Community

Chainsaw artists coming to Arlington

Arlington’s Debbie Anderson, the “Country Carver,” takes a blowtorch to her 10-foot-tall cedar eagle sculpture that she’ll be donating to the city of Arlington, using the flames to bring out the highlights of the wood grain and to seal out insects. - Kirk Boxleitner
Arlington’s Debbie Anderson, the “Country Carver,” takes a blowtorch to her 10-foot-tall cedar eagle sculpture that she’ll be donating to the city of Arlington, using the flames to bring out the highlights of the wood grain and to seal out insects.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

ARLINGTON — She only started carving with a chainsaw two years ago, but Arlington’s Debbie Anderson, the “Country Carver,” is already on course to turn chainsaw carving into a twice-a-year community event.

For Arlington’s third annual Community Day last year, Anderson invited nearly a dozen chainsaw carvers to conduct live shows on Sept. 17 and 18 outside the Local Scoop restaurant, which sponsored the event by feeding them free meals.

For the city of Arlington and the Stillaguamish Tribe’s fourth annual Eagle Festival this year, Anderson has not only carved a 10-foot-tall eagle sculpture from cedar that she’ll be donating to the city, but she’s also organizing another chainsaw carving show at the Local Scoop on Feb. 4 and 5.

“We’ve got about 10 carvers coming from Portland, Mount Baker and all around the local area, and of course, they’ll be specializing in eagles,” Anderson said. “Taylor Jones from Arlington Hardware is sponsoring us with thermal fit gloves, and Bev and Dave Angerbauer of the Local Scoop are sponsoring us by supplying us with lunch and dinner. We’re really excited.”

With some carvers coming from as far away as 200 miles to take part in the show, Anderson has been working over the holidays on her eagle sculpture to make sure it’s finished in time for the festival. By Jan. 3, she’d begun burning it to bring out the highlights of the wood grain and to seal out insects.

“Cedar is used more commonly for chainsaw carving because it’s a softer wood, but it’s also got a natural preservative,” said Anderson’s husband Evan, as Anderson traded her chainsaw for a blowtorch to bring out the sculpture’s details. “That’s why cedar is used for roofing and siding.”

The crew of chainsaw carvers will be working from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days, with a silent auction on Feb. 5 at 3 p.m. A new wrinkle in this year’s Eagle Festival show, as opposed to last year’s Community Day show, is that spectators will be able to buy from the carvers directly, negotiating prices with them on the spot, with all proceeds going to the individual carvers themselves.

“We’ll also be doing pro and semi-pro category judging on the carvers’ work, with titles and possibly plaques going to the winners,” Anderson said. “Next year, I’d like to be able to do this show in Legion Park.”

According to Anderson, the chainsaw carving season, begins this year with the “Burning Bear” event at Ocean Shores on Jan. 22, while the Community Day takes place near the close of the season.

“I want our Arlington chainsaw carving shows to be a twice-a-year event to cap off the season on both ends,” Anderson said. “I hope it becomes one of the biggest shows in the Pacific Northwest. We’re already perfectly centrally located, and the town merchants loved last year’s show because of the shoppers it brought out on the streets.”

The the city of Arlington and the Stillaguamish Tribe’s fourth annual Eagle Festival is slated for Saturday, Feb. 5. Some of the activities include Eagle viewing at Port Susan Bay, a nature walk on Eagle Trail, nature exhibits, a Sarvey Wildlife open house, Native American storytellers, bird watching at Portage Creek Wildlife Sanctuary, an ugly chicken contest, the County Carvers chainsaw show and more. For more information about the Eagle Festival, go to the city’s website and click on Recreation Programs and Events.

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