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winters coming

November 1 2015 at 9:49 AM

steve backus  (Login flashbackus)

Yes Jerry is correct {one legged ninja?} its kind of deafening with silence here so lets see if anyone is paying attention to this guild or any organized group that is trying to make sense of the chainsaw carving community.

On the Wikipedia site for chainsaw carving it is very self congratulating and somewhat accurate. I must say that its reference to the guilds is a little patronizing but not without merit, how is that site edited and is the person editing it responsible for their words?

In this modern age of power sculpture that is considered "chainsaw carving" the vast array of tools that accompany the artist is just staggering, power gouges, die grinders, sanders, drills, eye punches, and on and on, kinda makes the chainsaw just a small part of what is happening when the carver suits up and starts carving.

We here in the pacific northwest have been doing this "Chainsaw Art" for a long time. We also have been in the vanguard of the competitive aspect of its forward motion, the contests as they were in the 1980s were organized and ran for the most part by state and county fairs for the entertainment of the public more then for the competitive chainsaw artists vying quite seriously for a prize.

So with the organized entities {The Fairs} Having the authority to dictate how, and when the contests would be ran, without input from the participants, this would eventually lead to real and perceived inequity's thus pushing the chainsaw carvers at the time to at first bitch and moan, then like any group of disaffected people they organized, in this case the Cascade. Chainsaw. Sculptors. Guild.

Right from the start the c.c.s.g. was formed by a small but dedicated group, as in most cases the membership was up and down and the core of the group kept things rolling along, we created guidelines for how contests and such were to be ran, many things taken for granted nowadays but not won without struggles, the fairs stopped having contests so we turned to small towns that wanted events, these community's had never experienced anything like chainsaw carving contests and let us run things as we saw fit, they were very thrifty and we were forced to be self funding but at least had a venue to experiment with things like letting chainsaw carvers keep the carving that they created!

We also created a hosting system that would provide food and perks, the perks were flexible but they created a sense of respect.

There were other avenues that we tried to pursue, group projects in which we made big signs,totem poles, bench's, stumps and so on, each project was an experiment in an age of chainsaw carving that was in its infancy as an industry, the paychecks were always thin but the will to go on was strong.

We as a group knew that without an educated public to know and understand what we as chainsaw carvers were doing that we needed them {the public} to gain a knowledge and respect that would lead folks to understand the value of what we provided for the work we did, it is still an ongoing process, and unless I miss my guess the C.C.S.G. can, and will contribute to this continuing and unrelenting process.

It has not escaped my notice that many carvers enter the guild with their own agendas intact and often leave when they have fulfilled what their aims were, many came to the realization that it was very difficult to impose their will upon others and the results were often messy, but here we are!

It can only move forward by consensuses, it has only moved forward by consensus, even those who were in the game for themselves contributed to the overall good by teaching us what to "keep an eye out" for, nothing that we have done is the result of any one individual but the result of many layers over a period of time, I foresee the C.C.S.G. continuing to evolve and change by looking both forward and back simultaneously.

Winter is traditionally the time when there is guild activity, we are mainly a regional group based based mostly in the "Pacific Northwest although any one is welcome to join.

My goals for the winter is to revive the newsletter, and have an open meeting at the "Burning Bear project in "Ocean City Washington state, February 12,13 2016, that's about all I can realistically sink my teeth into, we will get some of the board members to undertake some committee stuff but lets be realistic we are dealing with unpaid volunteers so be happy with what we get, be nice as well.

As for the competitions we can provide established guidelines, but we cant tell anyone how to do it, they will do what they want anyway,which is the very spirit of independence we admire!

I shall pontificate more in the coming weeks, so it would be nice if "both" of you folks who look in here would say Hi!

Here ya go Jerry, how about that for some noise, now without everyone wanting grandiose ideals what would some of you kind folks see as a direction the C.C.S.G. could go?

and remember carve or starve...

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(Login J.H.H.)


