Wowing with wheat
Artist and wood carver Josh Dagg of Aylmer, Qc. stands with his latest artwork in Chesterville at River Edge Farms owned by David Chambers. The wheat stocks stand about 16 feet at its highest point.       Courtesy Spinney photo

Kalynn Sawyer Helmer
Record Staff
CHESTERVILLE – For five and a half days, wood carver and artist Josh Dagg of Alymer, Qc. worked on what was left of a few dead American elm trees on local farmer David Chambers’ property. The project involved two commissioned works, three wheat stocks and a vertical farm sign.

“The trees died this summer. Hydro wanted to cut them down last fall but I wanted to save them for this,” said Chambers. He explained that he has always liked the wheat crop and Canada’s strong wheat quality. The trees that died were also the perfect trees for such art.

Chambers heard of Dagg through a friend and was able to visit his booth at the Russell Fair this year. Dagg has made quite a reputation for himself throughout the area over the last 14 years. At the beginning of his artistic career, Dagg worked building Scandinavian style log homes, but he always felt a pull to do something more creative. He said the transition was “spontaneous” and his art career blossomed.

Dagg has carved in annual competitions across Canada and the world, travelling to places like England, Scotland and Germany to test his skills. His work can be found in Ottawa, Alymer and everywhere in between, but his trip to Chesterville was the first.

The sign stands roughly 20 feet tall with the wheat stocks topping out at about 16 feet. The general theme of the pieces, Dagg said were a request from Chambers, with the how to and design left to Dagg. The works are completed for the winter until warmer temperatures mean Dagg can use stain and preservatives to make sure the art will last.

“It looks great and it’s something different,” said Chambers of the art work. He continued that the work has drawn a crowd over the last week making his farm a hot spot for curious locals. “I’m really happy with it,” concluded Chambers,

Dagg’s works are often made of nature and wildlife inspirations but has produced a few pieces with rural motifs. He explained that he aims to help give back by selling his work to seed companies for “rock bottom prices”, so that they can be auctioned off for charities during fairs and the Farm Show. For anyone driving by and admiring the work, Dagg does commissions but also has a significant inventory of his own and other artists’ works. He can be found on Facebook at @joshswood.