Some of The Best Fish Carvers in
1957 - 2011
Simon's fascination for nature and wildlife have influenced his whole life. Creativity was always a big issue and portrait and wildlife painting soon became a full-time activity. After moving from England to the Netherlands in his early twenties, meeting his wife and starting a family, Simon became a taxidermist at the University Museum in Utrecht.
His driving urge to create in many different media, convinced him to branch out and start his own company in the south of Holland. Sculpture, painting, woodcarving and taxidermy have earned him International success and notoriety and his works can be seen in many Museums, visitor centers and private collections around the world. Simon has entered his fish carvings at the World Fish Carving Championships, and has three Best in World titles.Click HERE to visit Simon's website.
Billings, Montana, U.S.A.
After finishing school, Clark worked in construction and spent his spare time in Montana's wild places fishing, hunting and studying the wildlife that he loved. Clark's desire to pursue wildlife art as a career was inspired in 1980 during a four-month canoe trip on some of the wildest rivers above the Arctic Circle in Northwest Alaska. He and a friend floated, lined and portaged their canoe over 600 miles through the Brooks Range while fishing for char, salmon, and grayling as well as photographing caribou, moose, and grizzly bear. The awesome beauty of the fish and wildlife coupled with his lifelong love for the outdoors convinced Clark that he had to somehow carve out a career that revolved around the outdoors.
In 1981, Clark opened his studio in Billings, Montana and began mounting fish and birds for area sportsmen. He soon gained a reputation for his lifelike fish and bird mounts and quickly became one of the West's premier taxidermists. He began entering taxidermy competitions in 1985 and soon accumulated a long list of Best of Shows, Best of Categories, and numerous special awards including NTA’s award of excellence.
In 1995, 1997, and 1999 and in 2007 Clark won "Best in World" Fish Carving at the World Fish Carving Championships in addition to winning Judge’s Choice Best of Show all four times. In 2001, and 2005 as well, Clark won “2nd in World” in the Interpretive Bird Division at the World Wildfowl Carving Championships with a stylized Great Blue Heron carved from Juniper.
Clark has judged at every World Show since 1997, (except 2007) either in the fish taxidermy or the fish carving and gives seminars in both areas. Clark has had students from all over the U.S. and Canada and many have gone on to win top awards including World Champion.
Clark lives outside Billings, Montana with his wife and four children, one being still at home while three are off on their own. Clark owns and operates the Clark Schreibeis Wildlife Art Studio and he currently divides his time between sculpting in wood and bronze, judging wood and taxidermy competitions, as well as teaching carving classes in his studio and around the country.
St. Petersburg, RUSSIA
"In my work I use the only "warm" material in the world- wood. I feel it's warmth with my hands,it helps me to get closer to understanding the fragile essence of birds and fish. My work is painstakingly intricate. I sometimes even have to hold my breath for a few seconds when carving certain fragments. It doesn't matter that the work takes 5 -10 months of my life-  I am a happy man." Andrei Tunikov
Andrei's website is down right now, so I am unable to provide more information about him. He has always been a consistent winner at the World Fish Carving Championships.
La Mesa, California,U.S.A.
Lance Lyons has been a wildlife artist for over 20 years, and with his first carving he took second place at the World Fish Carving Championships and has won numerous awards since. In 1998, Lance took First Place and Best of Show at the Pacific Southwest Wildfowl Arts California Open Nationals, and in 2001, took Best in World at the World Fish Carving Championships.
Being a second generation taxidermist and fish mount artist for the world renowned studio of Lyons and O'Haver has given Lance the opportunity to study the anatomy of fish extensively and accurately. Years of fishing worldwide has added to his knowledge and has accelerated his career. Lance's specialty is fine art wood sculptures which are precise in accuracy right down to individually carved scales, fin rays and wrinkles.
Professional wildlife artist Ed Walicki was an award winning artist in sculptures in urethane, wood and stone for over 20 years. Known best for his work in aquatic wildlife reproductions Ed’s realistic sculptures won Best
of Show honors for a record four consecutive years at the Great Lakes Fish Decoy Association World Competition and a Best of Show at the Ward Foundation Fish Carving Competition, as well as numerous national and international awards. Working from his studios in Novi and Grayling Michigan Ed specialized in collectable fine art
fish sculptures and nature themed commercial exhibits. His comprehensive in-house mold making and casting capabilities provided additional production benefits for his clients still today. His work is on display in galleries, museums and private collections around the world.
with furthering the art form, is Ed Walicki."
