Years of watching led to one woman finding her passion in chainsaw art

Sprouting a new talent: how one chainsaw artist has found her passion

LANE COUNTY, Ore. - The Mckenzie River Chainsaw & Arts Festival is underway.

“This is going to be a bear and then this side will be a wolf,” four-year festival goer, Linda Chavez, says. “My favorite is probably the bear with the little butterfly.”

But this year, she’s not just part of the crowd.

“I watched it one year and it was exciting, and I go, oh, I think I could do that, went home asked my husband if I could have a chainsaw and he gave me his firewood cutting saw, and said if you can handle that saw, I'll buy you a saw,” she says.

Ever since, she’s been hooked.

“She just fell in love with it,” her husband, Robert Chavez, says. “It’s amazing what she can do with a log that started out round, and all of a sudden now it's actually an animal its beautiful.”

Linda is the first woman to ever compete in this festival. She’s carving among men – who she says – have inspired her.

“Linda's been coming out here quite a number of years just watching us,” world-renowned wood carver, Bob King, says.

He’s one of her mentors.

“Looking at some of the stuff she's brought here with her to sell, very new carver, very cool stuff,” he says. “I'm impressed; I think she's going to do really well, she's got a good career ahead of her.”

Carving anything from birds to bears, Linda’s doing what she loves.

“I'm in my own little world, put on my music and just go to town,” she says. “It's neat to see what you create when you get it all done.”

Proceeds from the festival will help revamp the Mckenzie Community Track & Field.

It runs Friday to Sunday.

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