Sam Dunning sees a masterpiece
by Kate Prince, KPI Staff Writer
Most homeowners see a tree stump in their yard as a nuisance, but Sam Dunning sees the beginning of a masterpiece.
Sam has been woodcarving now for 13 years. "It's a good outlet for creativity," he commented, "and it moves fast enough that I don't get bored and neither do the people watching. If I didn't enjoy it, it would be way too hard and dirty to continue, but I love it."
When Sam is asked how he learned to carve, he tells people he learned at the school of "don't cut off your leg" because he just picked up the hobby out in the woods. When creating his art pieces, he uses chainsaws 95 percent of the time. The other 5 percent is a side grinder for sanding and a die grinder with burr bits.
The majority of the woodcarving is done at the Dunning residence, but he said there's always someone around wanting a tree carved in their yard. In the past, he's carved trees and stumps into animals such as eagles, bears, giraffes and armadillos, and has also created Indians. "I did a cool job for a place called Jailhouse Pizza in Brandenburg, KY where I did cartoon cowboys, a paddy wagon and an electric chair," he shared. Sam also gets hired to use his talents for festivals.
When asked if he looked at something to give him an idea of what to carve, his response was that he pretty much makes it up as he goes. "If I cut something off that I needed I just change plans and decide I don't need it anymore. I have spent 30 minutes on some things and 3 days on others.
It really just depends on how big and far I feel like taking the project."
Sam and his wife, Holly, have 3 children. Their oldest 2 are from Kazakhstan and the youngest is from China. "God has blessed me my whole life," he shared. "I'm not sure what I do could be considered talent, but whatever it is, He has allowed me to afford the growing of my family through all of this. We are as happy together as any family out there and Holly and I are working on number 4 that will be from China, so I keep carving and God keeps blessing. I guess He could have just blessed me with a ton of money to sit around and have everything handed to me, but really, what would the fun of that be?"