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The Chainsaw Carvers Rendezvous

The Ridgway Chainsaw Carvers Rendezvous started as a backyard gathering of six chainsaw carvers. In 2000, this relatively small group of carvers took it to a whole new level, and at the time, we thought this was quite a big gathering of carvers. Little did we know...

Since then, it has grown to the world's largest event of its kind and evolved into a partnership of community and artistic spirit. Each year becomes a challenge to do better than the last!

It is an open invitation to all Chainsaw Carvers wishing to attend the Rendezvous. It is an opportunity for Carvers to share, sell, market and just feel good about who they are and what they do! To be able to measure the growth of the industry while moving the art form forward! To challenge their abilities and encourage their performance!

This was our intention when we started, and remains so to this day. And it is generally accepted that it is this non-competitive setting that makes the Rendezvous something truly special.

Yes, the event has come a long way since those early days, (every year, we have more and more carvers attending) and we look forward to the exciting opportunities and developments that are yet to come.

Since then, it has grown to the world's largest event of its kind and evolved into a partnership of community and artistic spirit. Each year becomes a challenge to do better than the last!

It is an open invitation to all Chainsaw Carvers wishing to attend the Rendezvous. It is an opportunity for Carvers to share, sell, market and just feel good about who they are and what they do! To be able to measure the growth of the industry while moving the art form forward! To challenge their abilities and encourage their performance!

This was our intention when we started, and remains so to this day. And it is generally accepted that it is this non-competitive setting that makes the Rendezvous something truly special.

Yes, the event has come a long way since those early days, (every year, we have more and more carvers attending) and we look forward to the exciting opportunities and developments that are yet to come.

 

The Dream

"At the very least, we make each other think. At our very best, we inspire one another to common heroics and a fresh, inspired look at our own creativity and human potential. We carry the responsibility for the gift that we have been given. Our expressions in wood reach out and in, farther than we imagine. From the twinkle of an old man's eye in Japan to the smile of a child in Europe, we touch them with our gift. We have more opportunity to express ourselves than any artists in history.

Over the past years, The Ridgway Chainsaw Carvers Rendezvous has been no exception to this endeavor, and we should all be proud of our personal accomplishments. Without a doubt, we raise the bar each year with the statistics that are generated - hundreds of carvers and tens of thousands of dollars raised. The quality and size of the carvings goes up each year, and as well, more carvings hit the $1,000+ mark.

Some of our personal adventures will pass unnoticed, but some, not many, will be passed down to our descendents in the form of stories that may well some day be legends. Our lives are enriched through this international gathering and mingling of custom and language. We gain a better understanding of history and geography, commerce and currency. We establish a wider trust and a vast reservoir of relative information. We make friends in foreign lands and far-off states. We transcend our limitations and live beyond our dreams.

If anyone can come up with a better solution for life, please, don't tell me. I'm very happy living the life of a chainsaw carver."

About the 15th Annual Ridgway Chainsaw Carver's Rendezvous

Fine art at 12,000 RPM. Ridgway Renezvous: The World's Most Amazing Chainsaw Carving Event

By Rob Simbeck

RIDGWAY, PA--"The chainsaw," says Liz Boni, "will do for art what the electric guitar did for music."

To the uninitiated, that might sound like hyperbole, but to the tens of thousands who gather in this postcard-pretty section of northcentral Pennsylvania each winter, it is a simple statement of fact. Chainsaw carving is the revved-up, sawdust-spitting segment of the art world, a place where the scent of pine and motor oil are as vital as the sculptor's hands and eyes in creating gorgeous works of art. Undertaken here before thousands of spectators, it is the adrenaline-fueled meeting of performance art and fine art, and Liz and her husband Rick are among those in the vanguard of the movement. Their passion is inspirational. Their enthusiasm is contagious. And their event--The Ridgway Chainsaw Carvers Rendezvous--is nothing less than the movement's Woodstock.

Each year, 25,000 people flock to this town in the gorgeous highlands known as the Pennsylvania Wilds to witness this event, a showcase that allows more than 200 chainsaw carvers from all over the world to display their talents, mingle with their peers, share and learn new techniques, and teach the craft to others. World Champions create one-hour "quick carve" sculptures and work on larger, more complex pieces of exceptional beauty and complexity throughout the week. There is also plenty of music, an auction of chainsaw art, the chance to buy large and small pieces from the assembled artists, communal meals, live music, and much more.

