The chips and sawdust will be flying when professional power carver Angie Polglaze takes to centre stage at Henty to create extraordinarily detailed art works.
Angie, of Hastings on the Mornington Peninsula, was a hit with people of all ages when she carved a series of intricate sculptures at last year’s Henty Machinery Field Days.
Angie has been chainsaw carving throughout Australia and the world for 20 years.
Her sculptures range from the life like to the mythical and comical, with many brightly painted in her signature style.
After competing in the National Chain Saw Carving Championships in January, Angie has carved at the Penrith Truck Show, completed private commissions and permanent installations for schools and parks.
She has a busy spring program ahead, starting with the Henty field days, and has worked on her fitness over winter.
“It’s noisy, dirty and you are constantly moving around the log carrying a heavy chainsaw so you tend to grow big arm muscles,’’ she said.
Angie first picked up a chainsaw as a young art student after trying welding and bronze casting.
“I was immediately impressed by how fast and immediate chainsaw carving was – I was instantly hooked,’’ she said.
“I had created a sculpture within 20 minutes and that was a huge rush – it was a big, dangerous noisy tool and it was empowering.’’
Angie’s first sculpture ended up starring on the set of the Bert Newton Show, encouraging her to take her new found skill further.
“My second sculpture was a raunchy girl in black stockings and bikini with her hands up in her hair,’’ she said.
The cheeky sculptures of scantily clad voluptuous women have since evolved into a trademark series called Cheesy Chicks.
Angie is a founding member of an international team of female carvers called the Chainsaw Chix, a performance based group of professional chainsaw sculptors.
She is the only Australian female carver to have won international carving competitions in Australia, the USA and Scotland.
Angie was the first woman to take first place in the Carve Carrbridge event in Scotland and is a member of the Masters of the Chainsaw. She was awarded a Service to the Arts by the United Chainsaw Carvers Guild in 2011 for her encouragement to other women to take up the art form.
Angie prefers to use the non-native cypress pine for carving.
“It’s a lovely timber which is durable and doesn’t bleed sap so it is good for furniture and painting,’’ she said.
Angie considers animals fun to carve and will give anything a go, ranging from dolphins to turtles, dogs, frogs, gorillas, horses and deer, to mythical unicorns and dragons.
“Carving is a three tier process, starting with a big saw for block out and refining the profile, followed by a medium sized saw for the next level of detail, and finishing with a small carving bar, which is like a three dimensional drawing tool,’’ she said.
Angie attended Henty for the first time last year and was impressed by the size of the event.
Her morning and afternoon carving sessions drew large crowds of people of all ages.
“The children were so inspired – it’s wonderful to be able to get kids to think outside the box, that is so important.’’
Angie will be carving each day of the Henty Machinery Field Days in the centre of the site near The Stump.