Martin’s outdoor studio.
A chic with her chainsaw.
BY KATIE MATTESON
Meet Sherry Lou Martin, chainsaw artist. She’s the one decked out in pink, including her chainsaws. Her business: Chics with Chainsaws.
“Sawdust is my glitter,” she said over the din of the chainsaw motor during a recent visit to her outdoor studio in Caledonia, located at the edge of a secret forest that she and her grandchildren made.
The 56-year-old artist says she’s inspired by nature and her faith.
“I enjoy capturing glimpses of God’s Creativity with my chainsaws and tools. As I make each piece of art, God inspires me to see His Glorious hand in every detail. My aim is to bring Him glory in all that I do.”
Martin describes her work as “turning trees into art.” She started with pumpkins and snowmen, while her most recent project is a 10-foot eagle sculpture atop a nine-foot base.
The daughter of artists, Martin grew up in Union Grove with a 40-acre playground of woods, ponds, mushrooms and Great Blue Herons.
She learned how to carve from her dad and over the years developed her skills in fine carving.
But it was a trip to the Northwoods that introduced her to chainsaw carving. Although it scared her at first, she saw the demand for chainsaw carving and was motivated to learn a new skill.
“My son-in-law Adam taught me how to safely use chainsaws and my first project was a really ugly heron,” Martin laughed. “As I blended in my fine carving skills, my chainsaw carving improved.”
The pink part came about when a group of carvers from the River Bend Carving Club were asked to do demonstrations for the first Party on the Pavement downtown 16 years ago.
“Nobody wanted to do it, so I asked ‘does a chick have to do this?’” Martin recalled. “So to raz the members, I bought a blue mechanics coveralls, airbrushed ‘Chix with Chainsaw’ on the back and accessorized the outfit with pink and girl power bling.”
The exposure she received from the event, in addition to providing a business name and color theme, contributed to what has evolved into a full time career for Martin.
Her husband, Thom, who’s a wood burner, helps out with moving the big logs and provides support at the shows.
They were both founding members of the River Bend Carvers Club and will once again participate in the 6th Annual Saw & Sip chainsaw carving and and art fair at River Bend Nature Center on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 6-7 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The fundraiser includes chainsaw carving and live auction, along with beer and wine tasting, several food trucks, a nature art market, silent auction, children’s activities, raffles, archery, plus canoe and kayak rentals.
It’s one of only two annual shows that Martin maintains, since she’s become so busy with commission work.
The other event takes place at the Caledonia Historical Village during the first weekend of December called Come to the Cabin, a Unique Christmas Boutique. She started the event five years ago to help raise money for the Caledonia Historical Society.
She transforms the log cabin in the historical village into a boutique of her surplus products and donates a portion of the proceeds to the society. Society members also hold a bake sale in the old town hall and sell homemade quilts in the depot. The grounds are decorated for Christmas, including a live nativity.
Her work is also for sale at select retail locations, such as Klema Feed Mill in Franksville, Lighthouse Gallery & Gifts in Racine, Lulu Birds in Kenosha and Midwest Reclaim and Barn Wood in Mukwonago.
For commissioned pieces, contact Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit sherrylouart.com.