Meet Dayton Lanphear, an artist with huge vision. His basic tool is a chainsaw and he has begun to carve a majestic grizzly bear out of a 15-foot, 4-ton trunk of a redwood tree.
Before you scoff at the
idea of using such a valuable tree consider how the massive trunk landed in central Oregon where ponderosas and junipers rule the landscape.
On the west side of the Cascades land was being parceled for a housing development and the tree was in the way. The trunk was offered to Dayton who snapped it up along with a second tree. The trees were put on a truck and driven to Dayton's studio at a considerable expense. Months were spent designing and building a support structure around the trunk, now inverted, so Dayton could access the whole log during the carving process. A forklift will lower the platform to any level.
Finally, on April 27th, Dayton fired up the chainsaw and made the first cut into the log. The shavings flew everywhere, the noise, of course, was loud. Dayton has a plan only in his head. No drawings, detailed sketches. There are a couple of photographs of a ceramic bear he owns sitting off to the side next to the cans of oil and gasoline.
The bear will be revealed over time. He envisions a bear with an oversized head because the viewer will be looking at it from the ground and so the scale needs to be adjusted.
As this project continues I will be updating on this blog. You can also follow Dayton's website to see his past works.