Hand-Carved Wooden Duck Decoys by Steve Kerper

Friday, June 1, 2012-Tuesday, July 31, 2012

MAE hosted a special exhibition in honor of the Woodcarvers National Convention that took place in Maquoketa June 10 through June 17, 2012.

Artist Statement

Steve Kerper, a self-taught woodcarver, is from New Vienna, Iowa and has been carving wooden duck decoys since 1986. As an avid outdoorsman, sportsman, and hunter, the image of wildfowl were etched in his mind, so in an effort to supplement his income and fill his time, he began carving the decoys. He carves from many different types of wood, but his favorites are Walnut, Butternut, Catalpa, Sumac, Red Cedar, and Gray Elm. These woods are native to Iowa and grow on his land, so Steve cuts, dries, and cures the timber himself. Then he carves the ducks with a knife, sands them by hand, and adds 10 to 50 layers of tung oil to give them a shiny finish. Each decoy is unique. Steve most enjoys the challenge of carving distressed woods and those that contain knots. He also plants new trees in place of those he has cut to foster the environment.

Since Steve began carving, word of mouth spread about his creations, and several news articles were written about his work. He has won many awards and sold his duck decoys in 48 states and 32 different countries. Additionally, Steve’s ducks were featured at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. in 1996 and 2001.