Popular carver shares advice with peers

Jeff Samudosky, the popular carver whose larger-than-life wooden horse sculpture has taken the Ridgway Chainsaw Carvers Rendezvous by storm, presented a seminar Thursday morning at Appalachian Arts Studio in Ridgway and stressed the importance of both sharing ideas and finding your own way."I've just tried to figure things out on my own," Samudosky said. "A lot of these things that took me 13 years to do, I can show someone now in 10 minutes. "We're all here to learn off each other and everyone has something to bring to the table."For Samudosky, one of the many beautiful aspects of chainsaw carving is that each individual artist is able to present fresh ideas to the growing art form."Everybody has some kind of trick and when I first came to the Rendezvous, it kind of felt like, 'hey, keep it a secret, don't tell this guy guy how to do it because he might do it better,' but who cares?" Samudosky said. "I want people to do things better than me. Richard Hamilton came to me with Ken Tinnen on the road and from what Rich [Hamilton] was carving two years ago to now is absolutely mind-blowing."I would say that the more different things that we try, we'll find different things that will work."In fact, Samudosky's philosophy for life has always been to try different things and to not have a plan."So often things change and I just go with it, and adapt," Samudosky said. "When I started off with things, it's just one part of a puzzle and I didn't really set a time or date-- I really didn't care. "I can't add up the hours that I would sit there after I'm done, sitting at night, walking around and checking things out."Referencing his large horse sculpture, Samudosky shared his many thoughts regarding the piece to the large crowd."After you work on something so long, you can sit down and close your eyes and see those images," Samudosky said. "I have a hard time shutting off my brain so throughout the whole project, I had it done in five weeks, with the sealer and the base (it) wasn't completely done but the horse was done."