Hello. My name is Norm Minske. (My oldest son built this website for me. So, as requested by “him” let me officially state he is my favorite “oldest” son.) I feel compelled to admit I have a hard time being serious for more than 5 minutes at a time* so please consider yourself warned.
I’ve been a woodcarver in some manner of speaking since I was about 8 years old. My dad was a whittler. I was amazed at how real his carvings were. So, I started whittling...knives, swords, forks, Cub Scout/Boy Scout Neckerchief slides and other stuff I don’t recall. I stopped carving for a period of time then restarted again about 16 years later when I carved a Santa ornament out of a piece of 1 X 4 pine with a jack knife. For about 10 years, “Santa” ornaments were pretty much all I carved each Christmas till I attended a Mid America Woodcarvers Association show in late Aug of 2009. There, I was introduced to both Cottonwood Bark as a carving medium and Bark Houses as a... thing to carve out of the earlier referenced Cottonwood Bark.
My wife bought my first substantial chunk of Cottonwood Bark shortly after the Show (about an inch and 1/2 thick) and away I went to this day.
I tend to get bored easily which is probably the main reason I like Bark carving... since no two pieces of bark are ever the same, no two carvings will also never be the same either.
I like trying to figure out how to do something with Bark. To date, I’ve figured out how to, and made opening/closing Doors, single and double pane opening/closing windows, working water wheels, decks, stair steps and ladders. I’ve carved some heads but enjoy houses much more.
These Bark houses are commonly referred to as “Whimsey” houses, which are normally characterized by all straight lines replaced with curved lines. however, My houses are more linear ,and detailed, and have an abundance of generally straight lines which is why I call my style “Bark-a-tecture”.
I’ve had opportunities to teach/instruct my style to other fellow members of the Mid America Woodcarvers Assn, I've also taught 2 years at the gretna woodcarvers retreat at gretna, ne. last year, 2019, was my first year co-instructing with another master bark carver (mr. Ken Armsbury) at the nationally known "Doane Experience" at doane university, crete, nebraska. I will be teaching at the doane experience again july 19th through the 25th of this year. I am also working with a carving club in pennington gap, va early 4th quarter of 2020.
finally and as a side note I'm also starting to get into pyrography (fancy name for wood burning) and find it both challenging and entertaining.
So, That’s about all for now, thank you for your interest and time spent viewing my stuff. Thanks as well for reading my ramblings, almost all the way to the end, which is basically now.
Haha con dios my Amigas y amigos (or something like that).
*which is also why he has unjustly accused me of being inspired by “clocks powered by potatoes and olives dipped in mustard as well as being a “Flat Earther” and eager proponent of the pending rise of the machines. For the record, I’ve never enjoyed olives dipped in mustard.... grape-jelly maybe but definitely not mustard. ok