Musky Area Woodcarvers

Dan “Sully” Sullivan

Started his style of folk-art carving in 2012, when he was inspired by some of the artwork in the Very Special Arts Program, the State Organization on Arts and Disability. Dan had a growing pile of salvaged wood laying around in the garage, and decided to develop his own style of carving using these reclaimed cabin timbers, barn beams, and pilings.

He began with a few craft-type projects; lures, and stick figures...and within a short period of time his art blossomed into a business he called BOONDUCKS. (Wood found down in the boon docks) This folk-art style incorporates the unique wood characteristics each piece might have, the faults, the cracks, the holes and he further distresses the pieces with various tools creating an interesting texture.

Dan’s hometown is Dodgeville, WI. After moving a number of times between six different states, Dan and his wife settled up in northern Wisconsin in 2014, believing this was the best part of his home state. He learned about the Musky Area Carvers when he saw the window display at the Minocqua Trig’s Mall...the glass case that used to display carvings by several of the Musky Area Carvers, owned by the U.S. Bank.

Because of his association with Very Special Arts, the Public Broadcasting System did a video interview, as did Public Radio, profiling Dan’s talent, and the development of his carving business.

His macular degeneration has remarkably not hindered his ability to succeed as an artisan. Dan has his art on display at four different galleries, and also showcases nationally.

Tom Behling

Started carving in 2003, in a class he took with Joe Tuttle as instructor, making a tern. He started coming to the Thursday meetings, and at Joes place on Mondays. Tom really enjoys this hobby, saying he’s always enjoyed art, and had a interest in carving. Tom’s favorite carving subjects are ducks and birds.

 Tom has honed his skills taking some classes with Al Bacall through Nicolet College, and the classes offered at the MUSKY AREA CARVING WORKSHOP. Tom also credits the advise shared by the club members.

 Born and raised in Milwaukee, Tom became an architectural draftsman for Milwaukee Marble and Granite Company and worked there 40 years. He coordinated large projects many of which were in Chicago on high rise buildings.

 Tom came to the north woods to visit family in 1994. Instead of a honeymoon, his bride and he purchased a place in Hazelhurst. In 2001 he began work on his dream home, and moved into it after retiring in 2002.

 The laid back attitude of the Musky Area Club is a really nice characteristic, Tom says. The social get together and sharing of ideas is great.

Steve Benson

Door County Wisconsin is where Steve hails from. He says he picked a lot of cherries in his day. Everybody picked cherries, he said, “it was a way of life.” When Steve got out of the Service, he moved to Wausau. He had a long career as an electrician in Wausau with Van Ert Electric Company, Inc.

 Steve started carving because he wanted to get into duck hunting, and he needed decoys! So he started to carve at about age 12. He was self-taught, carving whatever wood was available.

 Today probably 95% of Steve’s carvings are birds, or something that can fly, he says. (Including butterflies) He has taken some carving classes. Out in Ocean City, during the Ward’s World Wildfowl Competition, Steve has had a couple of classes with Bob Guge, and one from Al BaCall. Mostly he credits carving friends that gave him some tips, and critiques. Steve has given his carvings to many, he says.

 He thinks he met Ron Hine out in Minnesota at a carving show competition, and of course Ron invited Steve to join the weekly club meetings in Arbor Vitae as soon as he retired. Steve moved up this way in 1977, when his work brought him up to the north woods. He enjoys the club, and the comradere, which keeps up the carving enthusiasm.Type your paragraph here.