MiVT: Art of the Carve

Published: Aug. 17, 2020 at 4:15 PM EDT
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LOWELL, Vt. (WCAX) - At just 21-years-old, an Orleans County man has become quite the wood carver, with custom sculptures that capture nature like most have never “saw” before.

Jake Swanson has been carving wood for six years. Growing up in northern Vermont, he cut firewood with his dad as a kid, but at 15 he bought his own saw. “Firewood wasn’t just as appealing anymore,” Swanson said.

He was thinking about a career in forestry, but says instead just kept coming back to carving. “I loved making wildlife pieces and stuff like that and just slowly tried to turn it into something that I could do full time,” Swanson said.

For his business, Art of the Carve, Swanson uses 99% eastern white pine, because it's easily available in our area. Tree services reach out to him when they cut logs that are too big for a mill. "It's good to be able to use something that is perfectly good, wonderful to work with, that would otherwise not be used at all," he said.

Once Jake he the giant logs, Swanson cuts them to size, stands them up, and peels off the bark to see if there are any imperfections. "Some of this is really nice clear stuff. Some of these are well over 40-inches in diameter," he said.

Before carving, he sketches on the wood the howling wolf this pine log will eventually become. After he’s done, he’ll rough out the initial form with a larger saw.

"I'll set up different pieces, that way I can work on something, then I can let it sit so I can look at it and check it out as I'm working on something else," Swanson said.

His pieces range in size from one-foot tall to 12-feet high.

"This is a 10 and-a-half foot sasquatch," he explained. "Something like that I probably mess with a few weeks to a month."

The different, darker shades are created with a blowtorch and sandpaper.

Art of the Carve is located in Stowe. The best way to get in touch with Swanson is through his website or Facebook page.

“It’s definitely fun to do and look back at it and say, ok, that part looks good and what can I make better on this,” he said.

Creating creatures out of wood, Jake Swanson took his high school hobby and carved it into quite the life.

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