Artists win national woodworking contest

Mark Staples, Star Prairie, won a white ribbon in woodworking from Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum’s “National Exhibition of Folk Art in the Norwegian Tradition.”

Also, David Fowler, New Richmond, won an honorable mention award in woodworking in the contest.

The exhibition was held July 18-25 in conjunction with Decorah, Iowa’s Nordic Fest.

Staples won his ribbon with a cherry ale bowl.

Fowler won the award with a carved figure, “Hobo.”

The exhibition also includes rosemaling (Norwegian decorative painting), weaving in the Norwegian tradition and Norwegian-style knifemaking.

Some of the best practitioners of these traditional arts enter the exhibition, which attracts national attention.

Each year, judges award blue, red and white ribbons representing points that accumulate over successive exhibitions toward a gold medal.

Judges also present honorable mention awards. Gold medalists do not compete for ribbons, but they may submit pieces to be judged for the “Best of Show” award.

Vesterheim uses the story of Norwegian Americans to explore aspects of identity and culture common to everyone. The museum cares for more than 24,000 artifacts, among which are some of the most outstanding examples of decorative and folk art to be seen in this country.

Founded in 1877, Vesterheim is the oldest and most comprehensive museum in the United States dedicated to a single immigrant group. This national treasure includes a main complex of 16 historic buildings in downtown Decorah, and an immigrant farmstead and prairie church just outside the city.

From May 1-Oct. 31, Vesterheim is open daily, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., with hours extended until 8 p.m. on Thursdays. From Nov. 1-April 30, Vesterheim is open Tuesday through Sunday 10 a.m.-4 p.m., with hours extended until 8 p.m. on Thursdays and is closed Monday. For more information on the museum’s exhibits, activities, and membership opportunities, consult Vesterheim’s Web site at, call 563-382-9681, or write to Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum, 523 W. Water St., P.O. Box 379, Decorah, IA, 52101-0379.


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The Norwegian American

The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.