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Destination Vinton has published a flyer listing the creations of chainsaw artist Brian Parr.

Although the activity is not encouraged, people still climb the ginko tree outside the Vinton Public Library, says Virginia Holsten.

That tree -- courtesy of the July 11, 2011 wind storm and chainsaw artist Brian Parr's creative mind -- is now one of many sculptures listed in a new Destination Vinton flyer. That publication also includes a map telling visitors where they can see nearly 20 of Parr's projects.

Holsten said she did not want to cut down that tree, but the damaged caused by the storm left no choice. She and the Library Board members discussed what to do with the damaged tree before asking Parr to work his magic.

It was former Library Board member Tammy Hepker who suggested using "Gone with the Wind" as one of the book titles. That reference to the storm is a local favorite.

Several blocks east, the wind drove part of a large tree into a bedroom window of the home of Rob and Nicki Ott.

"We'll never forget the sound that morning,' says Nicki. "We were sound asleep and woke up to the howling wind. We got down to the basement just before the tree fell onto our daughter's window. I'm grateful to Brian for turning that terrifying memory into something positive that makes our house unique. People drive by and comment on it all the time. We've even had people ask if they can take pictures beside it!"

When firefighters from Iowa gathered in Vinton in September, many toured the town looking at Parr's work.

Vinton Fire Department member Scott Geissinger heard some of those firefighters discussing the sculpture at the library.

"Did you read the titles of the books?" he asked them.

No, they replied, and then got back in their golf cart.

They came back laughing, said Geissinger.

All over town, owners of trees are complimenting Parr on his artistic ability and creative mind.

"Every tree is a new story for Brian and it was fun to watch him at work," says Julie Zimmer of the project Parr created for her and husband Van. "He had some ideas in mind but seemed to ad lib a bit as he went."

The Zimmers had asked for something that included habitat so Parr cut a groove spiraling down the tree to direct rainwater past a couple of pooling points, and a whimsical invitation to toads next to a small stairway at the bottom.

"We added a dugout shelter at the roots with a piece of clay pot for a roof, hoping for an actual toad," says Julie. "So far the main residents are spiders and insects. With the branches of the former tree gone, we are working at adding sun-loving flowering perennials below that seem to be attracting bees, butterflies and an occasional hummingbird. We don't know what may be living under the evergreen carving at the very top, but here is potential for bats. So far the nesting birds have chosen the bushes nearby or the leafy tree adjacent to the sculpture, we are interested to see how occupancy changes over time."

Many of the sculptures express the loves of their owners. The Chicago Cubs, Iowa Hawkeyes and even Harley Davidson motorcycles are among the featured sculptures.

Click HERE to see the flyer and a map including many of Brian's sculptures. The Destination Vinton Committee of Vinton Unlimited created the flyer as one of its many efforts to promote local tourism.

Click the links below to see more photos of Brian's work in Vinton:

Squirrel and bird habitat

Library Tree

Praying Hands

Fire Chief

Beauty after the storm



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Comments (2)

He also did a great golf club bag for my parents. He never did anything like that one before and it turned out great, he is amazing.
By: Jodi Geiger on October 24th 11:40am
Wonderful... just wonderful... Will be taking a tour when visiting Vinton.
By: Gretchen Holtz Kopecky on October 24th 2:21pm

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