As we have in the past we have really out done ourselves this year with the amazing artists we have joining us. Some returning mixed with a touch of new, this championship will be just as breath taking as it is every year!!!! We are so exited to see what masterpieces our carvers bring to life this year. So without further ado the list for the 2021 International chainsaw carving championship are listed below. Congratulations and good luck!!
Jeffrey Samudosky from Connecticut
While visiting Vermont in the late 1990s, Jeff noticed some wood carvings along the side of a road. He thought, “I could do that” and opened J.M.S. Wood Sculpture in 1999. With over 20 years-experience, Jeff’s business has allowed him to live in many locations around the country and travel all over the world participating in competitions and becoming involved in the carving community. When he isn’t traveling, he creates his art in a small Washington town away from the hustle and bustle distractions of the major cities. Jeff was featured as an animal anatomy specialist in two episodes of the first chainsaw reality show, SAW DOGS, which aired on the Discovery Channel in 2012 (“Race to the Finish” and “First Breath”). More recently his sculptures were in National Geographic Kids UK magazine issue 145, Wood Carving Illustrated issue 82, Odd is Art, published by Ripley’s Believe It or Not!, and Who’s Who in Visual Art – 100 Artisans, Craftspeople & Designers – Vol. 2018-2019.
Raimondas Uzdravis from Lithuania
I’ve been working with a chainsaw for 31 years. I worked as a logger for ten years. I’ve been a carpenter for fifteen years. I made forest furniture, resting areas, cross the wooden bridges and stairs and gazebos. Eight years old I started chainsaw carving. I like to do burning sculptures at various festivals for the audience. I studied forestry and landscape architecture. In the international carving festivals I started in 2016.
Lkhagvadorj (George) Dorjsuren from Mongolia
Born Lkhagvadorj Dorjsuren, he now goes by his Alaskan given nickname “George” which he earned at the World Ice Sculpture Championship in Fairbanks, Alaska. The volunteers nicknamed him “George” because of the difficulty they have pronouncing his Mongolian name. Like everything else, he accepts it with a grin and gets right back to work. George was the first Mongolian to carve ice as an art form.
Marina Cole from Medicine Hat, Canada
Marina was always amused by art. She meddled in various mediums never really finding the one that was to be hers, until she was mesmerized by a hand carved Japanese Dragon. She at once took initiative to find where she could learn to express herself in such a way. Marina picked up her first chainsaw on April 9th, 2016. It was 2 months later that she entered her first competition. She had entered the novice category which did not have a ranking. It was all for the experience and wisdom of fellow carvers. Since that competition in June 2016, she has been involved in other competitions and events around the world such as Australia, Alaska and of course throughout British Columbia and Alberta.
Ryan Villiers from Edmonton, Canada
Ryan Villiers is from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Villiers has sold commissions across our great nation and throughout the United States. Villiers got into carving in 2017 after watching Carver Kings and transitioning from work as a heavy-duty mechanic. His first portrait carving was of his grandfather who died in 2018. Villiers pours his talent and passion into every single piece and this award-winning artist is no stranger to international acclaim. Ryan creates unique, detailed, and memorable pieces that are sure to capture, commemorate or showcase your business or interests.
Denny Henson from U.S.A
Denny started carving 8 years ago after attending a class by George Kenny from Allyn, WA. He has placed second at Reedsport in semi-pro division and has won numerous awards in Reedsport quick carve competitions. Denny is a full time Electrical Engineer who caves in his spare time and spends summers attending carving competitions throughout the Northwest.
Molly Wiste from Minnesota, USA
Molly started carving the summer of 2008 when a local event needed carvers. She has since traveled all over the US for carving events from Pennsylvania to Washington State, placing 3rd at the Scandinavia Corn Roast in 2018, and 3rd in Semi-pro in Reedsport in 2019. Molly also traveled internationally when she was accepted into the Australian Chainsaw Carving Championships in 2017. She loves carving Minnesota Wildlife, water, and people. She is a full-time art teacher at the Bemidji Minnesota Middle School. You can see more of her work at wistewoodworks.com or on Instagram or Facebook at Wiste Woodworks.
Alex Pricob from Moldova, Romania
Alex was born in Moldova but now resides in Washington and is returning for his 3rd year. He became a professional carver in 2014 after taking 1st in the semi-pro division that takes place in Reedsport. Alex has a studio in Yelm and is a full-time carver.
Bongo Love from Zimbabwe
Bingo is from Zimbabwe and is returning for his 4rd year. He started carving stone and wood when he was very young. His Grandfather was his mentor and influencer, as it is common for families to pass the trade of sculpting down to the next generation. Bongo’s animal pieces are symbolic of their tribal cultural traditions and are often inspired by dreams. He mostly focuses on mother and child, as well as family abstract pieces. Bongo learned to carve with a homemade adze and he began to master his sculptors to exhibits in galleries in both Europe and the USA. He has won multiple awards at chainsaw carving competitions.
Mark Colp from Alberta, Canada
Mark was born in Alberta but makes his home in California. He is returning for his 4th year. Mark started carving right out of high school and has been carving for over 36 years. Mark was on the reality show ‘Carver Kings’ which can be seen on Netflix. He was also on many episodes of the reality show ‘Snow Dogs’. Mark has won many awards and enjoys seeing people take his art home.
Tomas Vrba from Slovakia
Tomas is from Slovakia but now makes his home in Washington. Tomas earned a Masters in Sculpture Restoration from VSVU Bratislava. Tomas is returning to us for the 3rd year and was one of last year’s People’s Choice Award recipients. Tomas has been carving full-time since 2008 and has won many awards. His studio is located in Bellingham.