November 1 2015, 4:01 PM 

Passion for what you do is what I want to see. I have sold cheap before and sometimes it came back to bite me. My reason for selling cheap has been that I am not and never will be as great a carver as some of my piers. However, I have the passion to make the next bear I carve better than the last one. As I have slightly improved I have raised my prices. I have also found that location is money. If I take my carvings away from a carving saturated area I get more $ also. I just got back from Colorado, Wyoming, Montana,Utah, and new Mexico and sold all but three of my carvings out of a trailer and truck full. That's the Passion I have for carving. Now I will go out and carve up another trailer full of carvings to pack around the states next yr. I'm still not rich with cash probably never will be. I have also picked up stump jobs that are in other States so that will pay for my vacation next yr. As for the guild, we need to find our place in carvers minds that they can go to to get answers and direction to those that have a passion for carving like it was new to them...remember when you first found out you had a little talent enough to carve a bear? Not everyone will end up a champion carver. I think it was wrong to eliminate the novice division and I would add a beginners class too. Well, I have added my rant to the conversation,,Oh yeah, and when pictures are being taken at shows why don't you post all of the other carvers sculptures too instead of just yours. You would be surprised how it affects their self worth and your kindness....O.K. I'm really done this time. I'm still carving if any one wants to invite me to attend an event....Jerry

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steve backus
(Login flashbackus)

burning bear

November 1 2015, 7:37 PM 

Burning bear would be the next event that comes to mind that is open to all,so come on down.

As for novice or beginner or pro it takes someone to organize something and pay for it, pretty simple, if the auction is the revenue source promoters only want those that produce money, all others need not apply, kinda sucks but this is the evolution so far.

If a promoter is not to worried about squeezing every penny out of the crowd, and is friendly with lots of carvers, and not judgmental then he/she can have the maintenance free carvers attend, but it is not about what you have accomplished as much about who you know,if one disagrees they have the right to have an event and run it any way way they choose.

Posting pictures! I personally have never posted a picture, but I understand what you are saying Jerry, most carvers only see the carvingworld through their eyes, its human nature I suppose, perhaps a guild photographer that is rewarded in some way could take unbiased pictures and then post them where they need to go, they would need to be armed with relevant information like what,where, when,in advance and with forethought, no easy task or it would be being done all the time.

would you be willing to lead a committee on the picture taking and documenting of events?

Now we are getting something done Jerry, thanks for poking the hive............

and remember carve or starve...

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(Login J.H.H.)

Photo ops...

November 10 2015, 4:50 PM 

I just bought a new and improved motorhome so I am going to go where ever I can,,,If I could work my wheels toward an event I would make sure every carver had his or her sculpture paraded around the net....Invites would make that happen,,,of course there are so many events going on at the same time I wouldn't be getting to them all but I would stay on the road,,,,hopefully in warm

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(Login J.H.H.)

Re: burning bear

November 10 2015, 4:51 PM 

I hope to be at burning bear this yr too....with my new house,,,,lol

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steve backus
(Login flashbackus)

Thats great jerry

November 20 2015, 7:39 AM 

We need the passion that you bring to the game, would you and Donna consider helping with the guild booth?

glad you had a nice run of luck last summer, see ya at the burning bear....
and remember carve or starve...

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(Login loghomes)

Site venue for get together

November 20 2015, 11:54 AM 

Steve; Have you looked into using Camp 18 in Elsie Oregon for a venue to raise some bucks for the association. Magnificent log building with Restaurant, Bar, Museum and Meeting room...lots of carvings throughout. I recall some by Susan Miller, Culp, many others.
Plenty of space and camping I'd think.

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(Login jay.kay)


November 3 2015, 6:19 AM 

Just yesterday I decided not to renew my position with a community organization because the mandate of the organization did not match my goals.
That said I plan to participate more unofficially than the official position allowed.

Maybe we can update the Wiki history.
Anybody can edit.

What would you add/change?

Russ Kubara

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steve backus
(Login flashbackus)

Add /change

November 3 2015, 8:21 AM 

I understand that some folks would not want to belong to an organization that would have someone like them as a member {chuckle} that being said in regards to the wiki deal, is it just whatever one claims to have done? or is it more of what is documented That gets on there?

I am of the mind that one of the helping hands that we as a guild could do is to provide a platform for vetting information before it gets on the wiki site, the history and evolution is based in factual information and we can simply proof read it so to speak before it hits the wiki site thus having what appears on that great site be accurate as possible.

