World’s best woodcarvers compete in Alaska Cup
Woodcarving is an art form a little bit louder than most. Armed with chainsaws and blowtorches, artists at the Alaska Cup Carving Competition worked their way through massive chunks of spruce to form their masterpieces.
The four-day event, now in its second year, was hosted by the Turnagain Gallery near Bird Creek on the Seward Highway.
“These carvers are awesome. And they were chosen for their superior abilities with carving a piece of wood,” said Greg Anderson, owner of Turnagain Gallery.
This year’s theme was “epic Alaska.” Sculptors presented many different interpretations, with some being more traditionally Alaskan than others.
“They’re all supposed to carve something that has not only an Alaskan theme, but also lots of motion — lots of negative space within their carving, to give their piece that Alaska feel,” Anderson said.
The artists were from all over the world. Some came from as far away as Japan and Germany. The pieces they built were judged on elements like complexity and attention to detail.
“We’re not trying to pick what we want in our backyard, it’s how well it lines up with the criteria,” said Steven Higgins, a judge who is an award-winning carver himself.
“It’s like running a marathon … to grab a chainsaw and a block of wood and try to turn this out in a couple of days,” Higgins said.
In addition to the main competition from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day, there was also a daily contest to construct a sculpture from scratch in just 90 minutes.
“That was their break,” Higgins joked.
At the end of the event, there was an auction to sell each piece. Anderson said Sunday afternoon that small items were expected to sell for a few hundred dollars, while the larger ones could go for thousands apiece.
Bob King from Washington state took home the grand prize. Alaskan Jordan Anderson won the people’s choice award.