Pop culture power: Whittle the Wood Stump 12’s Ken Braun puts film finesse into carvings | CraigDailyPress.com

Pop culture power: Whittle the Wood Stump 12’s Ken Braun puts film finesse into carvings

Left: Ken Braun shows off "Blue," a velociraptor carving and the winner of multiple awards in the 20th annual Whittle the Wood Rendezvous. Right: Braun works on the carving's early stages before painting.
Andy Bockelman

After a revolutionary chimpanzee and a villainous mishmash of aquatic nightmares picked him up awards the past two years, Ken Braun knew he had to find a way to top himself at the 20th annual Whittle the Wood Rendezvous.

Braun returned to cinematic inspiration for this year’s festival, crafting “Blue,” a depiction of the velociraptor of the same name from “Jurassic World,” picking up the $1,000 first place honor and People’s Choice and tying for Artist’s Choice.

The Montrose carver also dominated in 2018 with “Davy Jones,” the tentacled, crab-clawed, tragic figure from the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise.

Ken Braun of Montrose mimics the squint of Davy Jones. Braun won multiple awards at the 19th annual Whittle the Wood Rendezvous, including Artists’ Choice, People’s Choice and the $1,000 first place from the judges for his carving.
Andy Bockelman

Braun placed third the year before that with “Caesar” from the reboot of “Planet of the Apes” films.

Ken Braun’s “Caesar” stares menacingly. Braun won third place for the carving in 2017.
Andy Bockelman

Braun almost went an entirely different direction this year as he considered trying his hand at recreating a carving he had already done of Groot from “Guardians of the Galaxy,” which he had towering over his work station.

A wooden sculpture of Marvel Comics’ Groot is among the features at the 20th annual Whittle the Wood Rendezvous.
Andy Bockelman

“I thought if I bring something, I can’t really do the same thing,” he said. “Maybe next year.”

Braun said it’s hard to pick a favorite, though given Blue’s snarl, claws and tail, he’s certainly proud of the features he was able to make.

20th annual Whittle the Wood Rendezvous carvings

Stump 1 — Nate Hall — “Mountain Migraine”; Rams butting heads

Stump 2 — Matt Ounsworth — “20 for 20”; Animal totem (Second place)

Stump 3 — Jim Valentine — “Buckshot Bill”; Cowboy

Stump 4 — Damon Gorecki — “Wood Haven”; Bench

Stump 5 — Justine Park — “Home of the Brave”; Skull with feathered headdress

Stump 6 — Joe Srholez — “Xing Yun (Lucky)”; Dragon

Stump 7 — Chad Stratton — “Long Ago”; Wooly mammoth

Stump 8 — Bongo Love — “The Sweet Life”; Hummingbirds (Third place)

Stump 9 — Robert Lyon — “Horse of Course”; Horse

Stump 10 — Robert Waits —  The Lorax”; The Lorax (Artist’s Choice)

Stump 11 — Fernando Dulnuan — “The Lion of Judah”; Angel with lion and lamb

Stump 12 — Ken Braun — “Blue”; Velociraptor (First place, People’s Choice, Artist’s Choice)

The somewhat delicate nature of the winning carving resulted in a photo mishap with crowd members the day after Whittle the Wood, though Craig Parks and Recreation staff expect the damage will be easily fixed.

Braun said he has been humbled by the results of the past several years after taking a lengthy hiatus from competing at the event.

“Coming back to the show and doing what I want to do gives me a good break from my shop,” he said. “It went really smooth this year, but it went by too fast.”