Carvers that now attend the Vic Kirkman School of Wildfowl Art.

Karen is a graduate of West Virginia Wesleyan College where she majored in mathematics and computer science. She worked as a computer programmer and project manager for IBM for 33 years before retiring in 2007.
Karen first became interested in carving when she enrolled in a class at Sertoma Park after moving to Raleigh from the Catskill Mountains of New York state. Later, she participated in classes with Tim Borque and was Vic Kirkman’s first student. Picture1 Karen Hess – Since 02-04-1991
Her skills are evident in her blue jay which won a number of best-of-show ribbons and was pictured in the 2008 and 2009 Wildfowl Carving Competition magazine.
Although she enjoys the carving aspects of this art form, her heart is in the painting since this is when the birds come alive. 
Karen also enjoys photography, yard sales, antiques, the violin, fossils, and animals. Several of her photos have been published in the Ward Museum’s “Wildfowl Art” magazine and competition guides.
Karen is a course contributor and assistant in the Vic Kirkman School of Wildfowl Art.

Charlotte Totulis – Since 12-07-2001
I became interested in carving when my son was working on the Boy Scout woodcarving merit badge.  I began taking lessons at Pullen Park Community Center. with Bruce Collins.  I took lessons there off and on for a few years.
One day I saw a bird carving done by one of Vic Kirkman,s students and decided I would have to learn to carve at a more advanced level.  I began taking classes from Vic in December, 2001. As a result of his excellent teaching,  I have been able to progress from Novice level through Intermediate and into the Advanced level at all major competitions.  I have won many awards and ribbons while having a lot of fun with a great bunch of fellow carvers.

Marc D Marc Diard Since 11_01-2012 I began duck carving classes with Mr. Vic in 2011 with no previous experience. My only familiarity with it was through my brothers, who were taking classes from Vic at the time. Since then, he has taught me a lot about the art of duck carving, as well as the biology of ducks. Thanks to his teaching, I have completed a Lesser Scaup Drake, which has won several ribbons, and I am now working on a Lesser Scaup Hen. Not only is he a good teacher, the class environment is also very welcoming and always makes me want come back for another.

Hudson Kinslow– Since 01-18-2014 – My grandmother has been carving with Vic Kirkman for as long as I can remember. I liked her ducks and wanted to try it for myself. I began carving my first duck when I was 9 years old. I am now carving my second duck – a Wood Duck. I enjoy carving and hope to continue.

Worth Kinslow – Since 05-2015 I am 9 years old. My grandmother and brother are taking classes with Mr. Kirkman. I saw how good Hudson’s duck looked and how much he enjoyed carving it. When my mom also started carving, I decided I wanted to carve too. I am working on a and having fun. I want to carve another bird once I finish my Spotted Sandpiper.

Bill Auld – Since 09-04-2001

IMG_3387 (1) Bill Peyton – Since 2002
I began carving in 2002, at the Vic Kirkman School of Wildfowl Art, and entered my first decoy contest in 2003, as a Novice, after completing my first Life-size Floating Decorative Decoy, a Canvasback Drake.
After winning several ribbons, I moved into the Intermediate class, where I began carving a Lifesize Floating Decorative Canvasback Hen.

Life got in the way and I quit carving until October 2013.
After missing carving for nearly 11 years, I returned to the Vic Kirkman School of Wildfowl Art and put the finishing touches on my Can Hen and began competing again.

In 2014, I won Best of Show Ribbons at East Carolina Wildlife Arts Festival, Oregon Waterfowl Festival and the Columbia Flyway Festival in Washington State, and The Core Sound Decoy Festival, and a 3rd Best of Show at the Ohio Decoy Collectors and Carvers Show in Strongsville, Ohio.
It was after the Ohio show that I decided to begin competing in the Gunning Decoy Division. I completed a Red Head pair for the Lem and Steve Ward Gunning Pairs Division at the 2014 Ward World Championships, garnering the only listed Honorable Mention ribbon in a field of 100 pairs.

