Sam Bowsher is a 23-year-old chainsaw carver from the south of Scotland.
The youngest son of ‘Chainsaw Pete’ aka Pete Bowsher – a well known and acclaimed carver himself – Sam has grown up surrounded by chainsaw carving, with carving competitions being an annual occurrence in the Bowsher household.
After catching the carving bug from his dad, Sam gave up his work as a welder and threw himself into chainsaw carving as his full-time occupation.
Since then, he has been running a successful chainsaw carving business, completing commissions for various sculptures, and been competing in competitions up and down the country.
His most recent win was the Carve Carrbridge 2020 trophy (which his dad has won eight times), beating out some of the best chainsaw carvers there are.
Here, Sam counts down his top six creations:
Golden Eagle Bench:
‘This piece was commissioned by the town of Moffat in the South of Scotland to celebrate their becoming the UK’s first ever Eagle Town. I really enjoyed making this as I was given quite a lot of leeway with the layout and design, and I like how natural the tallest Golden Eagle seems perched on his branch..
‘Now this was a big ‘un! I was asked to make a crocodile that was 6ft from nose to front shoulders. I really enjoyed the size of it, as it gave me a chance to get details in that I hadn’t been able to in past smaller crocodiles that I had sculpted. I also really like how imposing this piece looks, with its big wide-open mouth and rows of teeth. The lucky owner of this sculpture has it beside a pond and plans to plant tall bushes around it.’
‘I carved this whilst competing at the Sandringham Food and Craft Fair in August. I came up with and carved this piece within the 25-hour time limit. I was very happy with how it turned out. Wildlife is my favourite thing to carve, and this has 8 animals in total! I had also wanted to carve a Roe Deer leaping like that for some time. I like to think the animals are reacting to a BANG that they have all just heard!’
Memorial Wildlife Bench:
‘This was commissioned by a group of friends as a memorial for their friend who had sadly passed away. Again, I was given free reign with regards to design and layout. They handed me a list of animals they wanted to be included and were happy for me to add anything else that I thought would fit. This piece features 9 animals in total, including a small cray fish, 2 frogs, an eel, 2 trout, a life-size flying heron, a barn owl, and a kingfisher. It is a functional carving too – I built a picnic bench attached to the back of it. It is placed at the start of a public walk, again in Moffat.’
Border Reiver Warrior:
‘This was commissioned by a woman to give as a gift to her husband. He had a large interest in history, and Border Reivers were one of his favourites. I was asked to take inspiration from a statue in Carlisle that he likes. I really enjoyed carving this, I put a lot of research into making sure I was adding clothing and weapons that were suitable for the time period. This was my first life-size human commission, and it was a real challenge that I thoroughly enjoyed. I hope to get more commissions for human figures in the future.’
‘The first carving I took from sketch to finished carving just for my own enjoyment. I don’t have a particular affiliation with giraffes, I just saw a picture of a real mother and calf giraffe online and thought I could turn it into a nice carving. These proved to be very popular when I posted them online too. I’m happy with how I managed to capture them really leaning into each other but still made the mother seem gentle. I plan to do some full body, (not full-size!) giraffes in the future as I really like the shape of them – plus who doesn’t like giraffes.’
Sam concludes: ‘All in all, there really hasn’t been a day where I’ve drudged having to go to work. It’s true what they say, find a job you love, and you’ll never work another day in your life.’
If you’d like to see more of Sam’s work or enquire about a sculpture for your own garden, you can do so HERE.