Review of the Year in Chainsaw Carving Sculptures

As we reach the end of 2023 I thought it was fitting for my final blog to be a review of the year in chainsaw carving sculptures. Join me as I go month by month through the year and highlight some of my favourite pieces…

Review of the Year in Sculptures: January 2023

My first sculpture I made in 2023 is probably in my top five most popular sculptures: an oak highland cow. I made it entirely with chainsaws over three very cold days that somehow felt fitting for the subject. I used a HUGE piece of oak from tree that was felled for safety reasons and the only ‘add ons’ were the horns. Even my largest bar (5′) felt small next to the log! Lots of people asked how I created the hair. If you would like to know more, I explain how in my blog about creating texture.

There was also an exciting ‘first’ for me and Titan Arcadia in January as we hosted our first seminar. I was the speaker and had the privilege of sharing tips on making a living as an artist. It was a paid event so we haven’t made all the content free. However, I did write a blog with seven tips for making a living as an artist that you can read HERE.

a highland cow sculpture created form oak by simon o'rourke

Review of the Year in Sculptures: February 2023

In February my Beatles sculpture were auctioned off AGAIN for charity! It’s great that even years on they are still able to generate income for good causes. A giant piece of redwood arrived for a dragon sculpture, and I was working on sculptures for a new trail. I couldn’t do a review of the year in chainsaw carving sculptures though without mentioning February’s big one: King Charles II hiding in an oak tree.

I made the sculpture for The Royal Oak, Gretton from an oak tree that had sadly died. It depicts the story of King Charles II hiding in an oak tree after the Battle of Worcester. I added a Roundhead soldier and something you won’t read in history books – a squirrel stealing Charles’ hat! The sculpture went viral after a couple of South Asian media outlets shared it. Hilariously though, they reported it as being a sculpture of Jesus!

Review of the Year in Sculptures: March 2023

March was a busy month in the studio. Paul was working on his first completely independent sculpture trail, and I installed my latest trail in Frodsham: Matilda and the Wasps. I also installed two sculptures in Church of the Ascension, Salford. They depict Jesus and Mary and were part of a restoration project following a fire.

The sculpture I’m highlighting this month though is my lighthouse sculpture in Abersoch. If you want to visit, the exact location is and if you want to know more about how I made it, it also features in my blog about creating texture on sculptures.

lighthouse sculpture carved in wood by simon o'rourke, one of the sculptures featured in his blog a review of the year in chainsaw carving sculptures.

Review of the Year in Sculptures: April & May 2023

Well, April and May didn’t exactly go the way I expected! At the end of March I had a detached retina and had emergency surgery. It meant there were several weeks where I couldn’t use the chainsaws. It also meant a bit of a baptism of fire for Paul! I had a big commission for a redwood dragon that still had to be done in that time period. I worked with Paul, coaching and teaching him and together we got it done! Truly a team project and we’re both SO pleased with how it turned out. Most importantly, my client is too!

Review of the Year: June 2023

And we’re already in June! For some of June we were still working on the redwood dragon – and got it installed. Largely I was ctaching up on a lot of things I couldn’t do while recovering from surgery. However, I was able to take part in a local Environmental Day and we got this counter balance piece installed – another happy client!

Review of the Year: July 2023

July was FULL with smaller sculptures! There was a sassy cat, a sunflower, and an eagle in flight. Away from the saws I got to visit my King Charles II sculpture, I unboxed my long awaited Stihl MSA 300 (beauty – find it HERE!), and created some coaching tip videos. The sculpture I’m highlighting though is my Green Man. Although I’ve created Green Man sculptures before (like this one at Highclere), this one had a unique feature. I hollowed out some of the trunk and carved an open mouth. Hopefully it will become a nesting area for birds. What do you think?

Review of the Year: August & September 2023

August and September were all about smaller commissions but also when the mystery began about a BIG project I’m involved in. I began dropping hints of social media, thinking we’d be revealing all in the Autumn – but it’s now the new year and I can’t share yet! It’s a project that’s taking a lot of time so I don’t have any big sculptures to share from the rest of the year. Do keep reading though as there are some ‘reveals’ of smaller sculptures that I haven’t shared on social media yet! And enjoy this fun moment from Septemeber when Caesar met Caesar!

A german shepherd dog sits next to a wood carved portrait of himself

Review of the Year: October & November 2023

Work continued on the secret project (shhhhhh) and I dropped several hints on social media over October and November. So far nobody has guessed what it is yet. Do you have any thoughts?

Even though that was the main thing, I did also hold my first online gallery sale (email if you want to see what I have available) I did manage to fit in a fairy and a memorial for a much-loved equine friend though…

Review of the Year: December 2023

OK, so I promised some reveals of sculptures not yet on social media, so here we go!

In December I was still working on the BIG SECRET but had some time for some other commissions too.

These horse heads are going to be incorporated into a bench for a client…

A pair of carved horses heads in a workshop. They will eventually become the ends of a garden bench,

The same client also commissioned some cat sculptures. Cats are always fun as they’re anatomically fluid and also have such disticnt personalities. I try to ensure each sculpture tells a story and something of the personality…

FInally, here’s a piece commissioned for Barretine from concept to finish. It incorporates their logo and was commissioned to commemorate 30 years in business…

a concept drawing of a paint pot being tipped out and forming the logo for barretine products
concept drawings of a paint pot being tipped out and forming the logo for barretine products

And Onto 2024…

Well, that’s 2023 in sculptures all covered! So what about 2024?

Well, the first thing is that I’m hoping to be able to share my big project soon – and how YOU can be involved. I did promise some hints in the blog that aren’t yet on social media, so here we go…

The project involves:

  • Scales
  • Water
  • Fire
  • Two people whose accolades include BAFTA nominations
  • And……… YOU!

Thank you for reading and for all your support and encouragement over 2023. Wishing you all a very happy, healthy, peaceful & prosperous 2024.

If you would like to commission a sculpture in 2024 please email