Chemainus’ world famous chainsaw carver Liam Tromans is like the Energizer bunny. He’s always charged up, ready to work and nothing slows him down. Not even COVID.
The only thing that changed for Tromans since the pandemic was the elimination of public demonstrations and competitions pitting him against other elite carvers. Otherwise, it’s been business as usual.
“I don’t think COVID affects artists as much, myself anyway,” Tromans said. “COVID or not, I’m going to be in my shop working. I’m pretty isolated. I’m still going to carve. I wear a mask all day long. It doesn’t matter to me.”
Interestingly, “when COVID measures first came out, I seemed to sell way more,” he added.
“I’ve levelled off since then with COVID ending. When COVID first started, it was dark and dreary. Artwork kind of brightened their yard up. This time of year is typically slower for sales. Everything you do might not sell this week or next week, but I try to stockpile.”
And it’s quite a stockpile since Tromans can crank out his pieces very rapidly with his machine-like ability.
Part of his business involves making specialty pieces for people.
“I got overwhelmed with commissions for a while.”he said. “I have to pick and choose the ones I do.”
It’s been about eight years now since Tromans and wife Jude relocated to Chemainus.
Tromans was born in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. After more than 30 years as a professional faller, he gave it up in 2015 to concentrate on his artistic side, carving detailed nature and wildlife pieces.
Tromans has always challenged himself in the spotlight of major competitions and it was a busy year on the road in 2019. He got a committee’s choice award that June in Reedsport Oregon; placed first in August at the Hope World Class championship; and then went on to earn third place at Powell River and first in Merritt during September.
Tromans also went back to his native Nova Scotia last October for the Carve Cape Breton event at the Dundee Golf Course.
When we last checked in with him in April of 2020, COVID had already shut everything down. He was invited to the prestigious International Chetwynd competition for 2020, but that had to wait.
When COVID restrictions were eased, Tromans finally went to Chetwynd last June and earned fourth place. He also travelled to the Canadian championship in Orillia, Ontario in 2022 and placed second there to Shea Larking.
“We’re good friends,” said Tromans. “We’re always competing with each other.”
The Chetwynd event is on his calendar again this June, but he’s just waiting for the date to be announced, and then he intends to go back to the Hope World Class event in August.
In the meantime, he’ll continue his due diligence of making eye-catching pieces at his home workshop out of all types of wood.
There’s some standard carvings Tromans is known for creating in different poses and dimensions, but always with something unique each time.
“Bears and eagles I do fairly quickly because I do so many of them and wolves now, too,” he said.
But Tromans is always producing new pieces that show the diversity of his talent. Sasquatches have to stand out as the most unique and provide quite a stunning sight towering over the landscape in his driveway.
The tallest stood 11 1/2 feet.
“Just a sasquatch that size, it’s nice to be able to do,” conceded Tromans.
He actually made five sasquatches overall and all but one has sold.
“They’re a good seller,” Tromans indicated.
He made five pieces from one large Cottonwood tree felled by a person on Riverbottom Road – two bears, two sasquatches and a lion.
“It’s more obtainable than cedar,” Tromans pointed out.
He utilizes wood from whatever sources he can.
“Cedar’s been quite expensive now to buy,” Tromans noted.
He tabs red cedar as “the best wood to work with.” Yellow cedar cracks a bit more, but Tromans still makes it work for a different look.
Lions have also been new to the stable of wildlife carvings. “I thought a lion would be kind of cool,” Tromans said.
In short, everything is fair game for his artistic abilities and Tromans is continually working his chainsaw magic that’s something to behold.
You can check out a lot more on Tromans’ carvings on his Facebook page under Woodswork Art.