The buzz of saws and the smell of sawdust nearly drowned out the smoke in the valley as the Chainsaw Wizards cut their way into the valley, leaving behind lasting works of art.
Last weekend chainsaw artisans carved their way into the valley’s heart.
Using felled timber from the flood mitigation projects, Carver Kings Paul and Jacob Frenette, Ryan Villiers, Marina Cole and Michael Penny created works of art which will adorn the valley for years to come. Along with the works they created in the downtown core, they also carved some of the stumps in Participark into works of art.
Now, residents and visitors enjoying the path can interact with art along the way.
The goal of organizers, Harv Saltys, Tony Miglecz and Wayne Powell, was to honour the trees which were cut during the flood mitigation project, and create a legacy. Last year they invited carver Marina Cole to the valley.
The end project exceeded expectations, and this year they expanded. The downtown plaza was a hive of activity all weekend as locals and visitors watched the artists at work.
“It has been well received, not only by locals but visitors. I had people from Sherwood Park, I’ve had people from Brooks, all over. There are actually some amateur carvers who came down to see how to do it and virtually sat and watched the whole weekend,” said Miglecz. “It has been a great learning for us too. We had the idea, but you never know until you're doing it, and we came up with some ways that we can make it better.”
“It is like tuning,” adds Saltys. “You run it through, add some tweaks and adjustments and it gets better.”
Watching the artists at work, they employed much more than chainsaws. The works were sculpted with grinders, sanders and chiles. They are coloured with paints, stains, airbrushing and torches.
Another part of the weekend is they had a couple of quick cut carve challenges, where the artists would take as half hour to make a carving, and then put it up on the auction block. This means even more works will stick around the valley for years to come.
As far as future events, Saltys notes there is no shortage of inventory.