In the ponderosa pines of central Oregon, J. Chester "Skip"
Armstrong creates breath-taking eagles and finely crafted animals.
His choice of materials and methods of creating shape, texture, and
detail have much in common with both regional vernacular western
chainsaw art and delicately tooled wood sculpture.
This book explores the processes of creativity, raises questions
about the differences between folk art and fine art, and captures
Armstrong's unique aesthetic sensibilities, his outlook on life,
his surroundings, and his growing reputation.
Armstrong says he wants "to dance inside the log" as he and the
chainsaw unite in a furious blitz of energy that allows him to see
his idea materialize almost instantaneously. He follows the
integral form and grain of the raw log and with the chainsaw he
says he frees the animal shape out of the lines that suggest the
form that will emerge. He then uses smaller power tools to detail
his sculpture. Bears, coyotes, sea lions, and horses are brought to
life by his artistry.
This study of an artist and his work shows him interacting with
admirers at crafts fairs in demonstrations that reveal art as
performance. He has become a renowned local character, a legendary
personality whose astonishing works of art magnetize a willing and
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