In late December, The International Wildfowl Carvers Association named me the 2014 Intermediate Decorative Carver of the Year.

In 2015, I began competing as a professional against the most talented artists in the world and hope
to be able to continue to learn from the very best.


Dennis Crumpler – Since 12-01-2002

I have been an avid woodworker for many years and taught shop at Faith Lutheran School for 5 years.
Since starting classes in 2002 with Vic Kirkman. I have been learning the art of decorative bird carving which involves getting realistic details in the wooden bird.

Over the 15 years I have advanced from Novice to the Intermediate level. I have been blessed with winning many ribbons from the competition events at Core Sound Decoy Carvers Guild, East Caroline Wildlife Arts Festival the N.C. State Fair and the prestigious Ward World Championships. My carvings have been placed in Wildfowl Carving Magazine.

I find that birds of all categories are interesting to me and have carved decoys, other waterfowl and songbirds.
I most enjoy painting my carvings. The art is both challenging and relaxing at the same time. Also bird carving has taught me to see nature in a different light.


JohnShepherd2 John Shepherd – Since 11-01-2004
I had never done any woodwork until I started carving with Vic. I remember the first time I met Vic, I was at the State Fair and I had walked into the Village of Yesteryear. I looked across the big room and saw what at the time I thought were beautiful duck mounts at one of the booths. It was not until I had walked all the way up to the booth that I realized the birds were not mounts but amazingly detailed decoys. Vic was busy carving away, turning a block of Tupelo into a bird and I knew immediately that this was something I had to try – so I signed up for lessons on the spot and have been carving ever sense.
For the past 10+ years I have been fortunate enough to carve with an amazing group of people and win a number of ribbons in the Novice class and one in the Intermediate class.
I find bridging the gap between what the actual bird looks like and how to represent the “essence” of bird to be the most interesting part of carving decoys. I am always amazed at the number of the stages you go through to create a bird: conceptualizing and sketching the pose, the subtractive sculpture hacking out the rough shapes, the detailed work of laying out and cutting in each feather group and feathers, the burning of the barbs and quills, and the painting – all the time reacting to the limitations and opportunities presented by the chosen piece of wood. I think it is a fair argument that there are very few art forms that require such a wide range of interests and skills of the artist. I learn something new every class and love every minute of it!


1110200014 Tom Stalker – Since 12-30-2008

MVC-005F Lamar Jones – Since 10-24-2003 I was born in Deerfield Beach, Florida on May 12, 1932. My family were all farmers and pioneers in south Florida. When I lived there, it was still very rural; living only a mile from the Atlantic Ocean and with the farm land available, I always had a rifle, fishing rod or boat. When you grow up in an area like I did, you develop a love for the outdoors and nature’s beauty. I think this background led me to start carving birds some sixty years later.

After graduating from Pompano Beach High, I moved on to Florida State University for a year before taking time out to fulfill my military service. I served in the Military Police and as Military Police Investigator. I returned to FSU and received a BS in Physical Sciences with emphasis in Math, Chemistry and Physics.

My first and only employer after finishing high school was with the Florida Department of Agriculture where I spent the next 35 years. I started as a chemist and spent most of my time developing a new computer controlled instrumentation to replace the old wet chemistry methods that were in use. I retired as Bureau Chief of Feed, Seed and Fertilizer Laboratories.

A few years after retirement, a friend talked me into going to a carving club meeting in Tallahassee. I have not put down my knife since. I worked on my own and with club members to earn some basic skills, but I quickly realized I needed carving lessons I found Vic’s name in a carving magazine and showed it to my wife That year she surprised me with a gift of carving lessons with Vic. I am still learning every day.


