Handcarved Ale Bowls

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“Acanthus Carved Baptismal Bowl with Romanesque Inspired Depiction

Commission Piece for Hallson Church, Icelandic State Park, ND

Ale Bowl Necklace

I've carved these ale bowl necklaces, like this one, by hollowing out area in the shape of a heart.  It is 3" long and features a stylized bird head, with a dark blue background, and has orange, green, and yellow tones. The bowl is painted with acrylics and sealed with protective finish. It comes with a cord.



One of the most unique things about Norwegian Ale Bowl carving is the long standing practice of using a yellow base color and then carefully controlling the amount of paint added to the sculpted surface of the piece.  Folk artists from the past also understood the importance of not hiding the marks of hand craftsmanship.    

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Ale Bowls


Mallard Ale Bowl with Acanthus Carving


 A long time admirer of Mallard duck decoy carvings, this ale bowl was my adventure into balancing realism and innovation in a folk art piece.  It features acanthus carving and it was carved from basswood.. 

Double Headed Mallard Ale Bowl with Dragon Style Carving


This was one of my most challenging and personally gratifying works.  It meant carving an ale bowl with two nearly identical duck heads and yet achieving the proper balance between realism and innovation.  The background is dark brown and the head and sides feature dragon style carving in red, orange, and green tones.  It is basswood and painted in acrylic with multiple coats of protective finish.   

Small Mallard Ale Bowl with Dragon Style Carving


This small Mallard ale bowl was carved from a clear pine decoy blank, and it features dragon style carving.  The chiseled texture made for delightful effects with the painting.  It was a joy to play with the transitions of color.  Painting was with acrylics and the ale bowl was sealed with multiple coats of protective finish.  .


The Blue and Orange Small Rooster


The Blue and Orange Small Rooster ale bowl has turned out to be one of the prettiest carvings I've done.  I've used other paint schemes of green, black, and brown, but the awesome shade of blue here really popped.  I had fun using chip carving to resemble feathers.

Dragon Carving on Small Rooster


I really love how the dragon carving came alive with the red, orange, and yellow color transitions on the wings.  The black background is very traditonal for a Norwegian ale bowl, but I was careful here to keep some of the vibrancy of the other colors.  I enjoyed the design I used for the rooster head behind the eyes.   Almost looks like rays of sunshine on the side of its head.

The Green and Orange Small Rooster


The Green and Orange Small Rooster is distinctive with its grooves that resemble the sides on a Viking ship.  The profile on this ale bowl looks like the hull of those ships.  The green color is very traditional for Norwegian ale bowls and reddish orange highlights worked beautifully here. I incorporated chip carving motifs around the mouth of the ale bowl and numerous instances of chisel work to depict feathers.

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Little Red Hen Ale Bowl


Little Red Hen Ale Bowl was a fun one to create.  It was carved using select basswood.  The brownish red color gave the little hen a real boost in appearance.  The green wing that features gouge cut grooves with V tool lines was just enought to bring life to it.  A bit of dragon carving on the yellow tail added some zing too.  The carving is finished with acrylic paint and sealed with polyurethane coatings.

Reddish Brown and Green Rooster


This was early in my creation of ale bowls and the design here was inspired by a similar bowl made by Phil Odden. This bowl features a color scheme that makes you think of the Fall and bringing in the harvest.   The carving sports acanthus leaves and with slight antiquing glaze it honors the tradition of ale bowl making.

Green, Orange, and Blue Dragon


This ale bowl was carved from select basswood and it features dragon carving and chip carving motifs.  It has a profile and incorporates parallel grooves that resemble Viking ship construction.  It is finished with acrylic paints and polyurethane coatings.  This project was funded by the North Dakota Council on the Arts.

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Green Small Rooster


The Green Small Rooster was my first one of this size.  I had fun using a more stylized approach to a folk carved ale bowl.  I incorporated a number of carving styles on this ale bowl, including acanthus carving  and dragon carving.  I love this size of an ale bowl and I've carved several versions of it since.

Brown and Green Rooster


This projects was funded through a Folk and Traditional Arts apprenticeship by the North Dakota Council on the Arts.   I wanted to design an ale bowl with predominantly an acanthus leaf motif.  The ale bowl was carved from select basswood and it was finished with acrylic paints and polyurethane coatings.

Double Horse Headed Ale Bowl


This ale bowl celebrates the tradition of double horse headed ale bowls from Voss, Norway.    The black background with reddish brown, yellow and green colors are classic choices for ale bowls.  The bowl was carved from select basswood, and it was finished with acrylic paints and polyurethane coatings.