New tree sculptures unveiled as part of public art program

November 28, 2019   ·   0 Comments

By Brian Lockhart

Four new tree sculptures have been added to Orangeville’s popular growing exhibit of public art.

Three smaller sculptures were added to various places over the fall.

In the lobby of Tony Rose arena, a sculpture of a heron, an owl, and a frog was unveiled. Created by Barrie artist Jeff Taylor, the sculpture was carved from hardwood that allows for more detail to be added to each piece. 

Artist Jake Rhodes of Burk’s Falls created a new sculpture at the Alder Street arena. Mr. Rhodes has a realistic style and specializes in sculpting bears. The piece features two bears with an eagle overhead..

A second sculpture by Mr. Rhodes is located on the upper floor of the Mill Street branch of the Orangeville Public Library. This piece features a bear carrying a lantern.

The most recent unveiling took place on Zina Street. Local residents Lynn and Dan Lubitz sponsored a carving now in place on Zina. It features three cats climbing a tree and was created by Mono Artist Jim Menken.

Mr. Menken began sculpting full time in 2005. A former teacher, he began sculpting two years prior when seeking to do something different from his regular job. 

He been carving after watching a demonstration during a festival in Norval, on the Credit River near Georgetown.

“They had a river festival and they hired a guy to demonstrate chainsaw carving,” Mr. Menken explained. “I’ve always painted and did drawings, but I watched and thought I’ve got to try this. We live on ten acres and a piece of birch had fallen over in the bush. I bought a used chainsaw and carved two little pieces. I saw an ad in the newspaper that someone had a stump they wanted carved. I called him and said if you’re willing to bring me a stump I’ll carve it. And that’s how I got started. After I did that one the phone started to ring and that’s how I got into it.”

Carving a large tree stump begins with a large chainsaw to get the shape, then progresses to smaller saws, then finally smaller power tools for the details. 

The stumps are carved at the studio then mounted at the street location.

Mr. Menken said that a wood tree sculpture will last between 10 and 15 years before the elements will finally take their toll. 

The tree sculptures have become a noted part of the Orangeville landscape.

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