Chip-Carved Box © 2017 Shawn Sersland Chip-Carved Box © 2017 Shawn Sersland

Gold Medal In: Woodworking, 2017

  • Life Dates Born 1990, Decorah, Iowa
  • Occupation Civil Engineer
  • Residence at Time of Award Ames, Iowa


  • 2015 White ribbon for a chip-carved bread board
  • 2016 Blue ribbon for a chip-carved box
  • 2017 Blue ribbon for a chip-carved box
  • 2017 White ribbon for a chip-carved mirror

Artist Statement

When I was ten years old, I took a figure-carving class for kids taught by Rebecca Hanna and have loved carving since. My mom then taught me kolrosing, and I used to enter pieces into the 4-H exhibition at the county fair. I took quite a few more classes through Vesterheim with my mom, and along the way I became interested in chip carving. For my 24th birthday, a friend and I took a beginner’s chip-carving class taught by Ellen Macdonald. I was hooked immediately.

I love, not only wood carving, but all Norwegian folk arts. They speak to both my Norwegian ancestry and my personal identity. Because my mom works at Vesterheim and does rosemaling, I have spent a good chunk of my childhood at the museum admiring artifacts on display, wandering through the Museum Store, and meeting talented folk artists.

So many people have supported my carving, but the person who has had the greatest impact on my art is my mom, Peggy Sersland. She not only introduced me to woodcarving and other folk arts, but she has also been in the chair/bench/loom right beside me most of the time. Taking classes and learning woodcarving has been a wonderful experience, and sharing that with her just makes it even better.