STUDIO & GALLERY
Ken's grandparents moved to Madeline Island as young parents and his father was raised on the Island. He first came to the Island as a very young child to visit his grandparents. He has always been excited by the interaction of the many natural and spiritual environments that are found on Madeline Island. Working with wood has been a passion for the men in Ken's family. His grandfather was a carpenter, one of his great-uncles was a furniture maker, and his father was an avid amateur woodworker. He learned an appreciation for the visual arts from his father, who was a cartoonist, graphic artist, oil painter, and watercolorist. He took his first woodcarving class about 30 years ago from “Kam” Kammueller. He has subsequently studied with Chris Thompson, Ivan Whillock, Darold Bailey, Elaine Stenman, and Harley Schmitgen. He is also a self-taught pyrographer (woodburning artist). In 2000 he won first place in the carving category at the Maplewood, Minnesota Rockler Woodworking and Hardware Store’s Annual Woodworking Contest. Ken enjoys sculpting folk art in a large range of sizes with both power and handtools. He also carves custom signs.
Chris comes from an artistic family. Her paternal grandmother was a fiber artist and her grandfather a woodcarver. Both of her parents were talented sketch artists and graphic designers. Both of her sisters are fiber artists and one is also a painter. She began carving around the time her son was born 30 years ago. She was inspired by her Danish immigrant grandparents' stories of trolls and wood spirits, by her grandfather's woodcarvings (he began carving at age 75), and by the love of trees and wood which she gained from working in her family's nursery business. Chris continues to draw on her Danish heritage for inspiration. After carving Scandinavian figures and Santas for 4 years, she began teaching in her home studio in West St. Paul, Minnesota. She found time to develop her carving and teaching into a thriving business and expression of her artistic nature while raising two children. Several of her students have gone on to become woodcarving instructors. She has studied with several Twin Cities woodcarvers as well as nationally recognized carvers Harley Refsal, Tom Wolfe, Harley Schmitgen, Marv Kaissersat, Ivan Whillock, and Darold Bailey. Chris has also studied Scandinavian knife making under several instructors from Sweden and Norway. In 1992 Chris received the honor of being nominated for membership in Caricature Carvers of America. She has also written two books about woodcarving. In 2004 Chris moved to Madeline Island to co-found Island Carvers. The move brought a new dimension to her creative spirit that she still finds exciting.