BURTON - Tucked away in a little display area just off the midway, Shari Staiduhar continues to practice her craft, bringing life to pieces of wood that turn into little wooded creatures, totem poles or 8-foot tall replicas of Bigfoot.
''I'll make anything you want,'' said the Thompson wife and mother who works as a legal assistant for an insurance company by day.
Staiduhar is off from her day job through today, demonstrating the finer points of her wood carving several times a day at the Great Geauga County Fair, the state's oldest fair.
Tribune Chronicle / Christopher Bobby
Shari Staiduhar uses one of her chain saws to start fashioning an owl out of a piece of pine. The Thompson area carver is displaying her techniques throughout the run of the Great Geauga County Fair in Burton.
But the artist doesn't use any streamlined sharpened blades like the folks carving a corncob pipe.
She fires up any of her 36 chain saws, attracting attention from fair visitors with the buzzing of the saws and the wood chips flying when she circles the piece of pine perched up on a bench and ready to become an owl.
''I discovered this way of carving in Colorado, where I own some property. Then I couldn't stop,'' said Staiduhar, shedding her protective chaps and goggles after one of her demonstrations.
She's been yanking on the pull cord and turning out her Rocky Mountain Carving Creations the past 16 years.
''I was afraid of these at first,'' she said, holding up the fuel-driven chain saw. ''I tried a chisel and hammer and that didn't work. It was trial and error until I figured things out.''
Now Staiduhar works anywhere between Cleveland and Columbus and beyond coming up with commissioned requests, including deceased pets and favorite fictional characters.
She's worked on 30-foot high scaffolds to customized trees in people's front yards, calling it more of a challenge to come up with a showpiece that attracts attention rather than the normal removal of a tree that otherwise would be extracted and the stump ground down.
She likes to work with a softer pine that prevents cracking or checking, but she'll work in any wooden medium, giving shade trees a new purpose.
''We'll go anywhere to size up the job,'' said Staiduhar, who has sold her own pieces anywhere from $35 to $10,000.
Some of the pieces for sale at the fair are stained, painted, or colored with a blow torch for special effect.