Link to Dahl's Webpage Jarrett's Father is Wayne Dahl who pitched for years with Cerro Gordo of Dawson. Cerro played in the Watertown League as well as many SD Tournaments over the years. Wayne was recently selected to the Minnesota State Softball Hall of Fame. Jarrett has sponsored teams and helped with leagues in the Black Hills area.
Chainsaw artist transforms Sioux Falls tree stump into sculpture
When Jarrett Dahl is working, everything around him slows down.
Cars hit the brakes. Dog walkers stop and stare. Joggers pause and pull out cell phones.
But when you're carving an eagle into a tree with a chainsaw, you have to expect some looks.
Standing on scaffolding just outside Willadsen Lund Engineering near 15th Street and Cleveland Avenue, Dahl has spent most of this week transforming a tree stump into a work of art.
Eric Willadsen said the tree was an ash tree — so with emerald ash borers invading the city, he had to decide if he was going to try to save it.
He looked into it, he said, but it was an expensive prospect.
"It's a beautiful tree," he said. So he got to thinking. "Hey, why don't I carve it into a sculpture?"
He spoke with Dahl late last year about what the tree could become. After some discussion, they landed on a sculpture of an eagle.
"It worked out good because there's a lot of splits," Dahl said, pointing at an area of the tree that branches off into two cylinders that will soon become wings.
Dahl's been making chainsaw art for 15 years. ever since he met artist Scott Hanson while in Alaska. He realized it was something he loved doing, and kept up with it — eventually opening a shop in Keystone.
For this project, Dahl started on Tuesday and expects to be done Friday — although if plans change, he may have to throw an enormous tarp over it during Saturday's expected rains.
When interviewed on Tuesday, Dahl was in the process of debarking the tree and getting a better picture of what exactly he had to work with, and over the next two days the tree has slowly but surely transformed into an eagle with its wings spread.
Between holding a revving chainsaw and working with an abnormal canvas, sculpting in this way could be nerve-wracking for some, but the challenge is what Dahl enjoys about the work.
"It's not your typical cylinder that you'd get from a logger," he said. "This is a lot more unique, it has character."
And passersby seem to agree.
"I didn't think it'd be this big of a hit," said Willadsen on Friday as he looked at the half-dozen people watching Dahl work.
Just down the road on South Cleveland Avenue, another yard contains a giant metal spider and a purple zebra, but Willadsen said he's not trying to make it a competition.
"This is just my idea of trying to save something from the tree."