European Wood Sculpture Competition – Art with chainsaws
Nature Park Dübener Heide
Region & country
Since the year 2000, artists from all over Europe have been meeting every last weekend in July in the Hammerbach Valley near Tornau and have been making sculptures from logs with chainsaws. The idea for this was born at the end of the 1990s during workcamps with students from Great Britain. The competition has developed into the largest summer festival in the Dübener Heide Nature Park with up to 5,000 spectators. The sculptures, often inspired by nature motifs, are sold at an auction a few weeks after the event. The proceeds go to micro-projects of nature conservation and environmental education.
Art with Chainsaws 1
VDN / Thomas Klepel
Art with Chainsaws 2
VDN / Thomas Klepel
Art with Chainsaws 3
VDN / Thomas Klepel
Background of the project
Various projects and products were created in the context of landscape conservation and cultural encounters in the 1990s. However, these were not open to the public. There was a growing desire among the Nature Park and the participants to make the joint activities more transparent and to encourage people to participate.
In the background, the wish of the participants was to make their work public – here especially the artistic work with natural wood – and to invite further artists and guests with the aim of developing a European competition as well as a festival.
Solution and actions taken
A publicly accessible forest meadow was searched for and found and the possibilities of logistical support for holding such a public event were prepared and tested. Further contacts to other large scale Protected Areas and European partners were established to invite artists from these regions.
A research of possible event locations with good public accessibility and harmonious integration into the landscape. Contact to networks of large scale Protected Areas and public media to spread the idea.
Other institutions or parties involved
The local community, associations and companies, as well as local actors from society and administration. Europe-wide networks of LEADER and LEONARDO-/ERASMUS-Programms.
The event is very well established. The “Festival” competition is an excellent opportunity for artists, visitors and nature lovers from all over Germany and Europe to get to know each other and to communicate. A network of actors and participants has been created to spread the idea and future development. The event contributes to strengthening the identity and cohesion of the participants.
The unknown and risks of such an event in terms of investment and necessary preparations. The requirements for the safety of artists and visitors when using chainsaws and tools. The invitations of participants from European countries with visa requirements.
The valorisation of local resources – in this case wood from the densely wooded Nature Park – and the use of Europe-wide networks and the activation of the commitment of local actors are prerequisites for the successful development of the project – in this case the competition. The exchange of experiences and the possibilities of implementing ideas during the competition will contribute to the preservation of the common cultural heritage.
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