In addition to his original sculptures, Ed has pioneered a full line of fish carving instructional materials, tools, and products used by professional wood carvers and sculptors worldwide. Ed also taught hands-on classes in woodcarving, stone carving, urethane carving and mold making and casting in his Novi, Michigan home and his retreat/fish camp in Grayling, Michigan.
than anyone ever did, even today."
Those who knew Ed as a teacher were blessed with his willingness to share new ideas and concepts that he had learned himself, making for a wonderful learning environment. Ed constantly pushed the envelope with what could be done in making molds and casting materials. He will be not only remembered for his beautiful fish creations, but for his willingness to share an idea or lend a hand in whatever creation his friends or students were working on. He will be remembered as someone with a driving passion for creating beautiful fish, a tremendous love for his "Kirs", and son Kyle, and as an ardent and gifted fly-fisherman.
for creating beautiful fish."
I knew Ed very well and talked with him and Kirsten up until his death. I miss him greatly and he and I talked almost
daily. Ed kept trying to convert me to fish carving but I just couldn't exchange feathers for scales, I suppose.
Ed had no idea that I was a minister until after my first week long class with
him and we were on our way back to the airport. He so appreciated how I viewed ministry and it allowed him to be Ed up until the day he died. What a fighter he was as well! He really believed he was going to whip his cancer . He had an exceptional mind, and I mean exceptional.
Ed, passed away in 2008 and his DVD’s on carving/mold making are still recognized as some of the best on the market as well as his fish carving reproduction casts and other aids. His wife Kirsten and son Kyle, continue to the business today and are still actively selling Ed’s products.
Text courtesy Kerry Smith
Kerry Smith is an accomplished bird carver and sculptor, who lives in Memphis, Tennessee
Click HERE to visit Kerry's website.
Photographs courtesy Kirsten Walicki, Howell, Michigan
Gene spent his childhood in Alabama and developed a lifelong love of nature and wildlife. His grandfather taught Gene how to draw and color with pastels, and instilled in Gene a love of art and a lasting confidence in his abilities. After serving in the Navy, he moved to Sebago, Maine, and in 1976, Gene began a taxidermy business, with a major interest in fish. Gene started fish carving in 1986 after attending the Maine Wildlife Woodcarving Competition. While continuing a successful career in taxidermy he has expanded into wildlife artistry, working in watercolors, oils, ceramic, wood and bronze. In 1991 he opened a gallery where a variety of his pieces are on display for viewing or purchase.
Gene has devoted his creative efforts to portraying wildlife in beautiful and creative ways that make environmental statements and inspire people to think about clean water, the "Catch and Release" program, endangered species and above all to appreciate the beauty of nature.Click HERE to visit Gene's website.
Barrington, New Hampshire,U.S.A.
Some of my earliest memories are of fishing with my dad on Craddock Creek – a quiet inlet on the Eastern Shore of Virginia whose waters nearly entered our backdoor. On this peninsula, located between the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, fishing, crabbing and clamming were a way of life – for pleasure as much as necessity.
By the age of nine, I fished regularly for red drum, cobia, speckled trout, summer flounder, weakfish, spot and croaker. For a greater challenge, I would venture to the "seaside," and fish the shoulders of Virginia's barrier islands for blue fish and striped bass. My fly fishing career began in 1992 on the shores of the Miramichi River where, in a real downpour, I caught my first fish on a fly rod – a five-pound grilse.
After college, I spent some time working in France and served a stint in the venture capital industry. But it was a 24-inch speckled trout that I caught in the mouth of Craddock Creek that pointed me in the direction of my true calling -- one that incorporates my love of fishing, my fondness of paint and color and my belief in preservation.
I carve fish in the tradition of the great trophy fish carvers – John B. Russell, John and Dhuie Tully, P.D. Malloch and the Hardy Brothers. I am inspired not only to continue this tradition but also, through my work, to promote the preservation of all fish species.Click HERE to visit Ellen's website.
Nanoose Bay, British Columbia, CANADA
A fitting name for a wildlife artist. Teom Lim translated from his ancient Hainan dialect means "deep wilderness". Since his early childhood, Teom was influenced by his father ( a world traveller and outdoorsman). Stories of jungle expeditions, fishing trips and exotic wildlife were deeply imprinted into the child's imagination. Most of his formative years were spent playing in the pristine wilderness of Alberta, Canada. There his love for the land and water grew and eventually lead him to an education in biology. With his passion for the outdoors, a university degree to fortify his passion and an artistic eye, Teom is blessed with rare perspective on wildlife art.
