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Cheyenne residents find a creative way to preserve their memories

Published: Jun. 9, 2021 at 3:41 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 9, 2021 at 3:43 PM CDT
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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - A couple Cheyenne residents have had elm trees on their property for many years that the previous owners had planted. Unfortunately in the last two years, their last elm tree died. The elm trees meant so much to them and the property’s history, they wanted to use the last tree as a tribute to the former property owners and their own family. To help with the project, they called “Chainsaw Mama.”

“She showed me a picture of a bear that she really liked that she’s been following in the Tetons. So a mama grizzly with four babies, which is pretty unusual, and just by her showing me that picture totally changed the look of this bear, compared to a lot of the ones I’ve done,” said Faye Braaten, also known as, “Chainsaw Mama.”

Braaten has been carving sculptures for 21 years and loves every minute of it. She uses a handful of chainsaws to get the jobs done and the majority of projects she works on have a story behind them.

The finished sculpture will have a bear, owl and two wolves carved into it. The owl represents the homeowner, Cathy’s, love for owls, which she used to collect and a few even used to hang on the Elm Trees in the yard. Cathy’s late brother loved to draw wolves and was also a carver. The wolves on the sculpture will be a tribute to him.

“That’s one of the things that’s so rewarding, I’m not out carving for myself, I’m out carving to create something that tells their story basically, and they all have a reason why they’re picking the subject, or a reason why they’re having that tree carved.”

Braaten said some of her favorite projects include bears and eagles, but she’s always up for a new challenge when it comes to carving. Many in the neighborhood have already driven by to admire and thank Braaten for her work.

For more information on Chainsaw Mama, you can find her website here and Facebook here.

The final product of Chainsaw Mama's sculpture in Cheyenne on Wednesday.
The final product of Chainsaw Mama's sculpture in Cheyenne on Wednesday.(Keith Yosten)

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