Instructor Bios


Instructors ...

** If you are interested in being an instructor for a future Carv-Fest:

Barb Bruns (Minnesota) - loves the challenge of a blank canvas. Although landscapes are her painting of choice, she has also done portriats, buildings, animals and a abstract here and there. Barb enjoyed painting in high school but "forgot" she could paint when she joined the army. About 12 years ago, she was reminded of this passion and started drawing, then dove right into oils and pastels. Recently she has done classes with acrylics. Barb owns Barb's Custom Framing in Morristown where she has over 27 local artists on display in the showroom.  

Leah Goddard (Florida) - Leah lives in Sarasota Florida and is a professional artist, author, and teacher. She has contributed to both Woodcarving illustrated and Chip Chats magazines, and has authored her own book "Carving Nature's Rascals" Leah has taught wood carving for over ten years.  

Karen Henderson (Minnesota) - Karen  is from St. Francis, Minnesota and has been carving since 1998. She  carves and teaches a variety of different things.  One of them is  treenware – useable serving and eating utensils.

Chris Howard (Tennessee) - Chris has worked in the movie industry and travels throughout the US teaching his art. He has taken many ribbons in competition including: 2007 International Carving Congress-2nd Realistic Painted Bust 2007 Artistry in Wood Dayton,Ohio -Special Award, 1st and 2nd, Deacon Don and Shirley Deitz Religious Award, 1st Realistic Bust 2008 International Carving Congress-3rd Realistic Painted Bust, 1st in Class and 2nd best of Group in 2 or more subjects, 1st in Class and Best of Group in found wood Artistry in Wood Dayton,Ohio IST in Class 2nd Best of Group in 2 or more subjects. Best of show in Excellence Florida Winter National Wood Art and Expo. Chris was featured on the DIY Network's "Wood Sculpting" TV series.

Karen Hundt-Brown (Michigan) - Karen grew up in southern Michigan on a working farm where she learned many different kinds of arts and crafts through her involvement in 4-H and her love of animals. She married and moved to Alaska Michigan and started a garden where she grew gourds her first year. When the fall came around and she found 50 gourds under all the dead vines in the garden she had no idea what to do with them and went to the library to find out more about them. After cleaning her gourds she made her first bowl and was hooked after that. She found gourds to be the one medium that would allow her to use many of the techniques she’d learned over the years with an endless verity of sizes and shapes to work with.. She still competes in several gourd shows each year as well as wood carving shows where she enters her gourd art. She’s then started teaching classes in 2003 at Midwest gourd shows and out of her home. 

She enjoys the challenge of competition but finds teaching others the joys of gourd art far more rewarding now. She also teaches at wood carving events where her pyrography skills are highly sought after. Her work has been published in Beyond Basics (advanced gourd art) by Sterling Publishing and Creative Embellishments for Gourd Art by Marianne Barnes. 

Bill Jaeger (Minnesota) - Bill has  been carving in the Scandinavian style since 1992. He teaches regularly  at the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis. Bill won the 2009  Gold Medal for wood carving at the Vesterheim Museum in Decorah, Iowa.

Iner Joelson (Iowa) - I started carving in 2007 by stopping at a Carving Shop to look around.  Before I left, I ended up buying a book on relief carving and two gouges. I went home and started butchering wood in the basement.  Eventually I returned to Tim’s shop and bought another tool and then another book.  A couple of years later I attended my first class, at Waldorf College, caricature carving with Lloyd Meng.  I about cut the head off my first sailor carving.  I really wasn’t sure caricatures were going to be my cup of tea.  Later that summer I attended Carve-Fest for the first time.  Taking my first class on Wood Spirits with Loren Woodard, I was hooked.  Since then I have taken numerous workshop classes covering a variety of styles from some amazingly talented artist. If I were to describe my style of carving, I would say it is fun.  I enjoy the jeweling of the flat plane Scandinavian style and look of gouge work.  In truth I am not sure what my style of carving would be called but fun and evolving.   

