Bear-y cool: Chainsaw carvings turn stumps into still lifes

Posted 7:30PM on Saturday 1st October 2016 ( 7 years ago )
If you've driven down Green Street within the past two weeks, you've likely seen a stump slowly morphing into a waving man. Maybe you saw a man and his chainsaw doing the work, or maybe you just saw the stump turn into the likeness of the late Dan Summer.
The sculpture was commissioned by Corso Law Center to commemorate local attorney Dan Summer, who passed away earlier this year.
The man behind the chainsaw is local artist John Robinson. Robinson owns Blue Ridge Bear Sculptures out of Cleveland, and this isn't his first rodeo.
"I get the log and I get going. People give me a photograph of the subject matter and I just kind of wing it from there," Robinson said. "I go where the log takes me. Especially if the log has some soft spots in it, you kind of have to change course as you go. With the tree I have on this job (the Summer sculpture) it was just a straight cylinder so I had to cut off some area and add on like an arm that was waving, and things like that. So you just sculpt as you go along."
Robinson picked up the unusual hobby after being inspired at a fair - and it turns out, he was pretty good at it.
"I'm from Minnesota and I had gone to the state fair. I had seen a gentleman by the name of Dennis Roghair do it in front of a bunch of people. And I thought, 'Heck, I could do that I think.'
So I picked up a saw about half a dozen years ago, gave it a go and here I am today. People started to like what I was carving and then I just started to expand and the creativity doing different things and here we are."
He said 95 percent of the work is done by chainsaw, however he also uses sanders and dremels to achieve the final look.
Along with the Dan Summer piece, Robinson has made several other unique pieces, like a sea turtle tiki bar, complete with a surfboard; magical and mischievous trolls; a knight in shiny armor; and a wide array of wildlife, including bucks, birds and, of course, the traditional bear.
And, Robinson said if you can dream it up, he can probably make it happen. Custom pieces can be requested here.
Check out his Facebook page or website for pictures and more info.
Photo: Blue Ridge Bear Sculptures
Photo: Blue Ridge Bear Sculptures
Photo: Blue Ridge Bear Sculptures

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