The guilds were important in their beginning and with all the information available at the flick of a wrist these days, its easy to forget what it took to bring carvers together in the past, I for one would like to give credit where credit is due, not every carver of old thought it was a good idea to"spread the word" so those that did were ahead of the curve, lets record who did what and when.

thanks for your interest rooster, perhaps we get a subject and gnaw on it until we arrive at logical conclusions.

I am somewhat of a smart *** but take all of this stuff very seriously and would like to see the guild become relevant once again, no small task, the good stuff is not always the easy stuff!

and remember carve or starve...

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(Login jay.kay)


November 3 2015, 6:19 PM 

Proofing in WIKI is an ongoing thing as anyone can make or undo edits.
It appears that somebody has changed something here.

I can undo the error but would like confirmation.
I believe it is a "prank".

The oldest chainsaw artist records go back to the 1950s, which include artists Ray Murphy and Ken Kaiser. In 1952 Ray Murphy used his father's chainsaw to carve his name into a piece of wood. In 1961 Ken Kaiser created 50 carvings for the Trees of Mystery.

Many new artists began to experiment with chainsaw carving, including Josh Landry, Brenda Hubbard, Judy McVay, Don Colp, Cherie Currie (former Runaways lead singer), Susan Miller, Mike McVay, and Lois Hollingsworth. At this time chainsaw carvers started loading up their carvings in the back of their trucks, functioning as traveling galleries.

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steve backus
(Login flashbackus)


November 4 2015, 9:02 AM 

Ray Murphy is the same age as mike McVay,Who started playing around with carving in 1956, so ray would have been about 12 years old in 1952, the chainsaws of that time were massive two man contraptions , there were more then likely one man chainsaws but would have been big and heavy, I know ray Murphy and stayed overnight at his house when he lived in south Dakota { he took pat McVay and myself to see mount Rushmore} he said then he had started in 1952 pat and I looked at each other and grinned, ray could embellish a story pretty good but whose to say otherwise?

Ken Kaiser was in his mid fifties in the late 1950s so had been around as an adult before there were chainsaws on the open market, also Dudley carter was using a chainsaw to block out massive wood carving in those days, more research on Dudley carter could reveal much in the way of pioneers, he was also in his mid fifties in the 1950s.

The timeline between josh Landry who we all met at ridgway in 2002 or 2003 as an 18 year old assistant, and these early carvers is 50 years so the history is somewhat misleading for timelines!

As I understand it Lois used a chainsaw to block out stuff but not carve it,Don colp is the same age or a couple years older then both Ray and Mike began in the mid 1950s,Cherri Currie started some time in the 1980s or early 1990s {Im guessing} Susan miller got her start from mike mcvay in 1964, Judy mcvay started in 1972, don't know when Brenda Hubbard started.

I gotta go carve but thanks for the interest rooster, gotta go.......

and remember carve or starve...

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(Login jay.kay)

Monumental Sculpture

November 4 2015, 12:14 PM 

I had never heard of Dudley Carter so I had to research him.
While he has carved some monumental wood sculptures there is no reference anywhare to using a chainsaw.
He is known to use a two sided axe, an adz and gouges.

His work must have inspired many carvers.

And what about the influence of WITCO?
I have seen pictures where they had chainsaws suspended from above, in a factory setting.

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steve backus
(Login flashbackus)


November 4 2015, 1:44 PM 

was about 60 miles north of me, they went out of business in 1976,we had a carving shop on the south end of whidbey island at that time, I was 16 at the time and was an indentured servant to the mcvay wood carving company {chuckle} I recall mike mcvay pointing out that the competition was out of business, I have card of a guy that worked there that is a preacher over in sequim these days, have met several guys that worked there back in the day, it was somewhat corporate and hired standerd construction worker types who followed very percise instructions, human duplicaters of some sort.

Dudley carter was carving monumental sculptures with an ax {what else could you use} long before chainsaws were on the market and when they came along he incorporated them into his method, he lived to be a hundred and one , there is a art memorial type of place in marymoor park in Redmond Washington.

Ken kaiser was probley the first to use the saw alone to create sculpre, the saws were large so the carvings were large, don colp was friends with ken kaiser and mike mcvay went and met him as a young man to seek advice.

