For those of you looking for a unique way to add a personal touch to your Katahdin Cedar Log home, you may want to consider adding wood carvings to entry areas, stairs or porch areas. One carver has developed her talents in the panhandle region of Maryland, where she’s carved whimsical wildlife sculptures in a number of Katahdin Cedar Log Homes.
When Shelly Upole of Oakland, Md., decided to learn how to sculpt her woodland “critters” with a power saw, her husband came back to the house with a load of firewood for her to practice with. Using this ready supply of practice materials, Shelly learned the dos and don’ts of operating a saw from her husband. She had a good sense of animal anatomy from her brief time as a taxidermist and was just starting to get the hang of it, when her breast cancer diagnosis was made.
She had to take a break from her carving while she underwent treatment, but she was hooked on carving and couldn’t wait to get back to her sculptures. “It was a great way to rehabilitate from the therapy, both mentally and physically,” she said. “My carving and the Lord helped me through my trial.”
She meets up with other carvers at the Chainsaw Rendezvous in Ridgway, Pa., each year, where she carves alongside artists from all over the world and is known by the moniker of Chainsaw Grannie. “When I first saw the chainsaw carvings, I was so intrigued, but I had a hard time getting a technique going,” she said. So she videotaped one artist and documented each cut of the saw as she practiced. Shelly learned that there are 12 major cuts needed to make a bear. “All of a sudden, I got it!” she said.
She started taking her skills inside: into several Katahdin Cedar Log Homes built in her area by Cabin Run Contracting in Romney, W.V. She would first meet with the owners to sketch out their ideas and discuss what they’d like to have created. She does the carvings in the home once the wood section she plans to carve is in place and the interior finishing is being done. “I’ll crank up my saw and say ‘Stand back, boys!’” she chuckled while the finish carpenters give her some space to work. “I just love seeing my critters in people’s homes, and I’ve enjoyed the friendships that have developed as well.”
Her creations certainly add a unique and special look to the homes where she’s carved. To learn more about the Ridgway Chainsaw Rendezvous, where these craftsmen gather together, visit their website.