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‘Good spirits’ Wood carvings come to life with artist’s touch

<i>WLOS</i><br/>Western North Carolina-based artist Louie LaChusa says he listens to each piece of wood he uses to carve out his creations into what he calls
Felicien, Tesalon
Western North Carolina-based artist Louie LaChusa says he listens to each piece of wood he uses to carve out his creations into what he calls "good spirits."

By Meghan Danahey

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    HENDERSON COUNTY, North Carolina (WLOS) — Louie LaChusa calls his art pieces “good spirits.”

After an ice storm brought down trees all over his neighborhood in Laurel Park, he bought a chainsaw to help clean up. Louis remembered seeing artists carving bears out of tree stumps in videos. Since he had so many stumps to experiment with, he gave it a try.

“My first bear looked more like the character ‘Alf!'” He carved it into a stump on the way up to Jump Off Rock. Louie was about to cut it down when neighbors hung medals on it. That was the inspiration he needed to keep carving and learning.

He has had a lifelong love of art, dabbling in digital art, colored pen and ink drawings and acrylic painting. He found his new medium in the mountains of Western North Carolina.

Louie is a Native American Indian from San Diego, California. He retired in 2018. He and his wife fell in love with Jump Off Rock and settled in nearby. Louie says, “the energy up at Jump Off Rock is fabulous.”

Most days you can find him in his driveway, riding the waves of energy coming off Jump Off Rock and carving out new creations. He likes to “listen to each piece of wood” as he carves. Louie says the tree stump will tell him what it is to become. He likes to think he is bringing out the spirit of the wood to life in a new form, which is why he calls his creations collectively “good spirits.”

Below, Louie talks about his “Gratitude Bear”:

Louie begins each sculpted piece of art with his beloved chainsaw, before moving on to more precision woodcarving tools to create intricate details. Each wood sculpture he creates has its own character and personality. His creations include bears to Native American Indians, eagles, owls, dogs, horses and, of course, Alf!

He was just accepted into the Carolina Mountain Artists Guild and has both his wood works and digital artwork on display in the gallery in Hendersonville.

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