Most people don’t just pick up chainsaw carving. But that’s exactly what Michael Carr did. When he was working making props for film and television, he picked up a chainsaw on a whim.
“It wound up being quicker and faster to cut up the Styrofoam. And I sort of built it from there.”
Chainsaw carving has always called Michael’s name. It was a whisper in the beginning, but now it’s a roar. At first, carving was just a way to pay off speeding tickets so he wouldn’t have to tell his parents. He never considered that he could make a living at it.
When the prop-building industry slowed down, he moved onto healthcare but was eventually laid off.
While looking for another job, Michael started doing chainsaw carvings to cover his bills. Demand picked up enough that he thought he might just be able to make a living with this skill set. That’s when Michael took the leap to the Self Employment program at Momentum.
Michael is finally able to do something he likes and make a living doing it by running his chainsaw carving small business. And his life seems to have been pointing to this for a long time.
When he was in healthcare, Michael struggled with heartburn. His doctor kept telling him nothing was wrong with him. “Since I got laid off, when I started Momentum and started getting going with this, I haven’t had heartburn.” His doctor thinks it was stress related, to which Michael replied that he’s pretty stressed out now. But in a good way.
“Yeah, it’s like buying a house stress instead of losing a house stress,” his doctor said.
Michael’s business started strong, then he’s had a major early setback—working with a grinder a month ago, it slipped and went through three of his fingers. He lost 90% of the tendons in those fingers and is just now getting the feeling back in his hand. Before Momentum, an injury like that would have caused him to give up.
“I have had to come up with ways to still move forward. I realized that my hand is only a small limitation, there is more to it. Whereas before I would be like, I don’t know if I can do this. What am I going to do?”
Michael is so busy now that he only had a half hour for a phone interview. He’s doing commissions, he’s working a contract for Screamfest, and he’s exploring more opportunities. And now Michael has the tools to do it.
“I feel really optimistic. This opened the door for me. I feel like I’ll be busy all winter whereas before I would be poring over my bills to see how I could get through the winter. It has set me free.”
That’s a pretty amazing perspective coming from a chainsaw carver who just a few weeks ago, nearly lost his hand.