Marvin's Carvins: The fine art of the chain saw

What's the latest buzz on chain saw art? On Saturday, Aug. 7 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., stop by the Sheldon Museum in downtown Middlebury to watch Marvin Chamberlin turn logs into sculptures using only a chainsaw.

Chamberlin will be carving outside in the side yard at the Sheldon, rain or shine.

Owner of Marvin's Carvins in Richmond, the artist has been carving wood since childhood, an affinity which sometimes caused his father a great deal of consternation, for example, when the object of Marvin's whittling was a farm tool handle. He has used a chainsaw since the age of twelve, helping to gather firewood for the family, and later working as a logger.

One day, while out for a drive, he stopped at a gift shop to watch someone creating sculpture using a chainsaw and thought "I bet I can do that." After trying it at home, he was hooked. His carvings since have ranged from small 12-inch bears to 25-foot onsite tree carvings, with many sculptures incorporated into the tree. His love of the craft is evident in his work, and he is often asked to do exhibitions at trade fairs and other venues, as well as many on-site sculpture commissions, which turn useless stumps into things of beauty.

There is no charge to watch the demonstration, but visitors are encouraged to take time to tour the Sheldon and browse the Museum Shop. This carving demonstration is offered in conjunction with the Sheldon's current exhibit, The Nature of Wood: Vermont Furniture and Woodware, 1790 to the Present. The exhibit has received generous sponsorship from Edgewater Gallery at Middlebury Falls and is a 2010 State of Craft Showcase event.

The 2010 State of Craft Showcase was organized by the Vermont Crafts Council, in cooperation with the Bennington Museum, the Vermont Folklife Center, and the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing.

The Henry Sheldon Museum is located at 1 Park St. in downtown Middlebury across from the Ilsley Library. Museum hours: May 23-Oct. 17: Tues.-Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sun. 1-5 p.m. Fall/Winter/Spring: Tues.-Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Research Center hours: Tues., Wed., Fri. 1-5 p.m., Thurs. 1-8 p.m. Admission to the museum is $5 adults; $3 youth (6-18); $4.50 Seniors; $12 Family. For more information call 802-388-2117 or visit ww.henrysheldonmuseum.org.

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