with CBC Edmonton. He has worked in news and video production for the past decade.

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