Marv Kaisersatt (Minnesota) - Marv is one of the most sought-after instructors in the Nation. National award winner and CCA member. WATCH a video of Marv - CLICK HERE!

Bob Lawrence (North Dakota) - Regular instructor at Carv-Fest, specializes in animals, western art ... excellent instructor.

Marty Leenhouts (Minnesota) - I first  learned to chip carve over 20 years ago and haven't put my knife down  since. The beauty and wonder that first drew me into this style of  carving still pulls on me today. It is my desire to pass on the joy of  chip carving to as many other people as possible. I promise to provide  my students and customers with personal instruction, excellent customer  service, and a wide range of top quality products for wood carving.

Mart Lind (Minnesota/Texas)  - Mart began carving over 50 years ago and specializes in realistic faces  and figures. He teaches his students one-on-one and as a former school  teacher, he is always looking to maximize student improvement and  development. He teaches throughout the Midwest, Minnesota, Michigan and  Texas. Be creative, have fun and carve with Mart!

Brenda Lodermeier (minnesota) - Brenda  has been carving & working with pyrography for the past 6 years.  She is an active member of the Central MN Woodcarvers Association and  Show Chair for the 2015 Beneath the Bark Wood carvers, Wood turners  & Wood workers in the St. Cloud, MN area. Her interests are  pyrography, carving in the round, low relief, intaglio & working  with gourds. If you are a beginner or advanced pyrography student this  is the class for you.

Floyd Rhadigan (Michigan) - Proud  member of the CCA and teaches caricature carving throughout the  country. A carv-fest favorite ... over 70 caricature projects to choose  from. Visit for more. Visit Floyd's web site - CLICK HERE!

Steve Russell (Iowa) - Steve has been carving since 2009. He has won numerous awards and has published a number of articles. One of his greatest achievements has been a commission for Executive Interiors of Fresno, California to design and carve (8) 8’ 6” giraffes for the Fresno Chaffee Zoo’s new African Adventure exhibition in 2015. Here is a link to watch Steve carve one of the giraffes - Steve enjoys teaching people how to carve. He is a member of the Northeast Iowa Woodcarvers Association (past president) and the Cedar Valley Woodcarvers Club.

Dennis Schuster (Minnesota) - Past-President  of the Viking Woodcarving Club ..... Denny has perfected his art and  now has been sharing it with students. Beautiful bark houses with detail  that you've never seen before. Full of information and ready to help.

Russ Scott (Minnesota) - Local  instructor that has a great easy-going style. Wonderful Santa carvings!   Russ sells his work at Visit Russ' web site  - CLICK HERE!

David Sharp (Tennessee) - I've  been carving since 2006 and started teaching  in 2009. I compete in  many competitions including Smokey Mountains, Huntsville Al, Charlotte  NC, and Dayton's Artistry in Wood. I've took first place in all  competitions. My style of teaching realistic animals is for power  carving and working from a blank not a roughout. You learn how to carve  using pictures and proportions. Animals are a fun and exciting project  from beginner to advanced skill level. I've been teaching in Wetumpka  Al, Smokey mountain school of woodcarving,  and will be in Midland MI in  May 2016. Hope to see you in a class.

Lisa Truax (Minnesota) - Lisa  Truax is an Assistant Professor of Art and Design at Saint Mary's  University of Minnesota, where she teaches ceramics, sculpture, drawing,  foundations, and web design. She has an MFA in ceramics from Michigan  State University and a BA from Carthage College in Studio Art and  Graphic Design. She currently lives in Pickwick, Minnesota and maintains  a studio there.

Curt  Hutchens (Minnesota) -  President of the Central MN Woodcarvers. Carving  and teaching since 2005. Enjoys animals, birds, reptiles. He teaches in  several clubs in florida and Minnesota. 

