Box with chip carving © 1996 Norm Seamonson Box with chip carving © 1996 Norm Seamonson

Gold Medal In: Woodworking, 1996

  • Life Dates Born 1919, Stoughton, Wisconsin. Died 2010
  • Occupation Retired carpenter
  • Residence at Time of Award Stoughton, Wisconsin

Ribbons

  • 1995 Red ribbon for a mangle board
  • 1996 Blue ribbon for a mangle board with chip-carving
  • 1996 Red ribbon for a mangle board with chip-carving
  • 1996 White ribbon for a box with chip carving

Artist Statement

I never thought of myself as an artist. However, Dr. Marion Nelson wanted to put a photo of my mangle bard in his book and, besides that one, I sold all that I made. I always sent them off, telling the buyers if they were not satisfied, they could send them back. No one did.

In the winter carving was a good pastime. I was always good with the knife and did a lot of whittling throughout my youth. After I retired from the family farm business, I took up woodworking and visited other woodworkers to see what techniques they used. Living in Stoughton, Wis., I got to know a lot of the rosemalers, such as Violet Thode, Ethel Kvalheim, and Nancy Morgan. They were taught by Per Lysne and asked me to make wood pieces for them to paint on.

When I began to carve in the chip style, I had to learn all over again. I would carve a little bit at a time, afraid of making an error. The one in Nelson’s book just about drove me to the nuthouse. I would go to the Vesterheim and Mt. Horeb museums to see how the Norwegians did it. You had to pretty much do it by yourself, because most of the old Norwegians didn’t want to do that anymore or have any part of it. I would ask how it was done and they said, “that was long ago.” This was the only answer I would get from them. I am pretty much self-taught.

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