His career as a wildlife artist started as a bet from a friend. Since then Teom has won and successfully defended the Canadian Fish Carving Championship title four times. He has also captured two blue ribbons at the World Fish Carving Championships. As demand for Teom's art increases, he finds it difficult to keep up with competition pieces and commission work. Upon advice from other artists, Teom has begun to reproduce his work in signed and numbered copies.Click HERE to visit Teom's website.
Nisswa, Minnesota U.S.A.
Jeff's expertise in taxidermy at a young age, soon lead to opportunities for judging at state, national and world taxidermy shows. Jeff was asked to judge on the panel of the first ever World Fish Carving Championships in 1985, exposing him to the art of fish carving. He won the next World Championships in 1987 and currently holds three world titles.
Jeff's understanding of nature coupled with his exceptional artistic talent enable him to carve a wide range of subjects from freshwater to saltwater fish to decorative birds and decoys. With his passion and attention to detail, Jeff creates one of a kind carvings that capture the essence of the species perfectly.
Wasilla, Alaska, U.S.A.
He is a former associate editor of Breakthrough Magazine and assisted in co-producing three Breakthrough books. He was the show manager and a judge for the 1987 World Fish Carving and World Taxidermy Championships, and was a seminar instructor for the 2005 World Fish Carving Championships. He continues to judge shows and teach wood carving classes.Click HERE to visit Dan's website.
Polson, Montana, U.S.A.
Mike has been a consistent winner at the World Fish Carving Championships, with several major wins.
In 1997 he won Third in World Decorative Lifesize with three Graylings. In 2001 at the worlds, he was successful in winning Second in World Decorative Lifesize with a Brown Trout. Mike won another major award in 2003, Third in World Decorative Lifesize with a Steelhead carving.
Woodland Park, Colorado, U.S.A.
Cyril won big in 2001 at the World Fish Carving Championships. He not only took Best in World Decorative Miniature with a Golden Trout carving, but also Best in World Natural Finish with a Trout and Fly carving.
As a member of "Champions for Trout", he carved a miniature Colorado Cutthroat Trout, and it was on display at the 2007 World show in Reno. In 2008, his carving, with five other fish carvings were auctioned off on Ebay. The money raised will help support selected conservation efforts that enhance and or protect wild fish populations.
Sparks, Nevada, U.S.A.
From early childhood, Bill enjoyed all mediums of art. As a small boy he loved to go with his father fishing and camping. When Bill moved to the Reno-Tahoe area in 1985, he decided to take his passion for art and fish and combine them into a career path creating original art pieces.
Bill’s artistic talent soon began to be recognized in various competitions. He received awards for his art pieces at State, National and World competitions. He won over 75 ribbons and awards including, First Place, Judges Choice, Best in Show and three Wasco awards for most artistic piece. He achieved the Award of Excellence at the National taxidermy and Arts competition in the mid nineties. In 1995, Bill was awarded the prestigious Carl E. Akeley Gold Medallion for Best in the World Fish at the World Taxidermy & Fish carving Championships.
In a natural progression Bill began to devote his time to fish carving and sculpting. Today, he carves one-of-a-kind art pieces that people love to own and display. The attention to detail shows itself in life-like art pieces.Click HERE to visit Bill's website.
Bigfork, Montana, U.S.A.
In the beginning of his career at age 24, he won Best in World at the 1992 World Fish Carving Championships, with his wood sculpture called "Mystery of the Redd". Soon after he was introduced to clay and the real excitement began. He soon began producing literally hundreds of clay sculptures to be cast in bronze. His sculptures are highly acclaimed, winning him awards and honors nationwide.
Eric's bronze wildlife sculptures, figurative sculptures, paintings & prints are featured worldwide in publications and TV. Major corporations, celebrities and private collectors enthusiastically collect his bronze wildlife sculptures, figurative sculptures, paintings & prints. Sales of his wildlife sculptures has generated millions of dollars in contributions to non profit organizations.
Eric's subjects for bronze wildlife sculptures, figurative sculptures, paintings & prints are diverse, but are often focused on human and animal subjects. Eric also enjoys painting landscapes. His main gallery is located in Bigfork, Montana.Click HERE to visit Eric Thorsen Gallery.
Youtube video about Eric Thorsen