Wood Carving: Trees as a Medium for Unique Art

Unless you’ve been to a logging competition, you probably haven’t seen someone with a large chainsaw creating a beautiful piece of art out of a dead tree, but you may have stumbled upon their handiwork in the woods or sitting outside a boutique. When a tree dies (or sometimes, while it’s alive), these tree carvers are able to take the remains and turn it into something beautiful. Here are some of the most gorgeous examples of tree carving:

(Images via treefellersronaldhankocimba7200, bruce aleksander and dennis milam)

Those who take up tree carving are typically nature lovers, and spend a lot of their time in the outdoors enjoying nature, and practicing their art. It’s unsurprising, then that animals feature heavily in tree carving subject matter. The most common tree carving tends to be a giant bear, rough hewn out of a large tree and left in the lobby of a ski lodge. Large hawks and Pelicans, and even fish leaping out of imaginary water, are just a few of the more intricate animals also chosen.

(Images via ajftfields of viewgary and kathyneiliolndshlf72treefellers)

Human faces are difficult to carve because everyone is a well attuned critic, since we’ve all been studying faces since we first opened our eyes. Despite the difficulty, the idea of an old wise tree man, or beautiful and intelligent tree woman, is incredibly common, and by far the most intriguing tree carving subject matter.

(Images via ksgirl, chigmarofflinda, jafproject)

People are difficult to carve because they’re tall, bipedal, and typically have some sort of tool or implement lying around; not to mention the fact that we’re evolutionarily geared to be able to tell what is right or wrong about a person’s face, making everyone much more critical. The difficulty doesn’t stop tree carvers, however, and many create monuments to famous individuals from trees that have been around since they still walked the Earth.

(Images via gizmodocoasttocoastam)

It’s surprising when a tree carver’s subject matter is something besides a jumping salmon or wise-eyed old man, but that can make it even more enjoyable. Above are two such examples; an arcade machine and an alien, defying you to pass by without studying them even more intently than you would a depiction of a large bear.

(Images via halle0909, the eggplant, trying to keep still, jaana-mari, simon lawrencelwh1970)

A tree carver has to work with the shape and size of the tree he’s working with, and this can spur creativity in a direction maybe the tree carver didn’t even expect. They may reveal symbolic elements, or even the secret door to a dwarve’s underground abode, or even create an area meant for meditation on nature. Whatever the tree carver decides, if they have the skills, it will become awe inspiring.