While some artists work with paintbrushes, a Davenport high school teacher is carving a niche for himself by using a chainsaw to make sculptures. Trees that’ve toppled in storms and left stumps become giant wooden fish, eagles, horses or cougars. Thom Gleich has created art from destroyed trees in Ottumwa, Muscatine and Davenport and elsewhere. One of his latest projects was at Eagle Point Park in Clinton. He carved eagles and an eagle feather in four trees.The 53-year-old Gleich started carving about a decade ago and says it’s a personal reward to take what would otherwise be firewood and make lasting works of art. He especially likes having an audience.Gleich uses the chainsaw to “block out” areas of the tree that won’t be part of the carving. Then, he uses smaller electric tools to do the “roughing out” step, rounding off the straight lines. Finally, he uses a mallet and chisel to hand-carve the rest of the details.
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