Sheffield chainsaw sculptor Alex Vardy-Meers carving tree stumps into incredible art

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He started out as a tree surgeon but after six years in the job his first sculpture "just happened"

A Sheffield chainsaw sculptor is carving out a career turning stumps into incredible pieces of art.

Alex Vardy-Meers, aged 36, of Crookes, starts with a huge 6ft chainsaw and finishes with a tiny 3inch blade in a process that can take days.

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Alex Vardy-Meers with the Archer and the Dragon.Alex Vardy-Meers with the Archer and the Dragon.
Alex Vardy-Meers with the Archer and the Dragon. | Other

Much of his work is tackling trees that have blown down which the owners want to give a second life.

His favourite pieces include Once Upon a Time, a 'storytelling throne', carved from a single cedar stump which includes an owl, a hedgehog and fairies. 

Alex with Once Upon a Time, a ‘storytelling throne’, carved from a single cedar stump which includes an owl, a hedgehog and fairies. 
Alex with Once Upon a Time, a ‘storytelling throne’, carved from a single cedar stump which includes an owl, a hedgehog and fairies.
Alex with Once Upon a Time, a ‘storytelling throne’, carved from a single cedar stump which includes an owl, a hedgehog and fairies. | Alex Vardy-Meers

The Archer and the Dragon was carved for a client who lives in Caldicot, Wales, who loves dragons and his wife’s surname is Archer.

Alex said: "I carved the face of the Archer to her likeness and they were very pleased with the results. The tree was a twin stem ash, that was planted by his father when he was young so he wanted to keep a part of the tree in memory of him."

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A more unusual job was a sculpture of Catherine Digby who died in 2019. Commissioned by her husband Gary, it stands in the garden of their home.
A more unusual job was a sculpture of Catherine Digby who died in 2019. Commissioned by her husband Gary, it stands in the garden of their home.
A more unusual job was a sculpture of Catherine Digby who died in 2019. Commissioned by her husband Gary, it stands in the garden of their home. | Alex Vardy-Meers

A more unusual job was a sculpture of Catherine Digby who died in 2019. Commissioned by her husband Gary, it stands in the garden of their home.

He also created The Tree of Life from the remains of a giant redwood tree. It features larger-than-life animals including a squirrel, woodpecker and owl.

Alex studied for a fine art degree in oil painting but moved into tree surgery 15 years ago. After six years in the job he says his first sculpture "just happened."

He added: "I love seeing forms and making other people’s dreams become reality."

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