Carvers earn accolades at 12th annual Whittle the Wood Rendezvous | CraigDailyPress.com

Carvers earn accolades at 12th annual Whittle the Wood Rendezvous

Ben McCanna

Florence resident Forrest Dorman prepares to make a cut Saturday during the quick-carving demonstration at the 12th annual Whittle the Wood Rendezvous. Eleven chainsaw artists convened at Craig City Park and competed against one another during the annual event. Dorman won third place for his sculpture, “The Passion of the Pack.”





Florence resident Forrest Dorman prepares to make a cut Saturday during the quick-carving demonstration at the 12th annual Whittle the Wood Rendezvous. Eleven chainsaw artists convened at Craig City Park and competed against one another during the annual event. Dorman won third place for his sculpture, "The Passion of the Pack."
Ben McCanna

Winners

Winners at the 12th annual Whittle the Wood Rendezvous in Craig:

• First place, $1,000 — Sheldon Roberts, "Father Time"

• Second place, $750 — Bongo Love, "Love is a Wonderful Thing"

• Third place, $500 — Forrest Dorman, "The Passion of the Pack"

Renaissance-era artist Michelangelo, when remarking on one of his sculptures, said, "I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free."

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On Saturday, Craig played host to 11 artists during the 12th annual Whittle the Wood Rendezvous.

Although the artists use chainsaws on pine logs 10 feet tall and 3 1/2 feet in diameter, the insight Michelangelo shared 500 years ago still rings true today.

Florence resident Forrest Dorman said he had no idea what he would carve when he arrived in Craig on Wednesday. Instead, he let the log decide.

"I stared at it for the first day," Dorman said of the log. "I didn't even carve. I just stared at it for about four hours.

"At the end of the day, it came to me. So, I started the next day."

What emerged from the wood over the course of the next few days was an intertwined series of wolf busts.

The finished piece, "The Passion of the Pack," was awarded third prize and $500 by a panel of event judges.

Lafayette resident Bongo Love approached his project the same way. He wasn't sure what he would carve until he had a good look at the log he'd received in the lottery selection.

Then an idea emerged, he said. Because the event coincided with Father's Day, he thought he would pay tribute to fathers. He carved two sea horses engaged in a courtship dance.

Male sea horses, he said, carry fertilized eggs in specialized abdominal pouches, and they give birth to their children.

"It's the only animal in the world that does that," he said.

Love won second place and $750 for "Love is a Wonderful Thing."

Canon City resident Sheldon Roberts arrived in Craig with no notion of what he would carve.

"I had to get the wood first, and I decided then," he said. "I was trying to figure it out, but I didn't get to it until I had my piece."

Roberts also played with the fatherhood theme. His sculpture, "Father Time," combines the bust of the metaphorical man atop a grandfather clock, complete with gears, a pendulum and clock hands.

Except for the clock hands, which were added later, the carving was made from a single piece of wood.

Roberts said he wasn't nervous when cutting away most of the log to reveal four delicate legs upon which the head and clock are supported.

"I didn't care," he said. "I was just going to do it, and go as far as I could and take away as much wood as possible."

For his efforts, Roberts was presented with two awards: peoples' choice and first place, which came with a $1,000 check.

Loveland resident Faye Braaten took the carvers' choice award for her piece, "Ultimate Sacrifice." The sculpture features a bald eagle, the American flag and a cross.

Braaten said she arrived at the rendezvous knowing full well that she would carve that composition. She's done the same one before, she said, in her Custom Chainsaw Art shop.

"I was asked to do a memorial for a couple in Oklahoma that lost their son in Iraq," she said.

As Whittle the Wood approached, Braaten asked the family if she could carve the same sculpture for the event.

"They said they would be honored," Braaten recalled.

Braaten said she's been coming to Craig for Whittle the Wood since it started 12 years ago. Sometimes she arrives with an idea in mind, sometimes not.

Having an idea this year made sense, she said.

"I just felt like that was what I was supposed to carve this year," Braaten said.

Over the past 12 years, Braaten said the level of artistry has improved at Whittle the Wood, and the city, which assumes ownership of the finished pieces, is the beneficiary of a growing talent pool.

"The quality (of carvings) that's churning out now…they're getting a really good deal," she said of Craig.

She said there's a simple reason artists keep improving.

"We keep pushing each other," she said.

Roberts, who has participated at Whittle the Wood for seven years, has noticed the same thing.

"I just love being around these other people and watching them all grow," he said.

Click here to visit the Whittle the Wood website.

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Winners

Winners at the 12th annual Whittle the Wood Rendezvous in Craig:

• First place, $1,000 — Sheldon Roberts, “Father Time”

• Second place, $750 — Bongo Love, “Love is a Wonderful Thing”

• Third place, $500 — Forrest Dorman, “The Passion of the Pack”

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