The Rendezvous, held the last week of February, will feature chainsaw carvers from more than a dozen countries and nearly 40 states, and an atmosphere that literally "buzzes" with creative energy.

In its size and scope, and in the worldwide attention it draws, it is almost beyond the comprehension of its delighted founders, who came up with the idea a decade ago, when Liz's husband Rick and his twin brother Randy, both chainsaw carvers, invited a few other carvers from the region for a weekend get-together.

"There were nine of them altogether," says Liz, "and they had so much fun they thought, 'We should do this again. We should show people what we do.'"

Spreading the word by internet helped attract 35 carvers, including one from England and one from Germany, to the first official Rendezvous, in 1999. The Boni's told the carvers, "If you can get here, we'll take care of you." That's still the case today, with many in the community offering spare rooms, hunting camps and church rectories as sleeping quarters, and cooking meals for the carvers.

Almost at once the Rendezvous began attracting the media, which was effusive in its praise of what Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist Gene Collier called "the delicious quirkiness of it all."

Once the first year was history, stories in the Associated Press, The Washington Post, CBS, ESPN. The History Channel, CBS The Early Show where Julie Chen actually came and carved, along with many other outlets helped draw bigger crowds every year. In fact, the event has changed locations three times to accommodate ever-larger crowds.

Carvers are drawn by the fact that the Rendezvous is cooperative rather than competitive, and by the straightforward integrity of the vision the Boni's have always had for the event.

"When I got an e-mail from Randy," says Rodney Holland, a Scottish carver, "I could tell it was from the heart. Here there's no competition. Nobody wins anything. Nobody gets a dime. And then when I found out it raised money for [charity], I was persuaded."

Rick and Randy had been carving for years before they helped launch the Rendezvous, and Liz found she had a knack for spreading the word. She and Rick are the owners of Appalachian Arts Studio, a hands-on learning facility offering classes in wood carving and pottery, an old-style print shop and dark room facility, and a gallery/museum dedicated to the history and growth of the art of chainsaw sculpture. Their daughter Zoe has also earned a name as a top carver, one of many women who excel at the art form.

Rick and Liz have traveled the world, teaching and demonstrating carving in Europe and Asia as well as throughout the U.S., and it's obvious that they have found nothing less than a calling.

"If someone had told me 15 years ago," says Liz, "that I'd be traveling around the world with Rick doing this, I never would have believed it."

She has become a believer, and has made believers out of the tens of thousands who flock to Ridgway each year, and who will be coming back again in February. She says, "To see the excitement, the pure energy that's everywhere in this town while the carvers and spectators are here--well, trust me, you don't want to miss it."

A Historical Overview from 2000 to 2014

2014 – Main Street, Ridgway, PA

15 years of celebrating Chainsaw Art!

Scott Dow – One of the new inspirations to this art form. Scotts brings movement and action to the wood. Many are inspired and motivated by his abilities with the chainsaw. Again, the bar is being raised.

History of Ridgway- Councilman Jim
Ridgway and the Rendezvous- Martha Bralkowski







2013 – Main Street, Ridgway, PA

193 Carvers

Randy Boni – One of the co-founders of this event. Randy is truly recognized for his larger than life projects and truly one of the masters of this art form. He is a true believer in spreading the word and works of other carvers around the world.

Highlight Video Rendezvous 2013- Mike Weiss
Dance for Ellen Rendezvous 2013- Altris
Seminars Rendezvous 2013-Appalachian Arts Studio





2012- The Rendezvous moved to Main Street, Ridgway, PA

220 Carvers

Brett McLain – Each year many European carvers fly in Newark, NJ and are met by Brett, who greets them and takes them to his home. He then finds a way to get all of them here for the event. Not to mention that Brett is an incredible artist. That being said, he is always thinking outside the box and truly inspires other to do so through his unique approach to chainsaw art.

Rendezvous 2012 Recap Video Pa Great Outdoors
Seminars Rendezvous 2012- YellowLabWoodworks





2011

184 Carvers

Jeff Samudosky – Incredible talent. We misspelled his name or it somehow got omitted on the T-shirt just about every year. In 2002, he was the first to bring scaffolding to the event. That action alone raised the bar. His carvings consistently brought in top dollar at the auction, continuing to raise the bar.

