RONAN — What started as an idea to bring some action to Mission Valley culminated in a four-day event in Ronan.
Five professionals from Western Montana showcased their ability to turn trees and stumps into works of art at the second annual Chainsaw Carving Rendezvous.
“I think determination is a big part of it,” Ron Adamson, Libby artist, told MTN News.
Using a mechanical fuel-powered cutting tool to chip away at wood is no easy task.
The tools are heavy, can be dangerous, and must be used correctly to achieve the unique art form seen frequently around the West.
“I kind of combined my fine arts with my chainsaw skills, and that’s where we get some of those, like, fine-tuned eagles or fish," Adamson said.
Adamson, a life-long artist from Libby, also has expertise in bronze and stone—though recently he turned to chainsaws.
In Winslow, Arizona, Adamson’s life-size “Easy” statue is named to honor the famous song “Take it Easy” by the Eagles.
"So this is what I’m famous for,” said Adamson who noted his statue is now featured in hundreds of social media posts each year.
Back to tree carving, he says the number one way he sees people get into chainsaw carving is seeing something fantastical in a stump.
“Everywhere you go there’s trees that need to be cut. People have trees in their yards broken off -- or they have to cut them and they don’t want to part with the whole tree. So they say, could you carve something in this tree?" Adamson explained.
Adamson also puts on a carving event in Libby and was contacted to help establish this one in Ronan.
In 2019, the idea struck Ronna Walchuk who is a co-organizer of the Chainsaw Carving Rendezvous.
“I just thought over the years, what's different that we could bring to our Mission Valley, and I had thought of the chainsaw carving, and I went to the Chamber of Commerce and presented it, and they liked it and here we are,” Walchuk told MTN News.
And the idea just fits. “We're Western, and we're rural, and there's logging in here; it fits our community, I think,” , Chainsaw Carving Rendezvous co-organizer Susan Lake said.
The event concluded with a Big Auction, and next year, organizers plan to bring in international carvers.