Carving out a successful career

Carving out a successful career

ISHPEMING — It’s not often that you can turn a hobby into a full–time career.

Jon and Marie are the artists behind Woodworks Chainsaw Carving. They make hand–made wood carvings. Both artists were in the home building business but they have now carved out a career that has even exceeded their expectations.

“We started from practically nothing, we started with two chainsaws and a log. We are now doing shows across the country. We are booked for two shows in Minnesota and we will be at the U.P. State Fair. I just can’t believe how far we have come in just these few years. A chainsaw can get you around the world. We have been as far away as Ireland and we have invites to Germany and Finland,” said Jon Mykkanen, Woodworks Chainsaw Carving.

Of course prime wood is important, so a few employees that work for chicken feed, like Red, eats all of the bugs out of the wood. Jon says it’s sometimes hard to part with their creations.

“I carved a cute little fox standing by a tree and I loved that fox lamp. I sat down every night and read the newspaper by it. Somebody wanted the fox lamp, so I sold it to them and then I made another one and sold it. Every time I make a fox lamp, I keep it less than a week. Yes, it is difficult to give them away sometimes,” added Mykkanen.

One of their favorite pieces that took a few years to carve and finish is this underground mining statue, which will soon be donated to the Cliffs Shaft Mine Museum. You can pop in and pick out a sculpture, sign or bench of choice but they also take special orders, where Maria spends plenty of time putting in the intricate details.

Jon adds, “Sometimes I just laugh out loud to myself because I see the face take on a personality. You would be surprised how you can take a log and turn it into a creature that is actually looking at you and he looks like he is thinking about something, it’s a wonderful thing, I get a kick out of it.”

They are a bit off the beaten path but if you can find county road CL, you’ve found Woodworks Chainsaw Carving.