Tonawanda News — Before you see Sara Winter creating her artwork ... you hear it. And you smell it.
The roar of a chainsaw. The scent of sawdust.
Working Wednesday on the lawn of Tonawanda’s Long Homestead, Winter used chainsaws to chip and carve away chunks and shreds of wood from a section of log. Slowly, it took shape ... a muzzle. Two cupped ears. Two chubby paws, and a pair of quizzical eyebrows.
When she finished, a somewhat-grumpy-looking bear peered from the log, looking as if he’d entered in search of honey and just couldn’t get back out. A little burning with a blowtorch for color, two beady black eyes, and the sculpture was done.
The entire process took only about 30 minutes.
While the Masters of the Chainsaw have been a nearly annual event at Canal Fest, for Winter, a resident of the Adirondacks, this is her first appearance. A member of the Chainsaw Chix carving group, she’s been carving for about six years and part of the group for about five.
“I saw someone doing it at a fair,” she said of chainsaw carving. “I was intrigued; I’d never seen it before, and I figured I’d give it a shot.”
Winter had no artistic background at the time, but with practice, picked up the knack, and now carves full time.
“I personally had a lot of trial and error, a lot of trying to understand the chainsaw,” she said. “When you hold it differently, turning it produces a different cut. That was a challenge.”
In addition to the newly carved bear, other sculptures were on display at the carving space at the Long Homestead, 24 E. Niagara St., including an owl, sea turtle (riding a wave), dog, wolf, cardinal and even a carved bottle of wine and wine glass. That’s another challenge, Winter said -- trying to figure out what any given log should become.