Seminars Rendezvous 2011- The Wolf Pack
Highlight Video Rendezvous 2011- Paul Devogue




2010 – Gillis Avenue Venue

175 carvers

In 2009 KB Pictures/Photography came to the Rendezvous and realized what a photo op it was. Their team visited carvers at their studios throughout the year. When we saw this picture of Dayton and Michelle Scoggins, we knew it would go on the T-shirt. Dayton Scoggins was winning competitions in England, Germany and the West Coast. He took wildlife carvings to the next level.

Oldies but goodies from Ridgway Rendezvous 2010- Pawlingman




2009 – Gillis Ave venue

200 carvers

Rick Boni one of the co-founders of the event and Owner of Appalachian Arts Studio and Promoter of the Rendezvous welcomes all to who come to Ridgway for this incredible event. A quiet natured man, his art speaks volumes.

Ridgway Rendezvous 2009 Highlights Pt1- Sputnik
Ridgway Rendezvous 2009 Highlights Pt2- Sputnik
Chainsaw Love 2003- Sputnik
Highlight Videos and Pictures Rendezvous 2009- The Wolfpack





2008 – Gillis Ave venue

193 Carvers

Dennis Beach is one of the hardest working Chainsaw Artists in the industry. He is a performance artist extraordinaire. Every video and article about the Rendezvous usually featured Dennis. He also promoted the event at all his contracted Fairs and Festivals.

Highlight Video Rendezvous 2008- Unknown






2007 Event was moved to Gillis Ave – Larger area for carvers

186 carvers

At the time, Bill Plant was the voice of Chainsaw Carving. He was the first President of the Chainsaw Carvers Guild. Garry Patterson was his mentor and one of the legends of the carving industry. This is Gary's carving of Bill carving.

Picture Book Ridgway 2006- Robbin Wenzoski
The Throne Project Rendezvous 2006- Angela Polglaze






2006 Ridgway Fireman's Grounds

185 carvers

Featured artists --- Jesse Groeschen – The Art of Chainsaw Carving Fox Chapel Publishing. Jesse Groeschen, an incredible artist and chainsaw carver, wrote a great book featuring top artists in the Chainsaw Carving arena published by Fox Chapel

J Chester Armstrong Chainsaw Rendezvous Ridgway pt 1
J Chester Armstrong Chainsaw Rendezvous Ridgway PA pt2
J Chester Armstrong Chainsaw Rendezvous Ridgway pt3






2005 – Ridgway Fireman's Grounds

Featured Artist – Judy McVay

Judy from Washington State and part of the Backus /McVay family of carvers, sent us this most amazing carving, so we just had to put it on the T-shirt The Rendezvous has grown from a 3 day event into a 10 day event. Seminars were provided throughout the week, and carvers got to spend quality time with each other.

Highlights Video Rendezvous 2005- Sputnik
Another Highlights Video Rendezvous 2005- Sputnik








2004 –Ridgway Fireman's Grounds

195 Carvers Attending – 8 countries represented

Featured Artist is Don Winner. Don and the Confluence Lions Club founded "Addison" one the forerunners of chainsaw carving events in the US. The Event is still one of the long standing great events for carvers to attend.

Highlight Pictures and Info Rendezvous 2004- Holger Baer








2003 – Fireman's Grounds Ridgway, PA

172 carvers

Featured artist is Brian Ruth and Masters of the Chainsaw Both Rick and Randy were part of Masters and very proud of it. They got bookings at Fairs and Festivals and other engagements through Masters. It was an elite group of carvers that are still going today. We also welcomed carvers from Japan and Australia. Such a wonderful group of artists and so much creative energy.

Highlight Pictures and Info Rendezvous 2003 - Holger Baer


















2002 – Fireman's Grounds, North Broad Street, Ridgway

We were invited by the community to move the Rendezvous to town and the "Ridgway Chainsaw Carvers Rendezvous" was born and Ridgway was proclaimed " 103 carvers came to the Rendezvous. Wayne DeMoranville was bringing ice carving to the event. He was also our first featured artist on the T-Shirt. Since 2002 we have dedicated the t-shirt to carvers who have contributed to the art form and the Rendezvous throughout the year.

