Scandinavian-Style Flat Plane Figure Carving


Join instructor Charles Banks as he continues the figure carving traditions of his mentor Harley Refsal. In this course, students will use just a knife to carve a Nordic-inspired character in this introduction to the simplified world of flat-plane carving. This experience is open to new carvers as well as carvers with more experience.  Students will be introduced to the history, past and present carvers, a multitude of figure carving options, necessary cuts, and finishing techniques all culminating in a finished carving or two. This class does require a modest amount of dexterity and hand strength.

Note from Instructor: This class is modeled after the flat plane mentor Harley Refsal.  We honor his teaching and experiences that will continue to be shared.


 Friday, June 10-Sunday, June 12, 2022 (9:00 am-Noon, 1:00-5:00 pm)


This is an in-person class held at Vesterheim Folk Art School.

Level of Instruction:

Beginner to advanced. (Minimum age 13.)


  • Flat/ straight-edged carving knife, 1 ¾ to 2 inch works well 
  • Cut-resistant glove
  • Optional Tools:  Carvers are welcome to bring whatever tools they own. 
  • Blanks are available for purchase from the instructor for $5 and up (depending on the project).

  • Some supplies are available for purchase in the Museum Store. Please call for details. 

Enrollment Deadline: 

 May 20, 2022

Please read our COVID-19 Policies here.

The Folk Art School greatly values the health and safety of its learners, teachers, and staff and is continuously monitoring local and national COVID-19 statistics, government recommendations, and peer institution guidelines. As with any activity in a public place, there is an inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms related to COVID-19 infection, please stay home. By registering for a class, attending a program, or visiting the Folk Art School, you voluntarily assume all risks related to COVID-19 exposure and assume them willingly and you agree to follow Vesterheim's COVID-19 policies. Thank you for your continued patience, understanding, and respect for the safety of our community as we navigate these difficult times. If you have additional questions, please contact the Folk Art School, at or call 563-382-9681.

About the Instructor:

Charles Banks is a Minnesota-based carver with a passion for the Nordic arts. His area of study for the past twenty years has been Scandinavian flat-plane figure carving. A current art educator and lifelong learner, Charles gives his students a hands-on experience including history, influential individuals, a study of individual characters, and character design all culminating in the creation of his student’s own hand-carved characters.  Charles teaches at the John C. Campbell Folk School, Vesterheim Folk School, Northhouse Folk School the American Swedish Institute, and the Milan Village Arts School. His personal message to all students taking classes is, “Thank you for investing in yourself,” “Sloyd time versus screen time,” and “Welcome to the Flat Plane Family!”

Tuition :
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