Chainsaw carving 1

A cut above the rest at Carve Carrbridge competition

They say blood is thicker than water – well, that’s until the chainsaws get picked up for this year’s Carve Carrbridge!

Family rivalries are set to dominate as brother goes up against brother and father against son.

At the 2019 Scottish Open Chainsaw Carving Competition, also known as Carve Carrbridge, multiple winner Pete Bowsher from Moffat will be challenged for the top spot by his son Sam who has only been carving for a few years but has already started up his own chainsaw carving business ‘Chip off the Old Block’. With dad Pete having been a winner seven out of 13 years, and second placed in 2018, Sam will need razor sharp skills and nerve on the day if he is to come out on top. Equally, Pete will want to prove that he’s not over the hill yet!

Furthermore, former professional rugby player Mike Burgess, who has been carving for six years will be hoping that his brother’s success in 2016 won’t give his sibling an advantage. Brother Jonathan Sherwood won Best Newcomer at Carve Carrbridge three years ago and will definitely have his eye on a podium place in 2019.

There is one female carver on the field this year, Sylvia Itzen from Germany. She is joined by fellow German carver Michael Tamozus who won last year with his truly impressive carve ‘Girl in the Wind’. Other countries represented include the USA, Canada, Poland and Argentina.

Carve Carrbridge, which takes place on Saturday 31 August, is now in its 17th year. It is the ultimate speed chainsaw carving competition and attracts some of the best names in the business, not to mention thousands of spectators who swell the Highland village’s population by at least four times for that one day.

The competition involves each carver having to create a work of art from a piece of Sitka Spruce 22 inches in diameter and eight foot long – in only four hours. They’re only allowed to use chainsaws to produce their sculpture and burners to add finishing details to the carvings.

The winner of the main carve, as voted for by the six strong judging panel, will raise the Claymore Trophy and earn the right to ‘brag’ at the Carve Carrbridge Ceilidh later that evening. There is also a trophy for the People’s Choice – the best carving as voted for by visitors to the event, Carvers Choice – the best carving as voted for by the competitors – and Best New Entrant. Following the main competition there is also a Quick Carve, where competitors have just 30 minutes to create something special.

Carve Carrbridge organiser, Gavin Gerrard said: ‘We’ve always said that Carve Carrbridge is an event for all the family and we’re delighted to see the carvers have taken this quite literally with brothers and fathers and sons going up against each other. The Carve is a massive event for Carrbridge and would not be possible without the dedicated band of volunteers – with many of them making it a family affair too with sons and daughters volunteering alongside mothers and fathers! They work tirelessly to ensure everyone has a great day. We are also very grateful to the many local and national businesses who sponsor the event. I think the 2019 competition is set to be the best yet!’

The event opens to the public at 10am with carving getting underway at 10.30am. All carvings created on the day are auctioned off at the end of the event following the prize giving (usually around 4.30pm). As well as the carving competition there is a whole host of other attractions and stalls for spectators to enjoy as well as music from the local pipe band. Once again there are free shuttle buses from Station Road car parks. For more information visit the Carve Carrbridge website.

This year’s carvers are –

Simon Archer – UK: Simon is from Liverpool and has a formal background in fine art and sculpture and now works exclusively as a wood sculptor/chainsaw artist.

Adrian Bois – Argentina: Adrian is based in Villa Elisa, near Buneos Aires and has been carving wood for 10 years. In 2017 he travelled to Sweden to work as part of the 26 person team carving the annual ice hotel there.

Peter Bowsher – Scotland: Winner in 7 out of 13 years! Pete achieved 2nd place in 2018 and has a wealth of commissions and installations to his credit.

Mike Burgess – UK: Carving since 2013, having taken it up as hobby due to an injury that stopped his professional rugby career.

Iain Chalmers – Scotland: Based on the Black Isle in the Scottish Highlands, Iain has literally thousands of chainsaw carvings under his belt. Iain performs at shows, games and exhibitions such as the Royal Highland Show, Garden Scotland and The Black Isle Show. Iain has competed at Carve Carrbridge for 14 years having won the Tom Jones Claymore 3 times consecutively and Peoples Choice many times.

Josh Dagg – Canada: Josh hails from Aylmer, near Ottowa in Canada. Aged 19 he started a career as a professional log house builder, but also found the world of wood carving and has made a life built around both. 20 years on, he is still mixing building homes with creating art. This is his 5th visit to Carve Carrbridge.

James Elliott – UK: A Glasgow-based (near Hamilton) wood sculptor working with sustainably sourced timber. James originally trained as an illustrator and had a ‘eureka’ moment when working as a tree surgeon and traded his pens and brushes for chainsaws and chisels. James specialises in wildlife sculptures and has a great passion for historical and mythological subjects.