Highlight Pictures and Info Rendezvous 2002 Part 1 - Holger Baer
Highlight Pictures and Info Rendezvous 2002 Part 2 - Holger Baer









2001- Mid Winter Chainsaw Carving Rendezvous

2nd year at Sandy Beach State Park

58 carvers showed up, along with a huge crowd of spectators. We met so many new carvers. In April, thanks to Joe King, the Carving Post was born. This was an internet forum where carvers were able to post pictures and keep in touch; this created an avalanche in the chainsaw carving world.

Highlight Pictures and Info Rendezvous 2001 - Holger Baer






2000 Mid-Winter Chainsaw Carving Rendezvous

Held at Sandy Beach Park about 3 miles outside of Ridgway. Winter boredom and the internet sparked an idea to see how many carvers were out there and would they be willing to come together to carve. 33 carvers came, 2 of whom were international. We thought that was incredible. The article about it in our local paper went viral on the Associated Press News Wire (AP) - funny viral was not a term back then. Holger Baer from Germany and Judy Pratt, NY, both started a web sites about the Rendezvous.

Highlight Pictures and Info Rendezvous 2000- Holger Baer









Quick Look Schedule

Carving Expositions

2014 Schedule of Events

Saturday Feb 22
9:00AM - 5:00PM Carvers arrive and begin setting up. Many will have carving for sale. Sponsor booths in Masonic Temple. Craft Vendors will be set up at the Masonic Temple on Court Street along with the Rendezvous Office.

Sunday Feb 23
12:00PM - 5:00PM Carvers will entertain audiences and have carvings for sale at all locations. Sponsor booths in Masonic Temple.

Monday Feb 24 - Thursday Feb 27
12:00AM - 5:00PM Carving Seminars. American Legion - Main Street. Carving at all locations till 5:00PM.

Firday Feb 28
9:00AM - 5:00PM Carving. Sponsor Booth - Masonic Temple.

Saturday Feb 29
Carving throughout the day. Auction starts at 12:00PM till done.

Educational Seminars on the Art and Profession of Carving

...on the passion of chainsaw sculpting as an art form and the professional aspects of business as an artisan.

Quick Look Schedule

Carving as a Passion and Art Form

Carving as a Profession
Monday Welcome to the 2014 Ridgway Rendezvous - Liz Boni; History of the 'Vous 2000 to present Team Presentation: Michael Frohlich, Olaf Jensen and Jorg Bessler, Germany (invited)
Tuesday Cheryl Campbell (MN), "Proportions" Todd Gladfelter (PA), Birds - Striving Towards Realism - Tips & Techniques to mark your birds come alive
Wednesday Pat Holbert (OH), "Making Faces 101" Pending Invitation
Thursday Panel Session: "How has the art form changed and what has it meant as a profession?" Alan Martello (PA) - "Marketing your Business"

Venue

American Legion Building Hall, 330 Main Street, Ridgway. Coffee and continental breakfast.



About the Speakers

Welcome to the 2014 'Vous
Liz & Rick Boni, co-founders and owners of Appalachian Arts Studio, are the Madam and Master of Ceremonies for the 'Vous. Well known among the carving and art world, at large, they are welcoming leaders of this unique event with a world wide reach.

http://www.appalachian-arts.com



Michael Frohlich
Michael is trained and works professionally in forestry. He has carved at events throughout Germany and Europe. He has traveled many times to the United States to attend the Chainsaw Carving Rendevous in Ridgway He says this about carving: "Everyone starts with a mushroom...then benches and seating. And later, as challenge, simple animals…with the precision of processing all natural and artistic conversion in this wood form".

http://www.schnitzmichel.de



Olaf Jensen
Olaf is an instructor in the School of Forestry and has been carving since 2001. He carves in Germany, Europe and USA. He is one from the first people from Europe in Ridgway. The theme from Olaf is carvings of wildlife and his specialty is carving in relief.

















Jorg Bassler
Jörg Bäßler is a wood sculptor and chainsaw carver. Working initially as a mechanic and then chimney sweep, he finally decided to pursue his dreams as an artist. In 1998 he decided to make carving his career and learned the profession and art of wood sculpting. Now he is a freelance sculptor and passionate chainsaw carver. He is now: "sawing through the woods of the world". And, I must say: To be free, it requires little. "Only those who are free, are a king".

http://www.sculptor-art.de/index.htm







Cheryl Campbell
Cheryl will be speaking on Proportions, the recognition of simple forms and lines which help to achieve realism in your final animal form. Although focusing on bears and dogs, she will be able to present helpful commonalities to other mammals that may help you visualize and improve your own design approach.

