Howard grew up in Vernon County, Wisconsin on his father's dairy farm. Working the land and harvesting the crops gave Howard a respect for the beauty of nature that has lasted a lifetime. As a boy, he helped his father build fences using the butternut trees that grew freely on the hillsides.
Howard also fished in a small lake near the farm. While fishing he observed the many ducks that built nests and raised their families during the summer months. Many species then flew south to avoid Wisconsin's bitter winters.
As an adult and in the Navy, Howard had the opportunity to travel to other countries and observe the culture of their people. Buying woodcarvings crafted by African artists piqued his interest in the art of woodcarving. Upon returning home, he decided to "try his hand" at carving. Taking a class at a local technical college was the only formal lessons he had. Carving was a hobby for Howard at the time. His pieces were displayed at home or given away as gifts. An "empty nest" gave Howard more time to devote to his woodcarving. many of his pieces were made from butternut, the same kind of wood his father used on the farm. Only now, the butternut does not grow freely. A blight of sorts has wreaked havoc on this once plentiful wood. The beauty of the wood is reflected in the finished carvings. Each piece has it's own unique pattern.
Howard has made changes in his woodcarvings over the years. He discovered that not all wood is designed to be hand carved. Some woods are too hard. Since Howard does all of the carving without the aid of machines, hardness is an issue. However, the softer woods, like basswood, do not always have a unique pattern. