Sighn is a man with a mission. His goal: Carve the words “It’s OK” out of wood 1 million times.

“I would need to do 1,000 a week to do it in 40 years,” says the 30-year-old Chicago-based artist, who does not use his full name.

Since starting the “It’s OK” project in October 2007, Sighn has made just under 5,000 pieces, often staying up late into the night cutting thin slats of wood on his 21-inch DeWalt scroll saw.

Each sculpture is the size of a business card — 2 inches tall by 3-1/2 inches long — and they are made out of a variety of woods, such as walnut, bamboo and basswood. The finished products come either in natural wood or painted in fluorescent colors.

Sighn sells each “It’s OK” sculpture for $20, either in local Chicago art galleries or online at multipolarprojects.com. He donates money to plant one tree through the Arbor Day Foundation for each sculpture purchased.

Sighn says people buy the sculptures for friends and family members who are going through tough times, or they will just buy them for “kitsch” value to have around the house. “They’ll put one on top of their computer at work or one on top of their computer at home,” he says.

A graphic designer by trade, Sighn says he loves the use of words as art, especially when they are carved into wood. His other works include wooden sculptures that say “Long After” cut out of zebrawood and painted gold and red, one that says “With Saw Dust In My Lungs I Give You These Words” carved out of white oak and another sculpture in the shape of a snowflake that says “Fleeting Moments After Fleeting Moments” carved out of aspen.

“A lot of the work that I do has a positive message to it,” he says. “There’s enough negativity going around and I don’t need to add to that.”

Sighn says he finds woodworking meditative and a good way to de-stress from his day job.

“Last June, I did a 24-hour cut-a-thon,” he says. “I really screwed up my back. I had to go through physical therapy for six months, and they were like, ‘What did you do?’”

Still, Sighn says he’s determined to reach his goal of making 1 million woodcarvings.

“Some days I do freak out that I shouldn’t have taken on such a big thing,” he says. “But my wife and anyone who’s close to me knows that I’m dead set on finishing.”

Sighe's sculptures are made from various woods, including walnut, bamboo and basswood.

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