Chainsaw carver Mike Brown at work on the Malahat Farm monkey tree stump. (Contributed photo)

Chainsaw carver Mike Brown at work on the Malahat Farm monkey tree stump. (Contributed photo)

Chainsaw carver turns dead tree into stunning work of art

Historic tree at Malahat Farm sprouts new life

Where many people see a stump or the ragged remnants of a dead tree best suited for the fireplace, Mike Brown sees a canvas.

That’s why Sheila Stoner contacted the Nanaimo chainsaw carving artist asking him to create a unique piece of art from a historic but desiccated monkey puzzle tree on Malahat Farm, east of Shirley.

Now all done, the result – a three-metre-tall, three-dimensional scene, depicting the original owner of the farm, a bear and raven – is turning heads.

The monkey puzzle tree was planted 100 years ago by pioneer William H. Anderson, a journeyman carpenter from Yorkshire, England when he bought the property and built a home. The tree lays witness to many family activities and generations.

Stoner bought the property two years ago, but soon realized she would need to cut the rotting tree down.

“I felt horrible cutting it down, but it was either the tree or the house,” she said.

But she wanted to keep the legacy of the tree alive.

Enter Brown, who created the modern-day totem pole. In this case, the pole, or stump, features Anderson’s carved face on the bottom, a bear in the middle, and a raven on top.

Stoner decided before the 30-metre tree was cut that she wanted a carving made out of the stump and planned to mill the remaining wood and use it for kitchen renovations.

“I’ve kinda tried to bring that tree back into the house and reuse it because it was a big part of the history here.”

Malahat Farm is at 2675 Anderson Rd.

RELATED: Malahat Farm revisited



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The finished project. (Contributed photo)

The finished project. (Contributed photo)

William H. Anderson and his wife. The monkey puzzle tree can be seen in the background. (Contributed photo)

William H. Anderson and his wife. The monkey puzzle tree can be seen in the background. (Contributed photo)