CLINTON — Clint Henik of Mount Vernon has made his living the last seven years creating wood carvings with a chainsaw.
The derecho of 2020 left him a lot of trees to work with.
Henik turned a damaged white pine at Soaring Eagle Nature Center in Clinton into an eagle Sunday after demonstrating his artistic method for an event at Clinton’s Sawmill Museum.
Henik went skiing up north several years ago and saw chainsaw sculptures, he said. A struggling college student, Henik thought, I’ve got a chainsaw. I can do that.
After seeing Henik’s carvings, friends asked that Henik make sculptures for them. Friends of friends asked for his art. Now it’s a full-time job, Henik said.
Henik uses four or five saws to create a carving. He can use chainsaws for everything except the eyeballs, he said. Those require smaller tools. Large carvings take one to four days to complete, Henik said.
Henik demonstrates his craft at fairs during summers. He’s been as far as the Florida Keys and Wyoming, he said.
The job is faster – and safer – now that Henik has a lift. “I’d be here all day if I had to put scaffolding up,” said Henik. The artist had so many jobs over 20 feet tall that he decided a lift would be a good investment.
Henik carves a variety of woods. He likes walnut, cedar, cherry, oak and pine, he said. He also creates custom wood furniture, from beds and benches to pool tables and end tables.
Henik’s business is called Carve R Way.
The Soaring Eagle project was commissioned by Judy May, vice president of Eagle Point Nature Society, and was paid for by a private donor, Treasurer Cliff Wilkerson said Monday.
“If this goes well, we’re talking about doing other carvings around the barn,” said Wilkerson. “These trees were all damaged by the derecho,” said Wilkerson.
The Nature Society will need donations to pay for additional carvings. “We run solely on donations,” Wilkerson said. “We’re a nonprofit.”
Eagle Point Nature Society manages Soaring Eagle Nature Center, the one-room schoolhouse, Prairie Pastures Dog Park and hiking trails at Eagle Point Park.