“I have professional chainsaw training,” he said.
“Nobody does training for chainsaw carving. If you have it, then you have it. But if you want to advance in this work, then you have to buy special chainsaws. Everything is specified for that type of work.
“When I came to Ireland, I was renovating houses before the Celtic Tiger collapsed. I then started working for a forestry subcontractor.”
Before moving to Ireland, Gintas worked on a building site back home in Lithuania. There he worked with timber, decoration and paintwork. He began carving his own sculptures four and a half years ago. This intricate craft is a unique skill that takes lots of hard work and dedication. Gintas says his line of work has been his “little hobby.”
“I am sourcing timber locally from tree surgeons,” he said.
“With timber, If you want some bigger sculptures you have to get some decent diameter, and not firewood size. I thought demand would’ve been lower around Christmas time and the New Year, but I am still getting orders.
“Now I am doing a project for a lady, who reads stories about the forest and wildlife to children in schools. She placed an order for a few things.”
Gintas has received interest from all over the island, and even as far away as the U.S. He works completely alone and hand delivers these stunning carvings throughout different parts of Ireland, north and south.
“The furthest part in Ireland I have sent my work to is Tralee, in Co.Kerry. I also have some work in Dublin. It took time, but my work is all over the place and not just Donegal.
“My owls are very popular. This type of artwork will stay for a good few years, especially tree stump sculptures, it’s not like you can take it off the wall and move it somewhere else. Small pieces can be made in a day. If you’re going for something big, human size, it can take a week until I am finished, with the sanding and with the oil. It takes time. Every person has their own requirements.
“I got an order for a memorial bench, which will have robins, butterflies and sunflowers. Every week is different, you know. You won’t really find a piece exactly the same as another one.
“I am always asking the person what they would like, and I will offer my suggestions. Sometimes I have to make changes to a piece of work rather than what was already agreed, because you find something like a rotten tree, or I might have to work around the timber. It is not so straightforward.”
Gintas says a lot of the pieces he carves are for people’s gardens. He says that his “business is small, but his customers are big.”
“Most of my work at the moment is private commissions. When I put something online, people ask where they can see this work. Some of my pieces can be seen locally in Ards Forest Park, Drumboe Woods in Stranorlar, Oakfield Park in Raphoe and Batt’s Walk in Rathmullan. I would love to show more of my work in public places.
“Ireland is a nice country. Everything is nice, nice people, but sometimes you need an umbrella, especially in Donegal. You can plan what you are going to do the next day, but sometimes it doesn’t happen like that. You can get four seasons in one day!”
If you would like to place an order or check out more of Gintas’ work, visit the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Gintas-carving or on Instagram @GintasCarving. Alternatively, you can send an email to [email protected]