Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 30

MADE IN Georgia
By H.M. Cauley
Chris Lantz,
chain-saw sculptures
T
hink " competition, " and " wood sculpting " may not come to mind
immediately-unless you're Chris Lantz. Since 2013, the Clarkesville
resident has been competing as a wood sculptor and giving demonstrations
at festivals and fairs around the country.
While it's a bit unusual to be a competitive wood sculptor, Lantz's
method is even more eye-popping. The 32-year-old uses chain saws to turn
tree stumps into oversized and detailed works of art.
Lantz learned the distinctive technique from his father and uncles.
" There isn't formal training for this; you don't go to a school and
someone teaches you, " he says. " But I watched for 19 years and had a good
idea of ways not to do it. I also went around the country and studied with
different people, and at competitions, I'd watch the best person
and incorporate certain things into my style. "
Lantz prefers to carve wildlife: giant black bears with fish
flopping from their jaws, a buck jumping over a rock, a dog
with a duck in its mouth. And the bigger the better, he
says, opting to work on logs from 3 to 7 feet long.
His biggest competition carving-a heron, an
eagle and other animals-was 6.5 feet tall
and just as wide. One of the projects
underway on his 2-acre homestead
is an 8-foot bear.
" I have [carved] an old cabin
with an outhouse behind it and a
lighthouse with a dock and little
sailboat, " he says. " But for the most
part, I don't like doing things that
aren't alive. "
One secret to Lantz's sculpting
success is his mix of saws. His
collection includes saws with blade
lengths ranging from 3 feet to just
8 inches with " a tip smaller than a
pinkie nail. "
As for the wood, it often comes
down to what's available and the
quality of the piece being carved.
He's carved bald cypress, Eastern red
cedar, black walnut and yellow or
white pine.
But what those pieces of wood
wind up being isn't always in the
initial plan, Lantz says.
" I have two ways to start, " he
says. " I either have a vision or idea
of what I want to make, or I might
30 Georgia Magazine January 2023
Chris Lantz's favorite subjects come from nature, such as
black bears (above) and a swordfi sh (below left). Large,
intricate sculptures can take weeks to complete.
be inspired by a certain log. But even if I have a plan,
when you get into it, you realize the wood kind of has
its own plan. You have to be good at improvising and
keep the design fluid. "
The size and complexity of the finished piece
often determines its cost. Small works might sell
for $200; a detailed custom order can run into the
thousands. The most expensive sculpture he's sold
was a carving of two herons that went for $18,000.
Creating an intricate carving of significant size
might take two weeks and requires stamina. During
a demonstration, Lantz might use a 20-pound saw
for an hour.
" When I started, I was able to only do
30 minutes at a time, " he says. " Now I can carve
for 14 hours a day. I'll be sore, but I can do it. "
Along with physical strength, Lantz says the
job takes nerve and precision.
" When you've got a machine spinning at 12,000
rpms, one wrong move and you're toast. If 'danger'
isn't your middle name, don't even think about it, "
he says.
H.M. Cauley is a freelance writer based in
Atlanta.
For more information about Chris Lantz and his company,
Extreme Sculpting, go to extremesculpting.com.
C
O
H
U
Y
C
R
TE
R S
S
I
L
A
N
T
Z
COURTESY CHRIS LANTZ
http://www.extremesculpting.com

Georgia Magazine - January 2023

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia Magazine - January 2023

Contents
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - Intro
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - Cover1
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - Cover2
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - Contents
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 4
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 5
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 6
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 7
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 8
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 9
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 10
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 11
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 12
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 13
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 14
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 15
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 16
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 17
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 18
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 19
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 20
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 21
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 22
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 22A
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 22B
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 22C
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 22D
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 23
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 24
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 25
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 26
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 27
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 28
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 29
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 30
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 31
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 32
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 33
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 34
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 35
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 36
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 37
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 38
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 39
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 40
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 41
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - 42
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - Cover3
Georgia Magazine - January 2023 - Cover4
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