Local artist uses chainsaw to create one-of-a-kind sculptures

When visitors arrive at Healdton Lake, they are now greeted by a giant sculpture of a fish. In a matter of hours on Saturday, Sept. 1, local artist Daniel Miller created the statue from the stump of a cottonwood tree using a chainsaw as his primary tool. He then returned Monday morning to paint and seal the piece.

Art has always played an important role in the Wilson resident’s life.

“I’ve been an artist all of my life,” Miller said. “I’ve mainly done paintings and small sculptures in the past.” Miller can also add writer to his list of mediums, but chainsaw sculpting is something relatively new for him. In fact, he has only been chainsaw sculpting for a year and a half. 

“We had gone on vacation to Colorado a couple years ago and decided to drive up Pikes Peak,” Miller said. As they were driving, he and his family kept seeing signs warning them to keep an eye out for Bigfoot, who had recently been spotted in the area. This got his mind turning and he decided to write a children’s book about a family of Sasquatch being chased by a Bigfoot hunter. The book is called Myth Hollow and is available for purchase from Amazon.com.

“I wrote that book and had it published,” Miller said. “Then I carved a giant foot in honor of Bigfoot, and I just kept going from there. Some of my work is for myself and some of it is for commission. But I’m always up for a challenge and won’t turn anything away.”

One of his most recent challenges has been a rattlesnake and another is a triceratops head that he is currently in the process of sculpting.

“I enjoy carving them all but some of them just seem to fly by and carve themselves,” Miller said. He also pointed out that the type of wood can make a huge difference in the amount of time a particular project takes. For example, the sculpture at Healdton Lake went relatively quickly because cottonwood is a softer wood. 

“Some I can get done in two or three hours and some can take up to 40 hours,” Miller said. “It really just depends on the amount of detail. But I’ve really gotten pretty quick at carving bears and eagles, which seem to be very popular.”

In addition to the carvings he makes for locals, he also makes several wooden statues for a small business in Roswell, N.M. The statues are, of course, aliens. Never one to shy away from the paranormal, Miller explained how he got started carving the little green men.

“We’d gone on a vacation to New Mexico to see the sights and visit Carlsbad Caverns,” Miller said. “We also had to stop in Roswell so I’d carved up an alien to take with us for the trip.” The business owners saw Miller’s carving and bought it on the spot and have now commissioned him to make more extraterrestrial figurines to sell in their shop. 

For more examples of Miller’s work or to commission a piece for yourself visit his Facebook page for Wood Shed Creations at https://www.facebook.com/Wood-Shed-Creations-417240815397750/.