That funky wooden bear was a staple to your grandparent’s front yard, and there’s always the one quirky neighbor on the block that has one—but did you know there are entire competitions centered on chainsaw carvings? Did you know there exists a chainsaw carving school in Allyn that will teach you how to make one of your own? And almost always has a live demonstration going on? Truth, truth, and truth.
George Kenny and his wife Diane own a combination wine shop and chainsaw carving school in Hood Canal, and people flock from all over for a chance to have at an old log with a chainsaw. As Brian Ruth, professional chainsaw artist was noted as saying, “If Michelangelo had had a chainsaw, he probably would have used it.”
There’s a whole culture centered on chainsaw carving, and George is equipped with over 20 years of experience creating and teaching. His introduction class teaches a myriad of skills and equips students with the know-how to keep at this quirky art form.
At the time of its first settlement, the Olympic Peninsula depended, and came to thrive on one of its most prolific natural resources—wood. Founded in 1890, Simpson Lumber Company, operating out of Shelton (just a short jump from Allyn) is one of the oldest, continuously operating lumber companies in the Pacific Northwest.
A history rooted in woodcraft breeds artistic culture centered on it. The primitive craft of woodcarving has evolved over time coinciding with the invention of technology like the chainsaw. Contemporarily, chainsaw carving encompasses a sweeping variety of styles, skill levels and themes—some artists prefer to be strictly performance artists.
George Kenny is a wealth of historical, artistic, and technical information when it comes to chainsaw carving. It’s surely reflected in the varied and intricate carvings that fill the yard surrounding his school, and studied by the staggering number of people that have taken his class over the years.
If perusing mind-blowingly intricate, carved wooden oddities is up your alley, the Kennys care to host, boasting an extensive sculpture garden chock full of quirky creations ranging from NW native creatures, to native inspired works of art, to classic bears and more. To peek at this spectacle, stop by any day of the week between 9am and 5pm.
And, at the end of an afternoon poking around all corners filled with over 600 carvings, bounce next door to Top of the Cork for a tasty sampling of locally sourced wines.