Bill Light – Since 01-23-2006
When I had a wife, I carved all kinds of stuff. she provided the free time from cooking, laundry, house cleaning etc. I began with simple things long time ago, modelling airplanes and the like began my carving as time went by I did a neckerchief slide and simple whittling things. When I retired from an electrical engineering career, I picked up Game Bird Carving by Bruce Burk and attempted his supposedly simple Carving a Half-body Mallard Drake Decoy. Cutting out blanks on my bandsaw became fun and I decided to make five half size and a full size Half-body decoy. I Joined the Sandhills Carving Club in Aberdeen NC and a fellow carver showed me his carving bench for which he had plans and a vice. Things were looking up! I made the bench and learned relief carving adding a decorative back stop. Fun! back to the birds, we did a class baby blue bird and tooling up for that as well as the relief carving was fun. sitting there on a shelf was the blanks and half started half-bodies. My neighbor, Dick Lemke, suggested that I could satisfy the feeling that something wasn’t quite right with my approach to a good decoy carving technique by taking a class with him at Vic Kirkman’s studio. The first lesson was free. I travelled up to Raleigh with my wife in the winter of 2006 and Vic showed her an Old Squaw drake smoothy that she asked to touch as it appeared so soft to her. I was allowed to take classes if I would end up with such an impressive result. Thus began a long and rewarding relationship with Vic resulting in contest winning Novice decoys (Drake and hen Old Squaw, bufflehead and my current project, a pair of guillemots.)

Ricky Ivey – Since 10-31-2006

Delbert Delbert DeMello – Since 08-21-2011

IMG_0645 Wayne McCay – Since 10-31-2011

David Hamilton – Since 11-09-2011
I began carving in the late 80’s. I bought a book and a few tools and did a few small projects as gifts for family. It was fun, but other interests took its place.

After moving to Raleigh in 2010, I met Vic at his booth at the State Fair and signed his interest list. An opening occurred a year later, so I began classes at Vic’s studio. Under his tutelage, my skills have improved immensely. Additionally, the comaraderie of the classes makes them the highlight of my week.

I finished a a couple carvings and entered them in competitions resulting in a few ribbons. Attending the competitions provided more learning and inspiration, as well as being fun.

IMG_4854 Mark Scott – Since 10-2012
I always loved nature and took a Bachelor’s in chemistry and biology and a Master’s in science education. I got involved in carving in junior high school industrial arts class. After college, I picked up chip carving, but hadn’t done any carving for a couple decades when we went to the 2010 Core Sound Decoy Festival and found Vic Kirkman. I love shaping the tupelo wood and finding out how to make it look like a duck. The personalities, interactions and jokes in Vic’s classes make it a fun experience. Like when Vic threw my duck head in the trash can and comforted me by remarking that I could still make a real good hummingbird with what was left of my duck. He took the duck head back out and helped me fix it up, and the duck is coming along slow and steady.

Roger P
Roger Patterson – Since 12-31-2012

IMG_2883 Bill Bingham – Since 11-01-2012

IMG_3486 Michael Murphy – Since 11-18-2013
I first became interested in wildfowl carvings in the early 2000’s, when my parents began collecting duck carvings from a local vendor at Ocean City Maryland’s annual Sunfest festival. It wasn’t until I met Vic at the Village of Yesteryear during the 2013 NC State Fair that I became serious about learning to carve, and my interested has not waned since. Currently, I am carving a decorative Bufflehead Drake to compliment the Bufflehead Hen completed for the 2014 Core Sounds Festival. I greatly appreciate the level of attention Vic gives to his students and his expertise is certainly reflected in our respective carvings.

IMG_3385 Mickey Wilson – Since 02-21-13

Ches M
Ches McDowell – Since 02-04-2013
I have always enjoyed working with wood and really fell in love once I began making decoys.
I am an avid duck hunter, a sport where decoys are an incredibly important part of success and failure.
I began carving Core Sound style decoys and moved on to creating more detailed and realistic ducks with Vic.
Vic is an incredible carver and teacher and is able to effectively impart his vast knowledge on his students.
To me, the mark of a great decoy is what the ducks think.
Once I harvested a bird over a decoy I had made, I was hooked for life.

