Mention chainsaw the mind conjures up pictures of a whirring chain mercilessly hewing huge tree trunks. Ever imagine this contraption being used for sculpting trees? Well, Simon O’Rourke does exactly that; he carves huge tree trunks into stunning sculptures with a chainsaw.
O’Rourke, who has a degree in Illustration and has specialized in children’s books, turned a tree surgeon for Acorn ArborCare. This is probably what ignited his interest in trees and he realized he could actually be as creative with a chainsaw. This is what led him to tree sculpting.
This resident of North Wales in the UK worked for two years with Acorn Furniture but set up his own business in 2005. He has adorned many public places and private gardens with his incredible sculptures that include human forms, wildlife, fantasy, and others. He states his objective on his website, thus, “I create sculptures that beautifully compliment their surroundings and enhance gardens, homes, public and commercial spaces.”
O’Rourke’s process is really simple. His first step is to find out what will make people happy since they will be seeing the sculptures every day. With this in mind, he visualizes what he intends to create. Now comes the hard part of selecting the right piece of timber or tree stump. This done, he gets on with the task of removing what is not part of the sculpture with the help of a chainsaw. The result is a stunning sculpture. He says on his website, “I love watching the reaction on clients’ faces when they see their sculpture for the first time!”
One of his famous sculptures is of a massive hand-carved on the top end of a tree stump, titled ‘Giant Hand of Vyrnwy’. This 50-feet-high sculpture is so realistically made that people stare at it open-mouthed. This tree was formerly the tallest tree in Wales that got damaged in a storm and was about to be cut down when O’Rourke ‘rescued’ it.
O’Rourke has traveled globally and has won many awards in chainsaw carving competitions. He has also posted many time-lapse videos that can be seen on YouTube.
Simon James O’Rourke
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