Chips happen at the Big Buzz

carve
Carvers create unique designs on the spot during Saturday’s Quick Carve. Photo by Shawntae Stillwell.

LUDLOW, Vt. – Do you know what the Big Buzz is all about? On Columbus Day weekend, from Thursday through Monday, Oct. 4 – 8, Barre Pinske hosted the 9th annual Big Buzz chainsaw carving festival at the Jackson Gore Ice House. This is the third year that Pinske brought carvers from all over to Ludlow, Vt. to demonstrate their chainsaw carving skills.

Pinske is no stranger to woodworking. He began working with a lathe with his grandfather when he was 6, and continued to grow and evolve from then on. He owns and operates Barre Pinske Studio in Chester, home of all the bear carvings, and much more.

Inside the Ice House, the Big Buzz welcomed carvers and sculptors to display their works. Some of the artists displayed included Brad Bemis from North Brookfield, Mass., Michael Legassey from Athol, Mass., Mark Bosworth from Athol, Mass., Jeff Bellinger from Palmer, Mass., Fred Avila from Walton, N.Y., Rich Koonz from Chester, Vt., and some of Barre Pinske’s works as well. From eagles to bears, anchors to mushrooms, there were pieces that would peak many interests. Some artists carved inside the Ice House as the festivalgoers looked around, and some purchased pieces to take home.

Just below the Ice House is where chips were flying! Carvers gathered for a Quick Carve, which allowed each artist one hour to create a sculpture, while a crowd of people watched intently. Large and small logs were quickly transformed into artworks. Some were torched to create depth and contrast, some were painted to give the piece color, and others were left as raw fresh cut wood. Right after the Quick Carve, Pinske auctioned off each piece to audience members who enjoyed the show.

These short carves and auctions took place Saturday at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Quick Carve participants included Mark Bosworth, Rich Koonz, Snuffy Destafano, Micheal Lagasse, Adrian Bois from Argentina, Fred Alvia, Dave Conklin, Peter Auchmoody, and Barre Pinske.

On Saturday evening, carvers and a smaller crowd gathered for the Fire Sculpture at dusk. There is a science to this carve to accommodate for airflow and account for the flames that create their own designs. Artists hollowed large and small logs, each creating a chimney style piece that allows it to be lit from the bottom and burn from the inside out. Designs and holes up the log let out smoke and fire that flickered as the sun went down, and the pieces burned into something completely new. The ambiance and warmth of the fires kept the crowds close, for a more relaxed and mesmerizing end to the exciting day.

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