Pat mcvay came by today and I told him the ray murphy story about carving in 1952! we sure got a chuckle out of that again, thanks for playing with me rooster this is fun.......

and remember carve or starve...

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(Login jay.kay)


November 4 2015, 2:57 PM 

That fills in a few blanks.

I remember reading somewhere that at one point WITCO felt that their product needed some variation and farmed out some work to local carvers.
I wonder if any of those carvers are still around?

When ALexander Graham Bell invented the telephone he was not the only one working on it.
I wonder where and when the epicenter of chainsaw carving was in Europe?

Interesting side note.
There is restaurant that I frequent in a small town (Inverness) in Florida that has a Pat McVay pirate.
The local story is that one day Pat came into the restaurant and proved it was his carving with a picture!

I head south next week and am stopping in at Chaptacular.
Jerry Scheiffer plans to be there and I will check if he has the history "straight".
I know he has been collecting a lot of stories.


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steve backus
(Login flashbackus)

ahhh florida

November 4 2015, 5:53 PM 

There was a carving contest at the Tampa fair 1991-92 they did not have one in 93, then again in 94, pat and I with my wife Nanette plus Jesse Groshen, also did the west palm beach fair in 94 and 95 then pat went down again in 96 and 97 so he was doing a lot of carving down there for a number of years, made lots of contacts plenty of wood once you know who's who, my experiance was not nearly as extensive as pats, he was and is a full time carver so he left a lot of carvings down there because its like this "Carve or Starve!"

WE met the likes of Steve blanched and brian Ruth and Dennis Beach what a good time that was!!

as for witco and the chainsaw carver landscape--- there were No local carvers as we know them today. a few guys that used a chainsaw to get something close to a shape, they created a few "local carvers" of which not one kept at it,they had a factory environment and you went there to clock in, keep in mind the technology of the day, that's why they had all them pulleys and gizmos because everything was as heavy as catholic guilt and awkward,plus their designs ran heavy to 60s art deco and the times they were a changing.

As I said earlier there are some of them witco carvers around, but they never carved after that to any extent, they were employees and did their narrow part,they were not hired to think, I got a card of the preacher guy he was a chatterbox I will dig it up for you to call him,if you want.

Now look up "Paul luvera" and his book "How to carve a totem pole" paul was up in that area around the same time he was a state senator and did many many things in his long life, I think he was 93 when slipped out of this life, he used a chainsaw as part of an arsenal of tools.

Judy McVay met and interacted with Paul Luvera in his later years, Pat McVay met and interacted with Dudley Carter in his later years, Mike McVay met and interacted with Ken Kaiser in his later years, are we starting to see a pattern here?!

Young carvers seeking out seasoned carvers,used to be how you learned before the internet.

this is fun.

and remember carve or starve...

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(Login jay.kay)

Its all fun to me!

November 4 2015, 6:31 PM 

I have always wondered how Ray Murphy could claim that he was the first Chainsaw Sawyer (carver) at 12.
The 1949 Homelite one man saw was 37 lbs, 20 inch bar.

He claims his first carving with a saw was messages.
There is no claim at what age he did any "sculpture".

I have a memory of a fence post at age 15.

I suspect that you are wright about Dudley likely predating Ray using the saw *** a tool for his sculpture work.
Maybe as early *** 1949?

Ray would discount that as a wood carver using another tool and not all chainsaw.
Maybe he was the first all saw "sayer" as he calls himself.

I think I am ready to try a belt buckle but have not been able to find a volunteer!

I am the only Chainsaw Carving Elvis!!! (I think).

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(Login buzzsawz)

heres kenyon

December 26 2015, 5:24 PM 

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(Login keyfur)

Early 70's Sookane?

December 27 2015, 7:56 PM 

I wonder who was carving stump jobs in Spokane in the early 70's?
My aunt got started when she hired a guy to carve her stump into a buffalo.
When she returned home, she didn't want to pay the guy, but her relations made her.
She said it looked like a pig, and a bad one at that!
So, she decided to carve her own buffalo.

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steve backus
(Login flashbackus)

Early 70s

December 29 2015, 11:57 AM 

lets do some research Donald, Jerry Bebe was in Wallace Idaho but he was pretty good,don't know if he was started that early, was it a paleface?
and remember carve or starve...

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