Within a few years, Chad Belt’s yard on 28th Street has become something of a work of art.
Two wood carvings decorate the yard, one featuring an eagle and another featuring a nearly completed Atlas sculpture. The carver, Scott Pries, of Scott’s Custom Wood Carvings in Omaha, crafted both sculptures. Pries has been working on the sculptures for over two years.
However, he started carving altogether nearly five years ago.
“I started with a little Dremel tool and a Tiki face, then I got bigger and started seeing there was no competition,” Pries said. “No one else is doing it.”
Over time, Pries has met other carvers, like one from South Dakota, but it’s still a fairly scarce field, he said.
Pries carved the eagle displayed in Belt’s front yard about two years ago. He carved it out of a soft wood. He considers eagles and hawks easier to carve compared to the Atlas statue, which he’s currently working on.
The main reason Belt requested the eagle was because he has “always loved bald eagles.”
“I enjoy it and it’s even more beautiful in the snow,” Belt said.
Belt chose the Atlas carving because he’s a fan of the statue. The sculpture depicts the Ancient Greek Titan Atlas holding the heavens. There is a bronze Atlas statue located outside of the Rockefeller Center in New York.
“I’ve always liked the Atlas trophy. It has a lot of people doing things together as a globe,” Belt said.
The Atlas carving has been difficult for Pries for multiple reasons, he said. Each day, he’s brought scaffolding for the carving, and has had to carve using odd angles due to the height of the statue. Some cracking has proven a slight issue, but technical issues like carving the wood to create faces and arms have proved the biggest challenge.
“Faces and bodies like that are the toughest part,” Pries said.
Due to weather, Pries plans to finish the Atlas sculpture in the upcoming year. He plans to apply stain to the wood to keep it from cracking or otherwise being damaged by the winter weather.
He said multiple people driving by and neighbors have stopped to look at the carvings already. Belt said he has also noticed the wood work garnered a lot of attention.
“A lot of the neighbors have seen the one over there and thank me for doing it,” Pries said.