Topsham artist carves out his living — with a chain saw

Posted Jan. 22, 2013, at 6:26 a.m.
Last modified Jan. 22, 2013, at 9:43 p.m.
TOPSHAM, Maine — Josh Turner was still in elementary school when he first created art from a log.
“For a sixth grade school project, I had my dad run the saw down a pine log and I turned it into a canoe.  That was my first carving,” said Turner, 31, of Woolwich.
In his 20s, Turner got a job doing tree work with a power company in Florida.  During down time on the job, “I found myself sitting there with the saw, so I started thinking, ‘Hey, what can we make?'” he said.
What he made were whimsical pieces like alligators with fishing poles catching fishermen.  When people started buying them, he decided to make it his full-time profession.
After moving to Maine with his wife and son two years ago, he taught himself how to carve bears, moose and even lobsters.  Now he’s occasionally hired by homeowners who want him to create art out of an old tree that needs to be cut down in a front yard.
Turner says his work tend to be more cartoonish than realistic.  A recent piece depicts a bear doing a flip on a snowboard.
Last year while delivering “Bagged a Big’un,” a large carving of a rifle-toting moose standing over a hunter wearing only boxer shorts, he noticed he was being followed.  He decided to pull over.  When he did, the driver behind also stopped and got out with his camera.
“I’ve been following you for 25 miles” the guy said. “I just had to get a picture!”