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About Dennis:

News National Chainsaw Carving champion returns to Ridgway Thursday, February 16, 2006 7:40 PM EST
National Chainsaw Carving Champion Denny Beach is returning to the Rendezvous again this year.
Beach; a Wapwallen, Pennsylvania resident, has been attending the rendezvous since before it had a name. An old friend of Rick and Randy Boni, he can see just how far the event has come since the days when it was a small group of carvers getting together in someone's yard.
Denny Beach got started carving about 24 years ago. He said he's come a long way since his days as a “poverty stricken tree trimmer,” becoming one of the leading artists in the chainsaw carving movement.
Beach met the Bonis when his daughters were heading to summer camp. They drove by some of Rick Bonis carvings on the way and eventually he stopped in. Beach says that he hit it off well with the Boni's from the start and they have stayed in touch ever since. He claims that before meeting them he thought he was the only one who had ever gotten the idea of doing carvings with a chainsaw. Through his friendship with the Bonis he has become a part of the rendezvous from the very start, and over the course of his career he has met carvers from all over the world.
Beach says he loves the rendezvous and he plans his entire winter schedule to make sure he's there because it's not a competition. He likes that it's friendly and said he feels that it's all about being around other carvers. That doesn't mean Beach doesn't find the rendezvous carvers competitive, though. Beach feels the rendezvous allows him to carve in front of his peers, and that gaining their respect forces him to do some great work.
Beach also likes the town of Ridgway itself. He feels that it's a “great town and the people are wonderful.” He recounts that shortly after he got into town he was overheard saying he needed a load of firewood since he is camping out this year. Before the evening was over a local resident had provided him with a full truckload of firewood. He feels that things like this really shows how people, “really give you a general sense of welcome.” Beach also loves the way it feel when he tells people he's a carver, saying “anywhere you go in town their (the residents of Ridgway) eyes light up.” Because of this he always tries to be one of the first carvers in town.
This year will be a change for Beach since one of his favorite things about Ridgway is the nightlife during the rendezvous. This will be his first year here since he gave up drinking. As an alternative he hopes to get people involved in socializing around campfires, and just spending time with each other. Beach feels that just seeing all the other carvers is an important part of the rendezvous.
Although Beach doesn't have the benefit many carvers have of keeping in touch through the internet, he is still well known in the carving community. He mostly keeps in touch through his cell phone, annual events, and taking his vacations to the places other carvers live. Beach has been all over the world, he loves traveling, and really enjoys the fact that he can go almost anywhere in the world and spend time with other carvers. In the past he has spent a month in Australia visiting carver Angela Polglaze, who is also attending the rendezvous this year. This year he took a trip to Washington state and visited a group of other carvers there. While in Washington, the carvers went cougar hunting. Beach says he would love to visit Ridgway during the summer sometime instead of just during the rendezvous, but has encountered problems as it is the busiest time of year for him.
Beach is mostly interested in doing realistic carvings, although he has done some abstract work, and is well known for his bears. His favorite pieces are his “hillbillies” and “hillbilly bears” as he likes to do country-style work, feeling he can connect with it. He finds it especially frustrating finding a balance between the work he wants to do and the pieces that pay for his survival. He is an admirer of all styles of carvings and collects pieces other artists do. Most years he picks up three or four carvings at the rendezvous alone and says his house is, “just getting filled up with collectibles.”
Beach has just returned recently to competition carving. He had put competitions aside for a number of years as he had some doubts about beating younger carvers after seeing some of the unique things they were doing. He put these fears aside when he went to England and competed against them, and was surprised at how well he did. Beach still prefers the camaraderie of a non- competitive atmosphere though, feeling it pushes carvers to do their best work without limiting their imagination.
Beach is looking forward to expanding from chainsaw carving into other areas in the future. He would like to do some teaching, and would most probably do it at the Appalachian Arts studio right here in Ridgway. He'd also like to try his hand at doing some structural work, incorporating his carving into the buildings themselves. He is considering attempting some large scale fiberglass sculptures, but wants to look into the difficulties fiberglass dust could cause.