Art Manders (Minnesota) - I  am Art Manders and have been wood carving-related finishing for 35  years. Enjoy nearly all types of carving, belong to the LAWC and  Affiliated Woodcarvers,Sears, Engler, Sondom, Refsal, Jahn, Lusk, Schmitgen's, and others. I have  won various regional awards including the Minnesota sesquicentennial  1st place award for handcrafts. Also have taken instruction-classes from  Enlow, The  last 10 years have carved-finished dozens of Dala animals from 1" to  36" high. I have done 15 commissions and special orders, and beside  gifts, do sell  on line (Etsy) and in a few galleries.

Loren Woodard: (Missouri)  lives  at the Lake of the Ozarks and enjoys a variety of different styles of  carving. Loren started carving in October 1991. His wife purchased his  first set of carving tools and enrolled him in a class for his birthday.  Loren carves many different styles but realistic Native American and  caricature are two of his favorites. Loren can be found carving at the  Valley Road Woodcarving shop at Silver Dollar City, Missouri about 20  days a year. In addition to his carving, Loren teaches carving seminars.  He teaches at Silver Dollar City, Carv-Fest, and various clubs in the  Mid-West. Loren still works full time so he does not get the opportunity  to teach as many carving venues as he would like. Loren especially  enjoys teaching beginning wood carvers. He has taught beginning carving  at the local Vo-Tech school for the last 6 years with help from fellow  club members. Loren is a member of Carving Magazine’s Editor’s Panel and  has been since the panel was formed. Loren is the moderator of the  panels chat site. By being affiliated with the panel, Loren has met many  great carvers that he likes to call friends. You can contact Loren at  573-374-6603 or drop him an email at  

Past Instructors ------


Fred & Elaine Stenman (Minnesota) - Returning  favorites ... carve beautiful reliefs that utilize both woodburning and  shallow relief. View their web site Cover  artist for Carving Magazine Issue #22.

Marty Dolphens: (Nebraska) Marty  discovered woodcarving over 30 years ago. He has been teaching his art  form for 25 years through weekly classes in the Omaha area, where he  lives with his wife and family. He has taught workshops in the Midwest,  as well as Canada. Marty enjoys judging woodcarving competitions and  promoting the art of carving. For more information go to his website or contact him at

Tony Erickson: (South Carolina) Well-travelled carving instructor and columnist for Carving Magazine. WATCH a video of Tony -CLICK HERE! Visit Tony's web site - CLICK HERE! 

Don Fischer: (Minnesota) Don Fischer grew up in rural Southwestern Minnesota, and now resides in Cottonwood, MN.  He started woodcarving just over  20 years ago, carving mostly human figures and whimsicals.  One of his  specialties is carving caricatures of real people on a commission  basis.  Don has been instructing woodcarving to classes and individuals  in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota during the past 12 years.   Recently retired he now has more time for carving and instructing.

Jon Nelson (Colorado) Jon  is a nationally known carver/instructor hailing from beautiful Colorado  Springs, CO.  He has been teaching seminars across the U.S. for more  than twenty years. Students will choose from approximately 40 of Jon's  Roughouts. They include Cowboys, mountain men, Santas, gnomes, snowmen,  bears, etc. Examples  may be seen    

Bob Ristow: (Iowa) Bob’s interest in Shaker Oval Boxes began with a visit to the Canterbury Shaker Village in New Hampshire.  To advance his knowledge in box making he attended several classes taught by John Wilson at the Home Shop in Charlotte, Michigan to learn the procedures in making these boxes.  Since then Bob has demonstrated these procedures at several woodcarving clubs in Iowa and Minnesota, and has taught several class at the Fine Woodworkers Store in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Waldorf Woodcarving Weekend at Forest City, Iowa and at the Woodcarvers Rendezvous at West Glacier, Montana, North House Folk School Grand Marais, MN, Shake Rag Alley, Mineral Point, WI and Villages Folk School Bonaparte, IA.  Bob, is also experimenting with different woods, shapes and sizes to make these boxes.  Bob’s other interests are woodcarving, woodturning, winemaking and fiber arts

Alice Spadgenske: (Minnesota)  Teaches students throughout the Midwest, beautiful painted relief  carvings. A regular at carv-fest, organizes November carving workshop in  Blaine, MN each year.      