A native Nebraskan, Cheryl has lived and worked in Rhinelander, WI for the last 20 years. Carving with a chainsaw since 2003, she likes the creative and physical challenges inherent in this craft form. Working to establish her own style, she seldom repeats a carving design, unless striving to improve on a previous attempt or unless a subject is especially enjoyable.

http://www.theheartofthewoods.com








Todd Gladfelter
Todd will be speaking on the topic of BIRDS: Striving Towards Realism- Tips & techniques to make your birds come alive.

About Todd: Seven years ago, Todd and his wife, Cindy Ross, a writer, visited the Appalachian Arts Studio in Ridgeway to do a magazine story. Todd took a two-hour chainsaw carving workshop with Rick Boni. Because Todd was very familiar with chainsaw's performance after building a hand-made Scandinavian scribed fit log house. Carving hundreds of notches typical of Scandinavian construction gave him a command of the chainsaw from the get-go. Todd is also an artist and a fine furniture maker and a blacksmith artist as well as a chainsaw carver. Although a part time carver, he has been creating chainsaw carvings ever since, and happily selling nearly everything he creates.

http://redmountainarts.wordpress.com/






Pat Holbert
"Making Faces 101" Patrick will be lecturing on the topic of faces. Highlights include discussion of: carving in the simplest terms; Developing your own style, Myth of Speed; Face Formula, Someone to Critique work, W.A.G. System, See things like a kid, Using References, Demo-Face Blocks and Perfect Practice makes Perfect.

About Pat Holbert- After teaching American History and coaching high school football and track for 30 years, Pat Holbert retired and decided to go in a different direction. He flew to Europe and signed up for classes at the prestigious Geisler-Moroder school of wood-carving in Elbiginalp, Austria. Here he learned the centuries-old art of carving wood by hand.

He then came back home where he thought he might be able to translate what he learned in Austria to the art of chainsaw carving. After honing his skills for many years in his workshop on a ridge above Sugar Creek in Wayne County, Ohio, he opened up his own chainsaw carving business called Sugar Ridge Carving. The rest is history…he has carved in Japan, he has carved twice in England on the grounds of Queen Elizabeth's summer estate, he has carved on the West Coast, and he spends most of his time carving here in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Michigan, and Indiana where he has won many ribbons and received numerous accolades for his work. He has become quite adept at carving American Indians of all types and tribes, along with pirates, eagles, bears, elaborate garden benches, and every other type of human or animal in existence.


http://sugarridgearts.com/index.php




Allen Martello
Marketing Your Business- discussion of practical considerations for marketing your carving business including web sites, use of social media, outreach and your business's image and message. Allen is president and CEO of ALTRIS Incorporated located in the greater Pittsburgh area.

https://www.facebook.com/AltrisInc













Vendor Booths

Vendor booths will be set up in the Mason Hall off Main. Food vendors will be present at the west venue (Keystone True Value Hardware Lot). Restaurants and services are located throughout downtown.

Sponsor Exhibits

Sponsors will be located in Mason Hall off Main. Please see the Renezvous Sponsor Page.

Look Who's Carving

See our list of registered carvers.

Directions

Overview

Downtown Venues

West Side Venues

For Carvers

Registration

Click HERE to register.

Arrival & Check In

Check in in inside the Mason Building off Main Street. You will register, pay your fee, receive your log ticket, your t-shirt, your name tag and booth tags. Also, this year we will be taking your picture holding your booth name tag in order to match your face and name with your carving(s) for advertising purposes.

Venue Map

Please see above maps for Venue locations.

Expectation for Master Piece Donation & Auction

With each log ticket, we provide each carver a good choice of a high quality log for their masterpiece carving. Our expectation is that each artist will do their absolute best to produce the highest quality of art to enter into the auction to yield the highest value to the purchaser and price within the best of their skill and ability.

Educational Seminars & Speaker Biographies

Please see above table for seminar and speaker information.

For the Public

Educational Seminars & Speaker Biographies

Please see above table for seminar and speaker information.

About Ridgway

Martha's Story

Click HERE to read Martha's story describing beautiful Ridgway, PA!

Helpful Links

Ridgway Chamber of Commerce
Ridgway, Pennsyvania - Wikipedia
History of Elk County, PA