“Immigrant Couple” carved figure © 2013 James Miller “Immigrant Couple” carved figure © 2013 James Miller

Gold Medal In: Woodworking, 2013

  • Life Dates Born 1996
  • Occupation Student
  • Residence at Time of Award New Richmond, Wisconsin


  • 2011 White ribbon for Viking carved figure
  • 2012 Blue ribbon for “Øylæif the Viking” carved figure
  • 2012 Red ribbon for “Immigrant Couple” carved figure
  • 2013 Blue ribbon for “Rundlyre Player” carved figure
  • 2013 Red ribbon for “Torvald Remembers” carved figure

Artist Statement

There I stood in my father’s workshop, a scrawny fourth grader wielding an old boxcutter and a scrap of rotten wood. A raw childish curiosity pulsed through my psyche, so I roughly chipped the wood to reveal the vague figure of a bearded man. From this, I felt a fresh zephyr of simple invigoration—the joy of woodcarving—for the first time. I straightaway proudly displayed it to my family. Supportive though they were, they could hardly decipher the crude figure’s identity; I did not properly exude my joy, so I continued to create. Woodcarving, the art of separating wood fibers, soon became engrained in my life.

As I continued to carve crude figures, my ever-supportive mother brought me to a local carving group where I met many elderly friends who became vital guides along my journey. My passion grew, so I reserved nearly every book on woodcarving within my state’s library system.

My main carving mentor directed me toward the flat-plane style, which united my carving passion to my fascination with Norwegian history and culture. To further strengthen this bond and my carving skills, I took classes from some infamous professional flat-plane carvers.

After overcoming the learning curve, I started to create figures of my own design, which I used for gifts and as many school projects as possible. I soon began to sell and demonstrate my work at local events. I view these events as my opportunity to pique the public’s interest and inspire others to create.

Never satisfied with my abilities, I have specifically challenged myself through various competitions. My proudest accomplishment, however, is teaching a class of my own.

What began as simple curiosity became a way of life—an insatiable desire to know more, create more, and do more.