Dennis Beach from Pennsylvania, USA
Denis lives in the wooded hills of Wapwallopen, Pennsylvania. He cut into his first hardwood log in the early 1980s and has been sculpting some of todays greatest woodcarvings. Denis specializes is speed carvings, where he spends 30 minutes on stage with one log and quickly transforms a piece of nature into a piece of art. He has carved wood in New York, Kentucky, Georgia, Germany, Australia and Japan. Additionally Denis has carved ice in Alaska and Austria and went to the Caribbean islands to carve coral.
Steven Higgins from Missouri, USA
Steven is based in Missouri and is returning for his 4th year. Steven has consistently been king of the auction every event as well as Grand Champion the first year. He has competed in many events all over the United States and won many awards, including a sweep of the inaugural event here in Libby which is considered a Golden Broom Award in Carver World. Steven has over 20+ years of carving experience.
Todd Coates from Montana, USA
Todd comes to us from Montana and is returning for his 4th year competing. Todd does several types of art including chainsaw carvings, bronze sculptures, pencil, painting, pen and ink drawings. He has sold his chainsaw carvings to people from all around the world. His carvings range from 1 foot to his largest piece of 43 feet tall. Todd has been carving for over 25 years and he has carved most every type of wildlife out there. He likes chainsaw art with wood because it is outdoors, and he enjoys a challenge of competing against some of the best carvers in the world.
Jeff May from Idaho, USA
For me, the idea of “carving” has evolved over the years. In the beginning I didn’t really set any expectations and I had know-one to teach me anything, so my experience early on was fairly limited. I had just left the ocean working as a boat captain, because I felt like God put it in my heart to be a family man, which was difficult to do working offshore. A slight curiosity led me to pick up a chainsaw and carve what I new best which was a dolphin, and the rest is history. Over time, my confidence and passion has grown exponentially , viewing each sculpture I do, as an opportunity to say something different with the quality and expressiveness of the sculptures I make. My very first carvings were done in 1998′ in central Washington state, and shortly there after (2000′) I moved to Northern Idaho and have lived and worked there ever since. Most of my sculptures these days are made directly from my studio and delivered or shipped throughout the USA. I pinch myself everyday ; I feel blessed to be able to do what I love, working mostly from home and raising my kids in such a beautiful area of the country.
Joe Dussia from Pennsylvania, USA
Joe is from Pennsylvania and is returning to us for his 4th year. He is a body work artist who takes his passion and creative abilities from painting and airbrush work to the world of chainsaw carving. Joe’s love for the outdoors and nature lends credibility and authenticity to his artwork. He has performed at many events across the USA and Europe. His talents are many, from mechanics to art, he understands from and design and what it takes to incorporate that into his sculptures. Joe’s finished product proves this. He is a quiet competitor whose finished pieces define the “wow” factor of chainsaw art. Joe has a flair for creating movement in a log and his “finishing techniques” are an inspiration for growth in he artform. His unique interpretation and bold rugged style certainly please the judges and keep him in the public eye.
Jenny Tanner from USA
Jenny Tanner has been an artist her whole life. Completed a B.A. degree in art and was an art teacher for a bit. When she found chainsaw carving, about nine years ago, it was love! She finds holding a running saw and creating is her “Happy place.” Once Jenny began participating in, shows in the chainsaw carvers’ community, she found her tribe. She strives to make her family proud.
Thor from Earth
“Thor from the Earth” Bruce “Thor” Thorthinstein of Tacoma, Washington, is a self-described wanderer and gypsy chainsaw artist. Thor has been carving in the competitive arena since he showed up in Westport in 1999. Quite often he enjoys carving what he considers free style, allowing the shape, protrusions and defects in the knot to dictate the character of the face he is carving. He says his favorite competition was in England at the Queen’s summer home in 2004. “I don’t know if I make a living, but I do have a life,” Thor said.
Tristin Lemmons from U.S.A
Hailing from Coos Bay, Or., Tristin competed against carvers from all over the world. He has been commissioned by many people for his Stump Sculptures, Canvas Paintings and Wall Murals.
Donald Benson from U.S.A
Don is a wood craver and the business owner of Urban Wildlife Chainsaw Art. A full-time chainsaw carver for over 12 years, he says most of his time is spent working on what he calls “production work,” fixtures of wildlife that tend to be the most popular for buyers. The Olympia-native began his wood carving career after he met his wife. His father-in-law, an 80-year-old chisel carver living in Japan, inspired Benson with his intricate carvings of flowers and Japanese culture. In 2011, Benson said he began competing at wood carving and lumber shows around the western United States.
Jacob Lucas from Washington, U.S.A
Jacob is returning to us for his 5th year in a row and has been carving since 2004. Carving became Jacob’s dream at age 13 and the rest is history. Jacob has competed and placed in a number of national and international events. He has a 10-foot tall nutcracker figure that he carved for the city of Leavenworth’s Nutcracker Museum.
Carol Whitbeck from U.S.A.
Carol has been sculpting for 26 years. She saw the art in the mountains where she grew up and decided she wanted to try it in her early 20s. By the time she was 24 she entered her first world competition at Westport, Washington. She was all inspired by all of the gifted artists and right then knew this was something she was never going to stop doing. She has traveled all over the country and sculpted in many shows. she now resides in Colorado where she sculpts in her studio. Her work can be seen under Carol’s chain saw Creations.