Greg Wirtz: (Wisconsin) Specializes  in Intaglio style relief, teaches throughout Midwest, perennial award  winner at Woodcarver's Congress. Appeared in Carving Magazine issue #36.   

Dick Zawacki: (Minnesota) Dick  lives in Northfield, MN and has taught classes locally for a number of  years. He is a regular at Minnesota carving shows and is always willing  to share his talents. Easy-going and very organized you will enjoy  carving with Dick, he has a way of getting through to his students and  helping them understand all aspects.       

Steve Brown (Kentucky) Steve,  a native of Madisonville, KY, began carving in 1977. Specializing in  caricature carving, he has won numerous national and international  awards. Steve is fast becoming one of America’s most respected carvers.  Although, best known for his caricatures, he is equally talented at  carving realistic figures. Steve offers private lessons, conducts  several seminars annually and is the author of Carving Pen Figures and  Carving Figural Kaleidoscope. Steve is a recent addition to the  Caricature Carvers of America. Visit 

Nancy Dardis: (Minnesota) Nancy does commission woodburning pieces  for clients throughout the US. She specializes in wildlife, animals,  eagles, hawks. Excellent instructor and well-organized classes .. you'll  have a lot of fun!  

Joe Dillett: (Illinois) Carving Magazine columnist, professional carver. Taught classes in Chicago area for years. WATCH a video of Joe - CLICK HERE! Visit Joe's web site - CLICK HERE! 

Everett Ellenwood (Minnesota) I'm  Everett Ellenwood, an award winning carver who specializes in carving  realistic human faces. A number of my carvings have won "Best of Show"  awards and many have been published in "Chip Chats" carving magazine.  I've been a woodcarver for over 30 years and for the past 20 plus years  I've taught all levels of carving from beginners to advanced in  Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, North Dakota, Arizona, Florida, Missouri and  Arkansas. For a number of years I also did commission carving and  restoration carving. I have items throughout the United States and some  foreign countries. For 17 years I was an independent distributor of  carving supplies and "pre-sharpened" carving tools. Over my many years  of carving, teaching and selling pre-sharpened carving tools, I  perfected a unique, easy to learn, sharpening technique which I've  taught to hundreds of carvers with excellent response. My sharpening  technique was so well received that my students kept telling me to make a  video on sharpening. The video is called "Sharpening Simplified", and  with it you can be my next student. By popular demand, I now have a new  Book and DVD entitled "Beginning Woodcarving .... sold nation-wide. ." Visit 

Desiree Hajny: (Nebraska) Desi  is the author of 6 woodcarving books and contributor to 7 magazines and  a contributing editor to several periodicals in the US and abroad. She  is well-known for her realistic animals.  

Gen Jansen: (Minnesota). Author of 6 books on carving and and is a regular columnist for Carving Magazine. WATCH a video of Gen-CLICK HERE! 

Tami (Oachs) Resler: (Fariabult) Tami  is a local artist that loves to create. She has taught several  workshops at carv-fest including: batik, paper crafts, and clay  modeling.  

Sandy Wirtz: (Wisconsin) Basket making guru that has taught classes throughout the Midwest. Very popular, hands on workshops.          

Mary Weinheimer: (Florida) Fun-loving,  easy-going and a blast to carve with. Mary is an expert with beginners  and intermediate carvers helping them discover this wonderful world. She  also has many, many project for all level carvers. Many hints and  techniques to share.      

Other Past Instructors: Vic Hood, Harley Refsal, Keith Anderson, Dave & Sally Nye, Sandie & Ol Don Burgdorf.