"A Web Site from the past no longer here"
Stan's Stump Art
Portfolios of Stan Mills, believed to be one of the
first pioneers in the art of chainsaw carving.
A meeting with Stan
Contributed by Bill
I was selling wood rounds from my front yard in 1990.
I had my own Tree Removal Business then and I would cut
slabs from tree trunks. People would buy them so they could make
coffee tables. One day a lady "Ms Mills" stopped by, She asked
me if I had seen her husband carve with a chainsaw. I said no
and I would like to see that. So I called Stanley Mills and
asked if I could watch him carve. He said yes, so I drove
up north to Bushkill Falls and watched Stanley carve an Eagle.
Stanley also showed me his trailer Rig for lifting logs. It was
not complete yet but it was a work of art. I was inspired by
the carving Stanley did so I tried doing an Eagle myself. It
took me about 6 months carving maybe an hour or two a day. When
I got it done, a Doctor bought my Eagle for $1,000.00. I told
Stanley about it and he kidded me about his cut. The last time I
talked to Stanley Mills was at the Ridgeway Pennsylvania Carving
Event in the Year 2002, (I think that was the year), Stanley
died within months of that Event of a Heart Attack (I think).
I really don't have a lot more I can say except Stanley
was a good Chainsaw Carver. He had a lot of ideas about how to
earn money with a Chainsaw.
A Chainsaw Carving from 1956
There's little here to catch the eye beyond the gulls
soaring and the surf pounding the shoulders of Highway 101 a mile north
of the historic Astoria Bridge.
There's a little old church, a few weathered houses, second-growth
timber crawling up a slope over the Columbia River, skies usually gray,
and, most often, gales screaming.
Yet sometimes simple silence rules this long-neglected spot, marked only
by a sign and a faded 50-year-old chainsaw carving of the explorers
Lewis and Clark, standing stoic and sturdy year after year.
But this modest site is uniquely historic, and now it's being promoted
as part of a new national park.
Called Station Camp, it's where Lewis and Clark first saw the Pacific
Ocean and camped for 18 days in November 1805.
"This I could plainly see would be the extent of our journey by water .
. . in full view of the ocian (sic) from Point Adams to Cape
Disappointment," wrote Capt. William Clark on Nov. 15, 1805.
Nevertheless, the site has been ignored. Now, with the bicentennial of
the historic expedition coming in five years, the effort to recognize
Station Camp has sprung to life.
Ray has carved over 50,000 pieces of chainsaw carvings. Ray's
grandfather Jim Baker was a famous "Mountain Man" His great grandfather
was an Indian Chief on a reservation in Wyoming. Ray started running a
chainsaw at around age 10 he states and got in trouble because he wasn't
suppose to be running it.
At the age of around 20 he worked in lumber camps logging and working
around Idaho, Washington, and Oregon and sculpting on the side. He then
moved to South Dakota and started to carve a lot more. His art work was
really starting to get noticed here. From there he has moved around to
Alaska to Maine and finally settled in Maine. Ray says he has had 29
injuries working with a chainsaw. It is not for the unsteady hand or the
weak of nerve he states.
As you leave Ellsworth on Route One, you'll come to the spot where Ray
Murphy, the world's foremost chainsaw sculptor, holds court. Murphy is
an immensely talented artist, creating magnificent beasts from raw
blocks of wood with his trusty chainsaw. He bills himself as the Wild
Mountain Man, but beneath his rough exterior lies the heart of a poet.
He got his start back in his lumberjack days when he impulsively carved
a bathtub from a fallen log, much to the merriment of his fellow
loggers. They aren't laughing any longer. Ray went on to become famous,
taking his art all over the country, racking up well over a million
miles on his big bus. He has held crowds spellbound by carving people's
initials on wooden belt buckles--while they were wearing them. Robert
Ripley featured Ray in his syndicated column after a chainsaw-banishing
Ray carved the entire alphabet onto a common lead pencil.
A bearded, scruffy-looking man
ambles out of an open-air cabin on US 1 in Ellsworth, Maine, and heads
toward me with a chainsaw in his hand. It is a cold, wintry Maine night,
and pitch black outside. A bitter wind blows off nearby Penobscot Bay.
The log cabin, lit by a single lamp, is on that lonely stretch of US
1between Belfast and Calais. I figure if the guy with the chainsaw plans
to slice and dice me, it will be weeks before my remains are discovered.
Not to worry. . . .He’s an artist. “There are hundreds of these cannabis
who use hammers and chisels along with chain saws, ”Ray Murphy is
saying. “Thatain’t chain-saw art; that’s woodcarving. There are maybe
thirty of us worldwide who are true chain-saw artists.” Murphy—with his
cheery, roly-poly face and chainsaw, you’re not sure if he’d make a
better Santa Claus or Leather face from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre—is
the world’s pre-eminent chain-saw artist. “The Wild Mountain Man,” as he
calls himself, has chainsaw-carved more than40,000 pieces. He’s carved
birds. He’s carved bears. He’s carved moose, beavers, horses, lobsters,
and squirrels among other animals.