Local wood carver starts up competition

There’s not much to stop by and see in Terrace, B.C., Joerg Jung recalls about reading his Lonely Planet book a couple of years ago.

Joerg Jung

There’s not much to stop by and see in Terrace, B.C., Joerg Jung recalls about reading his Lonely Planet book a couple of years ago.

“That’s what it said,” he continues. “I want to change that.”

Before leaving for Canada from Germany, Jung did not think he’d treck to B.C.’s north, let alone stay.

But now, the carver most known in town for his three renegade carvings on Ferry Island is working to bring more tourism to Terrace by helping to organize an international wood carving competition here. He wants to donate the carvings to the city to be displayed around town, giving Lonely Planet — and other travel guides — something to write about.

“It’s beautiful here,” Jung said, shrugging his shoulders in disbelief of Lonely Planet’s claims.

So from July 28 until the 31st in George Little Park, wood carvers from British Columbia and the United States will compete to see who can make the best wooden art — with a chainsaw.

The competitors will be Ken Sheen from B.C., Pete Rieger from B.C., Tomas Vrba from Seattle, Chris Volz from Washington, and Joerg Jung from Germany and now Terrace.

In preparation, Jung is working with the competition’s main sponsor, Save On Foods, to raise money for the event.

Last Friday May 20, Jung grabbed his chainsaw and headed to the grocery store, where a tent was set up.

He performed live carvings all afternoon to show off his skills and attract attention to the cause.

A prize wheel and a draw box were there as well and winners are set to get their prizes on the last day of the competition.

Jung has participated in two competitions, like the one he’s planning, before.

When asked how he placed, Jung laughed. According to him, festivals like these are filled with accomplished and world-renowned wood carvers.

He said he’s lucky to have made it to the competition, and that his prize is learning from the carvers he’s surrounded by.

“I started three years ago,” he said about his experience, explaining that before picking up a chainsaw, he worked in construction with no experience in the arts.

It all started with his mother bringing him a piece of oak, and with surprise, he carved her a cow.

His next carving was a Celtic warrior.

“There is the heart of the wood,” he said, pointing to the placement of the cow’s heart in a picture. “It was not on purpose.

“The heart of the wood was right in the heart of the warrior too,” he said.

“I took it as a sign.”