|
|
Wellington Daily News - Wellington, KS
  • Wellington man sells sculptures to help autistic kids

  • Find out what one local person is creating using a block of wood and a chainsaw.
    • email print
  • Wellington has a new resident at 323 W. 4th Street, just south of Lincoln Elementary School.
    Meet Larry.
    He's a 700-pound wizard in desperate need of braces for his teeth. Inside his wooden mouth, robins and cardinals take refuge – snacking upon the seeds left behind by his owner.
    That's a lot to take in.
    Larry is a sculpture, created by former Sumner County Educational Service Psychologist Denny Leak.
    Leak served Sumner County for more than 20 years. Currently he works at Rainbows United, a Wichita facility that specializes in early childhood intervention. Leak is an Autism Specialist, who has turned his passion of chainsaw sculpting into a fundraiser to help his kids.
    Leak has sculpted six pieces for Rainbows United events. His sculpture, 'Howling Wolf,' generated 750 dollars toward his cause. He's hoping Larry will fetch even more.
    The prospective proceeds for the purchase of Larry will hopefully garnish a new IPad for Leak's students. If the price is right, it could also help a student attend summer camp.
    Leak is still new to chainsaw sculpting. He started six years ago by chance.
    "My dad has a cabin in Colorado. It's right on the border between the Platte River and the Pike National Forest. The insurance company wanted us to cut back some of the trees for fire prevention," said Leak.
    While clearing trees, something caught his eye. He noticed a sculpture of a bear sitting in his neighbor's yard.
    "You know, I think I could do that. I had wood all over the place. I just thought I would give it a try."
    With help from his friend Steve Scott, a retired Wichita educator and chainsaw artist, Leak is learning about the different finishing tools and techniques.
    "You really have to be very careful working with power tools. You have to work in really awkward positions. Some of it's over my head, some down at my feet. It's a really unorthodox thing," said Leak.
    He has already amassed 70 hours creating Larry. Wellington has taken notice, most of the reviews have been positive – well, most.
    He tells about a humorous encounter with a woman who doesn't quite "get" Larry.
    "One lady at the grocery store came up to me and kind of frowned. She said, 'now, are you making that for a private commission?'
    I said, 'huh?'
    She said, 'Did someone come up to you and say, make this for me? Did someone order that specifically?'
    I said, 'no'.
    She kind of turned, she looked disappointed. She said, 'I thought that would explain it.'"
    Leak isn't disheartened. Several onlookers have stopped to talk with Leak, encouraging him to go on.
    Page 2 of 2 - "I think there are a number of people that plan their walk or jogging route to come by here and take a look," said Leak.
    Although Larry the Wizard and Leak have enjoyed their time together, for the right price, Larry will be getting a new home.
    That's if he can figure out a way to move him. A tree trimming company donated the cedar trunk. It took a tractor to prop up Larry.
    Leak jokingly gives one piece of advice to anyone thinking about picking up a chainsaw.
    "Be careful what you make. You might be stuck with it."
      • calendar