Dickinson – Just an oyster shell throw from Galveston Bay, you’ll find a palapa palace known for putting together a tropical feeling for folk’s backyard landscapes. With the sound of a chainsaw churning out it’s daily duties a constant around here, you’d be surprised to see that on most days, it’s not palm trees or bamboo being cut.
“I mostly use cedar because it’s a softer wood and it has like a fine sand sawdust to it and you can get a lot of detail out of it,” stated Della Meredith, a chainsaw artist with a love for art that a cut above the rest..
Della is usually in pinch to get orders put out for customers who really like carved art. “I’m from the woods, I love carving. Well, I’m from Tarkington Prairie so it’s pretty much in the woods,” joked Della.
This mother of 4 has always been enamored by art. She majored in it, she taught it and now she creates it. “I’ve just always had a passion for art since I was a little kid, I love to draw and paint. And my mother’s an artist and my grandmother was an artist… Well, I did wood shop in college and metal smithing, so I had the shop backgrounds, but we didn’t use chainsaws,” explained Della.
Originally a painter of murals, it dawned on Della that she wanted to create some three-dimensional designs. “I feel like I learned it pretty fast. I watched a couple of videos on YouTube,” stated Della.
Now there was a learning curve to using a chainsaw. It’s sort of like working with a stubborn mule, you never know when it’s going to kickback. “You just like hit the wrong spot and it’ll fly at you,” said Della.
Being so close to the coast, the most carved items include things you’d find close to the bay. “This community is a big fishing community, we’re out by the coast so I get a lot of orders for pelicans and fish of different types and fishing rod racks, tikis, just the beach type stuff. People order the same thing over and over so I’ve been making a lot of flamingos lately and pelicans, and that gets a little bit redundant, but it’s still fun,” said Della.
From superheroes to superstar athletes, there’s not much Della can’t do and that includes making some magnificent pieces of art made out of hurricane damaged trees. “Art is not perfect so just try to make it the best that I can. Whenever you get out there and hustle and you have that drive, you just keep pushing forward and keep moving forward. And I just get a little bit of success and then it would just keep going and keep going and it’s like that now too. I mean, I have a lot of orders, but I know like I could still grow more too and I’m working on that,” explained Della.
It turns out that taking some off the top of the timber is more than just an income for Della, it’s an escape for her and for those who appreciate her art.“I love making art every day. It makes me happy and other people say it makes them happy, which I didn’t anticipate going into this, that’s just like a bonus for me like that they’re like, ‘Oh, we love looking at your work.’ It’s exciting to see everything. So I enjoy that part of it,” expressed Della.
So drive on down to Dickinson to get down with Della as just chisels out here coastal creations while carving out a unique stop on The Texas Bucket List. “It makes people happy and when people are making art, they get into this space that is, it’s really a good place to be and it’s good to see and it makes the world a better place, I feel like,” said Della.