SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. - A towering figure overlooks wild animals and mythical creatures that sprout from under a fresh blanket of snow in a Summerside backyard.
“Her name is Danu, the Celtic goddess of nature. And in Norse mythology her name is Freya, but every culture has their own name for her,” said Wayne Ellis, who is no stranger to breathing new life into dead wood.
“Back in the pagan religion a lot of people would pray to Danu for a good harvest of crops or for well-being over the winter,” he added.
Ellis is a self-taught chainsaw carver, with a deeply rooted interest in folklore, as well as knowledge of wood and nature.
He has transformed dozens of dead tree stumps or fallen branches into meticulous characters that pop up around the city, including his front and backyard.
“To create Danu, I used two different types of stain and then I took a torch and rubbed it in for the shading. It’s been a lot of work.
“She is made from a six-foot piece of linden wood that I have been working on over the winter, and I will finish her in spring.”
Danu is the most ancient of all Celtic deities, and she is shrouded in mystery.
No stories of her survive in Irish mythology, although her power associated with the land and its fruitfulness has rippled through the generations and captured the imaginations of many.
“The carving is so heavy that when I try to move her it looks like we are dancing,” concluded Ellis, with a smile.
For more information on the chainsaw carving by Ellis, visit his social media page.