A little over a year ago, Joseph Wade cut down a tree in his yard. Totally normal, right? But instead of slicing that baby up and using it for marshmallow roasting fuel, this active-duty Pinehurst resident whipped out his chainsaw and chisels and carved it into a yard bear. Later, he added a Sasquatch — one you can actually capture in a non-blurry photo.
“There’s always two questions: how’d you get started, and do you sell them?” he says. The answer to the first is that he’s always been creative — from making towering snow art as a kid in Ohio to building elaborate sand castles on the beach and painting on canvas. Now, creativity is an outlet for Joseph, who commutes to Fort Bragg.
The answer to the second question is complicated. Will he sell them? Yes. Is this just a fun side project? Also yes.
“I told Samantha, my wife, that I’ll know I’ve made it when I started working in other people’s yards,” he said.
Enter the yard of Clark and Marti Campbell.
Clark had some trees that needed to be removed. A fan of Joseph’s work, he decided to leave enough standing to add some backyard interest. Joseph carved the above, a tribute to the Campbell family’s dogs (all of whom have loved to tree squirrels), right outside the back door of the suite for Clark’s mother-in-law, Pat Epperly. “We gave him artistic freedom, and we absolutely love it,” Clark says.
Then, the two collaborated on a new project. Joseph wanted to try his hand at carving a flowing beard. Clark’s son has an interest in mythology. So, they decided on Poseidon, incorporating a sea turtle to honor the family’s time at Topsail Island.
On the back side, carved-in planters bear the names of Clark and Marti’s kids, Max and Ellie.
“It’s just fun,” Clark says. “We’ve had so many neighbors come by, most with little kids, who have loved to watch him at work.”
While Joseph’s done about 20-30 pieces, some are smaller, like the rabbits below.
But, of course, it’s the larger pieces that really catch the eye.
“A lot of times I’ll have an idea of what I want and I’ll end up with something different,” he says. “While it’s never perfect, it’s a lot of fun to see things come to life.”
If you drive through neighborhoods around downtown Pinehurst, you might see some of Joseph’s work — or you might see him on a ride with his wife, Samantha. Yes, that’s him on the unicycle.
Because of course it is.
See Joseph in action here.