2011 Best Carving Design Contest: Junior Category Winner

Best Carving Design Contest Archive

2011 Best Carving Design Contest: Junior Category Winner

People’s Choice and Editor’s Choice

Jimmy Miller of New Richmond, Wis., won both the People's Choice and the Editor's Choice with his Bearded Man.

Jimmy Miller of New Richmond, Wis., won both the People’s Choice and the Editor’s Choice with his Bearded Man.

For the second contest in a row, a carving by 14-year-old Jimmy Miller has earned recognition from the editors. This year, Jimmy earned the People’s Choice award for the junior category as wel for his Bearded Manl.

“As far as I can remember, I was always interested in woodcarving,” Jimmy said. “When I was younger, I enjoyed being in the woods and playing with branches I found. Somewhere along the line, I whittled the bark off the sticks.”

Jimmy loved the look of carvings he saw in various places, and he carved his first piece sometime in fourth or fifth grade. “I found a piece of soft wood at school, and I thought it would be good to carve, so I put it in my pocket and brought it home,” Jimmy explained. “I used a utility knife to basically scrape the wood into what I thought was a bearded man. I had a lot of fun with that, so I found another piece of soft wood in my yard (both pieces were actually just rotten) and I made another human figure with the same knife.”

From there, Jimmy whittled the shape of an owl and a pig. But in February 2008, Jimmy joined a local carving club, started using an actual carving knife, and learned to carve in the Scandinavian flat-plane style. Jimmy admires the work of flat-plane carving guru Harley Refsal and most of the other members of the carving club. For a mentor he looks to Dave Fowler, who taught Jimmy how to paint using acrylic paint thinned with water so the wood grain is visible. “That, combined with painting hundreds of carvings, made me become better at painting,” Jimmy said.

Unlike most technology-addicted kids his age, Jimmy uses his time on the Internet to read about Norway and research ideas for carvings. “I stay interested in woodcarving because of the constant flow of new ideas,” Jimmy said. “Sometimes I’ll see a picture of a troll, a person, or something else and I wonder how it would look as a three-dimensional wooden figure.”

Jimmy’s favorite carving subjects are trolls, gnomes, and Vikings. “There’s something about their big long noses that makes them very fun to carve,” Jimmy explained. “I like to carve anything relating to Scandinavia.”

In his short carving career, Jimmy has moved from using a variety of V-tools and gouges to using just one knife. “I pretty much carve only in the flat-plane style with just a Harley Refsal knife,” Jimmy said.

If this carving is representative of what Jimmy is capable of, we can’t wait to see what he comes up with in the future.

Scroll down to see a gallery of all of the entries in the Junior Carving Category.

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