About the Instructor:

Vic Kirkman is a North Carolina artist who works intensely to advance his skills creating realistic ducks. He carves all types of waterfowl, but emphasis is on the realistic decorative decoy carved for competitions held on the East and Gulf Coasts.

Even though Vic has been carving professionally since 1989, he moved up the ranks very rapidly and competes in professional and world class events. He has won numerous Best-in-Shows and always places in top honors at major competitions in the Southeast. Vic has won People‚Äôs Choice Awards been a Featured Carver at several competitions. He has been published in Wildfowl Carving Magazine, N.C. State Magazine and selected for the world famous Decoy Calendar as well. Another exciting year was three-in-a-row Best-In-Show wins at the Core Sound Wildfowl Festival, the East Carolina Wildlife Arts Festival, and the Mid-Atlantic Wildfowl Festival. He has judged most of the major carving competition events in the Southeast and has been a judge of the N.C. Federal Junior Duck Stamp Contest for several years, (a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service sponsored event). Vic also has the honor of displaying and demonstrating in the Village of Yesteryear at the North Carolina State Fair every October. He is an active member of I.W.C.A. (International Wildfowl Carvers Association), the Ward Foundation for 0ver 20 years and was a board member of the East Carolina Wildfowl Guild early in it’s conception. He has won many open class blue ribbons at the Ward World Championships and been a serious contender in “World Pairs” many times. However, Vic does not consider awards and recognition as important as his efforts to teach to all and advance the craft into an art form.

Vic has lived in Raleigh since attending N.C. State University in Ag-Science Zoology. Born in Lumberton, N.C. and raised in a hunting and fishing family, he developed an early interest in the wildlife indigenous to the swamps, rivers and woodlands of Southeastern North Carolina. This interest carried over into studies of the biological sciences in college and later employment in the biological supply field. Summer jobs included working with investigators of the N.C. Department of Wildlife/Inland Fisheries doing fish and fauna surveys of N.C. lakes and rivers. Now also an avid birder and photographer. Vic’s woodcarving experience began as a Boy Scout when he and his father would carve neckerchief slides, knife handles and gun stocks together. He watched his father carve bird dogs in relief on redwood and mahogany. He attributes his interest in woodcarving to his father, but downplays the theory of a “natural talent.” “I just work very hard at it and try to develop a methodology that can be passed on to others.” He is currently teaching the art of sculpted decorative waterfowl to enthusiastic students from all walks of life. Many have already won major events at competitions and dozens of his students have won Best-of-Shows and many awards at major events.

In addition to his in-shop teaching activities, Vic has developed methods of teaching on the Internet and was the first to introduce a comprehensive Wildfowl Carving Instruction Program online.
Now he is the first to comprehensively teach decoy carving live in this medium. From his website he directly offers in-person, the many steps to carving a waterfowl species with detailed instructions and fine images that anyone can follow. This program has been received gratefully by the North American wildfowl carving community and endorsed by some of the finest artists in the country. Vic freely offers assistance and demos from his main website and sponsors a popular wildfowl carving community forum called Bird Carvers Online. He has a vision of the Internet being the way to teach the art form in remote areas of our country and to promote the art of wildfowl carving world wide. His presence on social media helps Vic stay informed about the woodcarving community.

The Cajun style of carving has had a strong influence on Vic and he has studied those methods extensively via Curt Fabre, the Brunet family and other Cajun carvers. During his annual 2 weeks in Southern Louisiana, an area rich in wildfowl carving tradition, Vic studied with Mike Bonner, a world class carver from New Orleans, perfecting advanced painting techniques and elements of artistry. North Carolina professional carvers have also been helpful in his carving pursuits. Vic and his students occasionally carve a songbird, miniature or a novelty item for fun and to hone skills. However, each weekly sessions are mostly serious work and intensely focuses on the art of decorative wildfowl sculpture. He says that this is currently considered one of America’s finest folk arts and is rapidly being considered as fine sculpture by the art world.

Vic took early retirement to focus on teaching, his wildfowl carving goals and the one or two commissions he accepts per year. He is now recognized as a major contributor to the advancement of this artistry through his teaching and excellent work. To do this successfully, people have to know who you are and that you are good at what you do. “I hope my work will speak for itself to lots of people.

“I want to leave some beautiful creations behind and inspire other carvers to advance the art form.” Vic says.

PVB Vic painting a Blue-winged Teal at a demonstration in the N.C. Museum of History.

Painting a Blue-winged Teal at a demonstration in the N.C. Museum of History.