Damon Goreki – USA: A freeform carver, Damon aka the ‘Barefootcarver’ from Salt Lake City Utah, will be making his 2nd appearance at Carve Carrbridge in 2019. Damon gave up welding and started carving 9 years ago. Damon says he has no plan, blueprint or sketch that he draws from in creating his art; “I try not to plan anything—I like to go in and just let the wood tell me what it wants to be.”

Sylvia Itzen – Germany: The only female competitor this year, Sylvia has been carving for 17 years and has taken part in national and international chainsaw events and exhibitions. She particularly enjoys the speed carve!

Martin Kalman – Slovakia: A newcomer in 2018 to Carve Carrbridge, Martin got 3rd Place and Best New Entrant. Martin hails from Horehronie in Slovakia and has been carving for some 11 years now. Back in 2007 Martin was a permanent member of an opera choir, but found that working with wood excited him so much that he turned his back on music to become a woodcarver.

Igor Kucera – Czech Republic: Igor was our first entrant from the Czech Republic back in 2015. He is ‘on tour’ with fellow carver Wladek from Poland. Igor started drawing and carving small pieces from pine bark aged 5. He attended a visual arts school and went on to study graphic design at university in the Czech Republic where he worked after graduating. Later he started his own graphic studio in Leicester. At 43 he eventually learned to work with a chainsaw and started carving life-sized statues. Since then, he has taken part in many woodcarving shows and competitions in Czech Republic, Slovakia, UK and USA.

Wladek Ligocki – Poland: Overall winner in 2016, Wladek is once again on tour with fellow carver Igor and back at Carve Carrbridge for more chainsaw fun.

Roni MacDonald – Scotland: Based in Oban, Roni has been a regular competitor since the beginning of the event. He remains hopeful of secure a place on the podium.

Sam Bowsher – Scotland: Sam has grown up with Carve Carrbridge having attended with his dad Pete! He caught the chainsaw bug himself only 3 years ago and has been carving full-time, having given up working as a welder, for only a few months. Sam’s business is called ‘Chip Off The Old Block Chainsaw Carving’ as most people who know the carving scene will have heard of his dad Chainsaw Pete.

David Roberts – Wales: Hails from Wales but resides in Portlethen near Aberdeen. This is his 7th year at Carve Carrbridge. David is a part time wood sculptor and trades as Dervish Carvings. David is a scientist, diver, climber and a chainsaw-carver and not one to be bored!

Arran Scott – UK: Is based in East and has been chainsaw carving since 2011. He carves at many of the living shows across the country, as well as Woodfest country show in North Wales. He particularly enjoys the pressure of the speed carve competition.

Marcos Mariño Seoane – Spain: Trained in the school of applied arts Master Mateo of Santiago de Compostela 20 years ago but has only been working with chainsaws for the last 4 years and has already attended several international events and competitions. He is the official sculptor of Husqvarna for Spain and Portugal.

Garry Shand – Scotland: Garry, originally from Huntly, Aberdeenshire first competed at Carve Carrbridge in 2008 and has been every year since. Garry placed 3rd in 2015 with his popular carving of ‘Groot’ from the movie ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’. Garry is a full-time chainsaw sculptor operating from his home/workshop in Drummuir, Moray.

Jonathan Sherwood – UK: Jonathan is a part time sculptor combining a day job and university studies and currently lives in Harrogate. He first started chainsaw carving when he was 16 and has been developing his skills ever since. Jonathan won best newcomer at Carve Carrbridge a couple of years ago. His brother Mike Burgess is also competing this year so we have a sibling challenge!

Jonny Stableford – UK: ‘Jonny Chainsaw’ as he’s known is from Lintlithgow near Edinburgh. He is a full time arborist and is entering the event for the 10th time.

Craig Steele – Scotland: An arborist from South Ayshire, Craig ‘Steeley’ Steele has a lifelong passion for rural pursuits. This is his 7th year at the event he came along for a number of years to watch before picking up his saws to show us what he’s made of. He loves the features and textures of wood and draws inspiration from the wildlife and natural environment.

Michael Tamozus – Germany: 2018 winner with ‘Girl in the Wind’, Michael comes from Herrenberg on the edge of the Black Forest in Germany and is entering the event for the 7th time. Michael won best new entrant in 2009.

Garry Turler – Wales: This is Garry’s 3rd year at Carve Carrbridge. Garry aka ‘Wildboar Carvings’ is based in the Brecon Beacons. He started carving as a hobby roughly 4 years ago but being an engineer/toolmaker, it didn’t give him much time to carve and he decided to turn his new passion into a full time job in September last year.

Ian Williams – Wales: Attending the event for a 4th year, Ian comes from North Wales where he grew up on a farm, leading to an early introduction to chainsaws. His aim is to try to “make the trees come back to life with all of the beauty of the wood showing through”.

The programme for the day can be viewed here