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Within the Raven's Shadow - Storytelling Through Chainsaw Carving

Updated: Apr 26, 2021

Carving a wood raven with an 8-foot wingspan was no small feat, but the carving was only part of story...

"Within the Raven's Shadow" is a mixed media sculpture using primarily log wood carved with chainsaw and power tools. Other materials used include pine lumber, adhesive, metal base, wood stain, paint, pearl powder, spar urethane, tree branches, natural fur, textiles, grass, birch bark.

It took about 2.5 months of mental and physical work to create. Definitely the largest, most complex artwork to date.

The technical details and process are explained in this video:

What's the Deeper Meaning?

The presence of the Raven is both ominous and beautiful, dark and inspiring. The Raven symbolizes our inner darkness, the things we don’t like to talk about, the sides of ourselves not allowed to be free.

The story is told in this video:

By facing, embracing, and integrating this darkness, shadows transform into something not to be feared, but rather, show the way to higher potential.

What is a shadow?

Shadows are different for everyone; they may be a repressed memory, a traumatic experience, a characteristic that has been socially conditioned into hiding, or unknown aspects of ourselves yet to be discovered... and so our shadow selves remain unseen and unknown.

black bird raven spread wings flying
The Raven's massive 8-foot wingspan

It feels safer in the light, so naturally, it’s easier to focus on that side of ourselves; however, all things within the light of life cast shadows.

Exploring our shadows is hard. It takes great courage and strength to turn our gaze inwards to face the dark side, to look at it, understand what it’s made of, and drag it out into the light to be seen, known, and transformed.

huge black raven chainsaw carving suspended in air
Side view of the Raven in flight

This process is messy, this process hurts… but it’s the place where real change happens.

As difficult as it is to delve into our shadows, this is the place wherein lies a sparkling reality - our true selves, our rebirth, our highest potential, our authentic lives waiting to be revealed.

What lies within the Raven's shadow?

Within the Raven’s shadow, we find transformational treasures.*

Dare we look to the shadows, dare we love them, and dare we discover what lies within.

(*Elder Futhark is an ancient runic alphabet originating from European regions, particularly documented within Scandinavia. Historical and modern rune usage takes form in written language, carved runestones, symbolic charms, divination, adornments, and other cultural artifacts.

Raidho ᚱ - “Ride” or “Journey” (R) – represents a spiritual journey into expanding horizons, things being put into perspective, evolution, and finding the right path.

Perthro ᛈ - “Destiny” or “Pear Tree" (P) – represents discovering destiny, uncovering mysteries within hidden secrets, divine revelations, spiritual gifts, and gaining wisdom through the good and bad in life.

Berkana ᛒ - “Birch” (B) – represents liberation of spirit, flexibility to bend without breaking, rebirth, creation, and growth.)

Where Did the Inspiration Come From?

Within the Raven's Shadow is the first in a series of sculptures on the theme of Wisdom from the Wilderness.

The artworks are based on a combination of personal interviews and connecting human experiences with lessons observed in nature.

For each artwork within this body of work, artistic research is performed with an individual about a significant experience or struggle in a person’s life.

Looking up at trees and sky in forest
Solitude in nature brings clarity and inspiration

This is followed by a period of time of Artist reflection, solitude, and observance in the wilderness. I draw inspiration from nature and open myself to receive natural guidance, connection, and discovery.

By working with natural materials, I strive to connect the human experience with truths observed in nature. As the artwork emerges, so does a written story. Wisdom from the Wilderness is expressed in physical art form and written storytelling.

I realize this process has potential to bring up some deep subjects with others, so I wanted to experience the process firsthand before asking others to get involved.

"Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darkness of other people." - Carl Jung

Personal Interview Summary

Coming to terms with the miscarriage of my baby was one of the most significant experiences that made an impact on my life. The toll it took on my physical, mental, and emotional well-being almost broke me. Silence prolonged the suffering. I was very afraid of losing myself in that darkness.

Grief and darkness are still within me, and they always will be; but since opening up about the loss, it’s been transformed into something that is no longer negative. The shadow now adds to my life with self-awareness, higher purpose, and discovering new abilities and gifts.

Within the shadows, I found myself.

Why Interview Others?

The power of storytelling changes lives.

I feel inexplicably drawn to making a difference through art. I am driven to experiment and explore, to discover powerful lessons observed in nature, and share them with others.

The potential to uncover new truths, new perspectives, healing, and meaningful connections make this powerful art.

Through it, I hope to connect with others, listen, empathize, learn. Whatever their experience is, I approach it with an open mind, without judgment, with respectful reverence, and honor the story within the artistic process.

If you are interested in participating in this interview process and sharing your story with me, read more info and submit your contact info here.


Within the Raven's Shadow sculpture is currently available for exhibition/purchase. If you know of a place that would love to display this work, let's chat!

Check out the next project in the series - "The Struggle"

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