Artist with roots in Maine using fallen trees to grow his business
OLD TOWN, Maine (WABI) - If a tree falls in the woods, there’s a chance Shawn Bennett isn’t far behind to hear it. Brittany McHatten met up with the local artist who uses Maine’s natural resources as both inspiration and a canvas.
“Making things out of stuff that would otherwise be left to rot, rust, and rubbish,” is the inspiration behind Fallen Hollow. But Shawn Bennett isn’t making trash into treasure, he’s making Maine’s treasures into pieces of art.
“I love fishing, I love hunting, I love just walking through the woods. I’ve got a real respect for the outdoors and just love it here in Maine,” explains Bennett.
Drawing on his passion for the Pine Tree State, the Pittsfield native picked up a chainsaw four years ago and started cutting. “I had seen a few chainsaw sculptures around and just decided to give it a try,” Bennett says. “I carved a bear, and that same day, my neighbors came over and bought it.”
Fallen Hollow was born.
“I only use trees that have fallen naturally. I don’t cut anything new,” Bennett says. “If it’s fallen down in the woods, there’s plenty of them around with the wind storms we have, I use those.”
Bennett is giving those fallen trees new life. His creations are now popping up around the area. In addition to the Little Free Library he crafted in Orono, an Old Town couple recently commissioned Bennett to make a bear sculpture.
“We had five trees that were leaning towards the house and it was to the point where we had to have them taken care of,” says Daniel Sinclair. “We just decided to leave this and have the creation made. We were absolutely thrilled with the bear beyond any expectation that we had. Shawn did an amazing job.”
Bennett feels a sense of pride seeing his works of art around town. “It’s pretty cool,” he says. “Every once in a while I’ll drive down through with my kids, and I’ll show them, ‘Hey look, there it is!’ I check on them to make sure they look as good as they did for day one.”
As Bennett’s business grows, so do his dreams. “My dream is to have my own shop, or be in a gallery with functional works of art. These sculptures aren’t that functional, but I make lamps, and I make rocking horses, and tables and chairs. Stuff that’s functional but also a piece of artwork. Also have other artists included into it, and I think that would be a pretty cool store idea.”
He credits his wife for much of his success, saying it wouldn’t be possible to do what he does without her.
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