Talented Ayrshire chainsaw artist shares unique skills honed during menopause in BBC programme Landward

An Ayrshire chainsaw artist has shared her craft with thousands of television viewers in a BBC programme.

Sheila Laferla, from Pinmore in South Ayrshire, featured on BBC’s Landward during a special programme all about trees.

The 53-year-old, who creates bespoke animal pieces including foxes, squirrels and owls out of wooden logs, appeared in episode four of the series, which centres around Scotland’s farming and countryside.

Sheila starts off with a log of wood before chopping away pieces using a chainsaw to make the shape of her subject.

Blow-torched shading and patterns, glued-on teddy bear eyes and a brush of oil give the sculpture its finishing touches, bringing it to life.

The grandmother-of-one first took up the unusual hobby aged 46 when she was going through menopause and experienced a bout of anxiety.

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Sheila talking to the BBC’s JJ Chalmers
Sheila talking to the BBC’s JJ Chalmers

She told the BBC’s JJ Chalmers: “The chainsaw took me away from that, it helped me through the changes in the my life.

“I can’t tell you how much it did for me.”

Sheila with one of the many pooches she has crafted
Sheila with one of the many pooches she has crafted

Sheila, who is originally from Lancashire, was gifted a chainsaw for Christmas eight years ago from partner Jamie, igniting her love for chainsaw artistry.

She told Ayrshire Live: “I’ve always been around chainsaws but never used one.

“Then Jamie got me this chainsaw for Christmas and he made sure I was all safetied up, and I just fell in love with it.

“I’ve always painted and drawn, so it was kind of a progression from that.”

Sheila admitted it was ‘surreal’ seeing herself on TV.

“I’ll be honest – my first reaction was, ‘no, I do not want to go on television’,” she said. “I had to talk myself into doing it and my family had to as well.

“But I’m glad I did it. It was surreal seeing myself on television. My family are my biggest fans and we all sat down together and watched it.”

Sheila, whose biggest sculpture so far is a 3ft by 4ft flying dragon, sells some of her handmade pieces twice a year at craft fairs, but generally likes to keep the business side ‘low key’.

“I don’t want it to be turned into a production line because then I’d lose that love that I have for it,” she added.

You can watch Sheila in action on catch up on BBC iPlayer.

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