A group of chainsaw carvers will add rip-roaring fun to this year's Moonshine Madness Day in Osakis.
They'll be doing "quick carve" demonstrations downtown on Saturday, Sept. 8, finishing a project in one hour starting at 10 a.m. and then repeating the feat at 1 p.m. They will also be working on their individual projects.
Doug Johnson, elementary wrestling coach in Osakis and a full-time chainsaw carver, said that seven carvers from throughout the state - all friends who have known each other for years through their passion for carving - will converge in Osakis to create their masterpieces.
"This is the first show we're all doing together," Johnson said. "It will be one of the biggest carving shows in the state - and a good one!"
All their pieces will be auctioned off downtown starting at 6:30 p.m. Saturday. A portion of the proceeds will help support the Osakis Wrestling Club.
"My son and daughter both wrestled through elementary and high school," Johnson said. "By supporting the wrestling club, I am hoping to pass on my family's appreciation for the sport and the opportunities it has given us."
The carvers are as unique as their individual styles. They all have different backgrounds, experience and reasons why they became so immersed in their art.
Even their physical traits are a contrast. Johnson, for instance, stands 5 feet, 5 inches and weighs about 140 pounds, while a fellow carver, Dave Brenna, is 6-foot-10-inches tall and weighs 465 pounds.
The Review asked the carvers to provide biographical background:
Johnson and his wife, Andrea, live in Osakis where they raised two children, Devyn and Seth. "My fellow carvers and I plan to put on a good show. They each have their own amazing and unique style," Johnson said. "Stop by and see the sawdust fly. I'll be the guy with the cut-off sleeves."
Johnson added that he appreciates the community support the carvers have received. Lake Victoria Resort, for example, is donating stays for the seven carvers and their guests.
Carlson started carving wood in 1987. He traveled to Italy in 2005 to study marble sculpting and is also an award winning ice sculptor.
Wavra and his wife, Chris, live in a log home they built themselves in a beautiful area of Red Lake Falls known as the Klondike. Carving has become an important part of Joe's life over the past 17 years as he tries to capture some of the history of the unique place he calls home.
Trappers, voyageurs, Native Americans, and the animals that they hunted are some of his specialties. Inspiration comes from long canoe rides where the Wavras come across some of the driftwood that become carvings of spirits from a bygone age.
For the past seven years, Wavra has been carving trolls for the city of Thief River Falls, the Sons of Norway and area businesses.
For many years, Scott Johnson dabbled in different forms of art, none of which held his attention. He became interested in chainsaw carving after attending a carving show in Park Rapids in 2009. He started chainsaw carving as a hobby while working construction.
He's been carving full time since 2013 at Landquist Rustic Wood Furnishings in Park Rapids and still enjoys carving and learning from seeing and talking with other carvers.
Standing 6'10" at 465 pounds, this "man beast" is a fierce competitor in any carving arena. With the likes of Paul Bunyan and who some call Sasquatch, Brenna hails from the vast wilderness of north central Minnesota.
This Picasso with a saw can capture critters only few men have ever laid eyes upon before. He's been dazzling crowds with a roaring Husqvarna since 2013.
Jans, the lone female carver in the group, prefered to put her biography in prose:
Since I'm not exactly
Of the normal convention,
Chainsaw carving was
Part of my reinvention.
The reinvention of self
Upon turning the age of 50
(That and getting
A Yamaha V-Star 950.)
ACGC science teacher,
Always working on growth mindset,
Has made over 200 carvings
And I haven't burned one yet.
I added doing a carving show
To my bucket list,
So when Doug Johnson asked,
I didn't exactly resist.
Four years later and releasing
Critters from wood to show it.
And by now you may have realized
...I'm also a dorky poet.
Brosseau is from Thief River Falls and started carving when he was about 19 years old as a pastime. In 2010 he watched some chainsaw artists and decided to go home and give it a try.
Brosseau has been hooked on carving with a chainsaw ever since. He still enjoys carving smaller pieces but says the speed of a chainsaw is addictive to him and became his obsession.
He does most of his carving just west of Thief River Falls.