IMG_2690 Boone Bartholomees – Since 01-14-2014
I started carving in the 80’s and continued into the late 90’s when my career forced a pause. I was completely self-taught, and although I enjoyed carving, the results were always less than spectacular. After retiring and moving to the Raleigh area, I met Vic at his booth at the State Fair. I recognized an opportunity to resume carving under the tutelage of an expert, so I signed up. That proved to be a great decision, and believe I am improving rapidly.

In 2012 I retired. Formerly, I was a regional district equipment manager for a large, nationwide construction firm, where I managed equipment on  jobs such as building sections of the “Big Dig” in Boston; constructing oversized oil rigs in Texas; constructing large, iceberg-proof oil platforms in Canada; bridge rehab in Manhattan; and rail work in Chicago.
IMG_2873 Bob Jones – Since 03-15-14
In 2013, I began carving with an instructor in Florida and immediately loved it. In March 2014, I began lessons with Vic. I have enjoyed the challenge, learning more with every lesson. My biggest fear since starting was the painting, but with Vic’s patience and instruction I have gotten over that. But I still feel I have a long way to go to paint at the level I want to achieve.  Vic is a good teacher and wants you to learn the steps you need to take. I find that the emphasis on learning the small steps allows me to understand how to carve the next bird. I highly recommend Vic as an instructor.

IMG_6668 Ronnie Riddle – Since 05-12-2014

My unexpected retirement from the power company allowed me to pursue an interest I developed as a child while watching my granddaddy whittle on the porch. As an NC native and avid duck hunter, I have always liked the beauty of ducks and chose to focus my energy on carving decorative decoys. By joining Vic’s class I found not only an experienced teacher, but a flock of like-minded friends.

IMG_2692 Steve Zamorski – Since 11-14-2014
I moved to Winston-Salem with my wife Anne in 2001 with a job transfer. I saw a notice that the local art council, Sawtooth Center, was offering a class on bird carving. It took me several years but I did sign up for my first class in wood carving with Jim Carpenter, I think it was in 2005. Since then I have done most of my carving in these classes. I have entered my carvings, all song birds, in local shows, Lexington, Statesville, Hickory, etc. In that time I have been awarded ribbons for my work in the Novice class and moved up to the intermediate. My work in this class has been well received, but no best of show.
I retired in 2010 and in 2013 moved to Mebane to be near children and grandchildren. Several people in Winston-Salem mentioned Vic and his program to me. I met him at the NC State Fair and then visited his shop. I have been part of the Vic Kirkman School of Wildfowl Art ever since. My current project is a pair of Kestrel, male and female.

IMG_4250 Janet Campbell – Since 04-09-2015
Janet is an artist still seeking her medium. Previous sculpture experience was in clay and wax and produced resin or bronze figures. Previous painting classes created two dimensional canvases. Woodworking class involved building simple furniture. While not to the painting stage yet, integrating wood carving and painting sounds like a winner.

I saw my first hooded merganser at a pond near our home in Bellevue, WA, and fell in love. The colors and shapes of birds amaze and fascinate me. So when I saw Vic’s carvings at the State Fair I wanted to create such a captivating representation. My progress is slow; carving away what’s not supposed to be there challenges me more than adding clay to make a shape. Working the wood, which has a satisfying look, smell, and solidity, has required new skills as well.
My past observation has not been close enough to have much of a feel for duck anatomy. Fortunately Vic’s studio is full of models in progressive stages; and he patiently marks where I need to carve next. Once the duck’s shape appears, the painting phase looks exacting too. When finished, my ducks will recall the wonder of first bird sightings, and the work to master a medium.

Other life experience included teaching high school and middle school English, with later careers in computer graphics and copy editing for an online engineering journal. Enjoying a museum as docent and then events coordinator, which mostly meant making parties for shows opening, was just fun. Recently becoming a Master Gardener has been improving my yard and community. The most important jobs have been as mother, wife and then caregiver, and grandmother of fifteen.
Tennis and travel–all 50 states (lived in 12) and 8 foreign countries–have been fun hobbies.
One of the greatest blessings in my life other than family has been amazing friends.