“Turn left at the old dead tree” this was a small descriptive part of the directions for our meeting that I received from local chainsaw artist Peter Ertl. We planned to meet on a spectacular spring day on a farm, which is allowing him some external workspace. In a cloud of saw dust, under the clear blue sky, I found him. Surrounded by nature and working to the roaring song of his mechanized tools.
Peter is a free spirit who obviously cherishes his ability to work freely amongst the spectacular landscapes which surround our beautiful village of Schliersee. He is a warm and open personality who shared his creative process with me. You can see and feel his passion for art in every precise cut.
Surrounded by piles of preciously acquired historic timbers and 100 year old tree stumps to Peter, each scrap of wood is a possible work of art. He sees in each line of grain or chip a part of its life story. What seems like a worn, scarred, off cut, could be transformed with his skill and imagination into bookends. It is really quite amazing what this “wood whisperer” can coax out of a block of ancient wood. It is not only hard work and talent which guides Peter but also a great knowledge of wood and its individual properties. For the past 4 years he has worked tirelessly to hone his craft. Each species of tree will react differently under the teeth of his powerful saws. Controlling the power blades of a chainsaw to manage these intricate cuts is very difficult and in a second, a piece of art can become firewood. The whole process takes great strength and patience.
With this patience, Peter finds inspiration in an ancient Chinese philosophy. Wǔ Xíng, also known as the Five Elements. Wood (木 mù), Fire (火 huǒ), Earth (土 tǔ), Metal (金 jīn), and Water (水 shuǐ). These symbols or design elements occur often in Peter’s carvings. It is this oneness with Nature that guides and inspires him. To him, when the piece of art seems to carve itself from the wood with almost no effort on his part, in a kind of Zen state, then he feels it is a success.
If you have been to Spitzingsee you may already be familiar with some of his work. He is the artist who carved the wooden sledder installation at the entrance from the saddle up to Obere Firstalm. I really hope we will be seeing more of his unique sculptures in Schliersee soon.
To learn more about Peter Ertl of Brain Ticket Products, please click on his links below.
American artist, photographer and professional wanderer who, after 20 years of roaming, put down roots in a 100 year old Bavarian farmhouse and fell in love with the Alpine village and its residents (both 2-legged and 4-legged).