Local finds forms in blocks of wood
Published 7:00 am Friday, May 2, 2014
Thursday, local chainsaw artist James Seal was at Phillips Building supply demonstrating his talents and selling his work.
For nearly 13 years Seal has been shaping wood into aquatic animals and birds by simply using a chainsaw and a block of wood.
Prior to undertaking his current method of making a living, Seal was a graphic artist working in Ocean Springs. Unhappy with that previous job, he said he prayed about what to do, after which he heard a voice that told him to go home. At 24-years-old he called his mother who said he was welcome to move in with her.
Sometime later, he and his mother took in a homeless man who carved a pelican out of wood using a chainsaw right before Seal’s eyes.
For two years, Seal mentored under the homeless man until they decided to go their separate ways.
His first carving was of a turtle he sold for $95, Seal said.
The Pearl River County resident now carves full time to pay the bills. At times he can churn out four to five rough carvings a day.
However, to produce a large finely finished carving or two small finished carvings takes a full day.
A Christian man, he avoids carving fantasy figures such as gargoyles and mermaids or anything that could be used as an idol.
The largest piece he said he produced was a life-sized tiger lying on stones.
While he can decide what to carve before he cranks his chainsaw, he said his best carvings come when he lets the wood and prayer speak to him.
“The most enjoyable thing about it is you never know what’s in the wood until you get in there and polish it,” Seal said. “I give all praise to Jesus for the talent and for leading me in this direction.”