Source: CVDaily Feed

LOGAN, Utah (AP) — Abigail Berg’s parents always told her not to play with the kitchen knives, but that didn’t stop her from exploring a passion that has shaped her life today: Chainsaw carving.

Berg, 25, frequently got into trouble for stealing her mother’s kitchen knives at the tender age of five years old. She became enthralled by whittling, and enjoyed making little men out of pieces of wood. She also sharpened sticks to make spears and walking sticks.

One day she cut her finger deep with a knife. After her mother took her to the hospital to get stitches, she realized Berg had a passion for whittling and allowed her to continue, as long as she did it with supervision.

“I just loved it,” Berg said.

When she was in high school, Berg transitioned from whittling, using a knife, to chainsaw carving, and bought her first chainsaw from eBay.

Six years ago, she started to do it professionally, and formed a small business, Wild Pine Creations. Among many creations, she has carved wolves, dogs, bears, cowboys, owls and eagles for customers.

Intermittently over the last couple of weeks, she has been carving a 9-foot tall, 6-foot wide American Indian and a 6-foot tall, 8-foot wide bear for a Providence man, Gary Young. Young is an enthusiast of Native American culture who collects carvings, curtain rods and Indian dolls in dedication to his Indian brother’s culture.

Young said he found Berg when he came across an ad she had posted about her chainsaw carvings on Facebook. The two spoke about his desire to have an Indian carving in his front yard, and Berg sent him a couple of sketches.

“I pushed her a lot on this one,” Young said. “I wanted the detail.”

Berg starts off her carvings following a pattern. She has memorized some of them, but with others, she draws a front profile, side profile, and cuts them out to better visualize the final product.

She then uses a big chainsaw to cut chunks out of the tree to help shape the carving. She angles the chainsaw to cut away the unnecessary chunks.

While carving the Indian for Young, she took her big chainsaw and used it to cut the round part of the headdress. She cut a chunk out of the bottom of the tree to shape the legs, cut around the shoulders and down the arms.

After forming the shape of the body, Berg used a smaller chainsaw, metal grinder, die grinder and Dremel to create and smooth the facial and headdress details on the Indian, all of which she said help to carefully formulate the smaller details.

Regarding the grinder, Berg said, “I use it to kind of round everything off, get it down to the shape I want it.”

She then smoothed the rough edges off with the grinder.

With the die grinder, she created more details on the carving. Then, she used a Dremel to do the last details in the smaller cracks.

Lastly, she stained the creation with natural colors.

While Berg worked on the Indian and bear, cars would drive past and slow down to stare at the life-size statues. Neighbors would walk up to Berg and Young and strike a conversation, inquiring about the art.

“I like the reaction of people,” Young said. “I knew we’d get more traffic on the road. I see people roll down the windows and give the thumbs up. People say ‘awesome!’”

Berg, too, loved the reaction of passers-by and channeled it into her work.

“Some people would drive past and yell out the window ‘Love it!’ ‘Awesome’ or ‘amazing!’ It’s like a live Facebook feed or something,” she said.

For Berg, chainsaw carving has not only been a way to express herself, but a way to make other people happy, as she did for Young.

“Probably the most rewarding thing is being able to create something that wasn’t there before,” Berg said. “I really think it’s just creating something that wasn’t there and challenging myself and seeing how far I can go and how close to real I can make it, how much I can be.”