Chips to fly when chainsaw chick carves critters at Henty

Angie Polglaze will be chainsaw carving each morning and afternoon at the field days.

The chips and sawdust will be flying when professional power carver Angie Polglaze shows her prowess 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 also competed at an international competition in Germany in August against carvers from the UK, USA and Europe.

“This art form is huge overseas – I spent 10 years living out of a suitcase while competing,’’ Angie said.

“Often northern hemisphere competitions will have 100 participants with incredible art work created.’’

Angie, 49, has worked on her fitness over winter with weightlifting sessions and intends to carve until she is 70.

“My close friends are 65 and 69, and organise the largest chainsaw carving event in the world – it is a challenging art form which keeps you young,’’ she said.

“I want to encourage more young women to carve – they either love it or hate it as it is such a physical thing.

“The comradarie is amazing and there is so much talent at these events.

“It’s usually about having an idea that works, a nice of piece of wood and giving it your best shot.’’

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 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.

Next march she will take up a month’s residency on King Island, working with a saw miller and local residents to create carvings for the island.

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.

She has been a drawcard at the Henty field days for the past two years, with her morning and afternoon carving sessions drawing 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.


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