Cutting Edge Art

Deep in the backwoods of Georgia, equipped with nothing but his creativity and a chainsaw, Thomas Bland creates massive pieces of art. A forester by trade, he’s spent his whole life sizing up logs and lumber, but now he looks at trees from a new perspective.

Admittedly, it would be easy to dismiss a wooden bear carving standing 7 feet tall as the work of some mad forest recluse. This, however, becomes an increasingly remote possibility when in the presence of the forces that created it — both the chainsaw and its wielder, Thomas Bland.“I wake up every Saturday morning, around 1 or 2, and just carve all day,” says Bland, unfazed by the uniqueness of his task. “It’s become quite an obsession, actually. Every night I’m thinking of what to do next.” Bland, a forester by trade, appears naturally suited for the peculiar art of chainsaw carving and its unorthodox process. As part of his profession, he’s spent a lot of time walking through the woods, literally appraising tracts of timber, surveying the forest’s quality, much like a real estate agent appraising a house. However, Bland’s transition to wood sculpting enthusiast wasn’t as obvious a leap as some would assume. His calling didn’t take flight until just a few years ago. “About five years ago, I was in the mountains of Tennessee and for a hundred bucks I brought home this strange little bear carving,” Bland recalls. “After a while of looking it over, the details and the technique that went into it, I began to think to myself, ‘Wait a minute. I can do this, easily.’”

Written By: Travis Morningstar

Images By: John Fulton