Sitting pretty: Whittle the Wood Stump 4’s Damon Gorecki sets his own benchmark |

Sitting pretty: Whittle the Wood Stump 4’s Damon Gorecki sets his own benchmark

Left: Damon Gorecki provides work to the side of his entry in the 20th annual Whittle the Wood Rendezvous. Right: Gorecki is joined by his daughters and nephews with the finished product, "Wood Haven."
Andy Bockelman

While some artists who join the effort of Whittle the Wood Rendezvous change up their works year after year, Damon Gorecki has carved out a specific niche in the festival.

Gorecki, a Salt Lake City resident, is by no means limited to one style, though the six-year competitor has become known as a specialist in creating wooden benches each year.

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)

Though the majority of WTW stumps remain vertical, Gorecki’s has routinely become horizontal, and this year is no exception.

Damon Gorecki’s “Wood Haven” at the 20th annual Whittle the Wood Rendezvous.
Andy Bockelman

The piece “Wood Haven” is the latest in his line of works, which have included embellishments with faces and animal figures in years past, many of which have provided seating at locations around Craig.

“Freedom” by Damon Gorecki at the 2018 Whittle the Wood
Andy Bockelman
Karen Brown, left, and Liane Davis-Kling flank the wooden bench, “My Mind,” in Breeze Street Park. The entry in Whittle the Wood Rendezvous created by Damon Gorecki has a sibling also crafted by Gorecki in Alice Pleasant Park, which Brown and Davis-Kling — both with Downtown Business Association — have seen as a big draw to the section of town.
Andy Bockelman

However, the newest carving saw Gorecki keep things streamlined in terms of artistry and emphasize the wooden nature with rounded and spiky traits alike.

“I thought it was more elegant than trying to go all extreme,” he said.

Most notably, besides the two posts and seat, the bench also features a roof.

“I figured that’d be a nice addition for some shade,” he said. “It’s functional, but it’s also art. It was fun to make.”


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