Visitors may be feeling the urge to ‘shush’ when they walk by the Hope Arts Gallery.
A wood carving has been installed on a concrete stand outside the building. People who’ve seen it call it the ‘Shush.’ Created at the 2021 Hope Wood Carving Festival by artist Jesse Toso, it is around nine feet tall with a whimsical face sitting atop a hand. A fingertip, with red fingernail paint, reaches up to the mouth, which is also painted red, as if telling viewers to keep it quiet.
A bee is perched on the back of the wooden woman’s head. Nobody who’s seen the carving quite knows what it all means, but they all like it, which is why Peter and Bev Scherle thought it would be a good fit in its new spot. The couple bought the statue from Hope Communities in Bloom and donated it to the Hope Arts Gallery.
Peter Scherle didn’t want to say what they paid, but he said they were happy to ‘give back’ to their community.
“We fell in love with this carving, and after the renovations around this gallery, which I belong to, I asked (Communities in Bloom president Victor (Smith), ‘Whatever happened to the Shush lady?’” he said. “He confirmed they still had it and I asked him if they’d consider selling it if I gifted it to the gallery.
“So it turned out to be a win-win situation where the carving stays in Hope and Communities in Bloom gets the financial donation. It is unique and quite artsy and I think it complements the gallery.”
As with all of Hope’s wood carvings, Communities in Bloom will be involved in making sure ‘Shush’ endures through sun, rain, wind and snow.
The statue will need a little work right away to fill in some cracks near the base.
Starting Aug. 6 on the Knowledge Network, locals can see its creator at work. Toso has been chosen to appear on Discovery Channel’s ‘A Cut Above.’
According to the show’s website, A Cut Above “puts 12 of the best chainsaw carvers from across the world to the ultimate test of creativity, strength, and skills, as they turn ordinary logs into extraordinary works of art.”
The show is hosted by Golden Globe nominee Adam Beach and will see Toso and others testing themselves in ‘Quick’ and ‘Master Carve’ challenges, trying to avoid weekly eliminations.
The last carver standing wins a cash prize, and Smith believes Toso should have an excellent chance.
“He’s an amazing carver,” he said. “You watch him and he’s so laid back like anybody can do, but no, not just anybody can do it.”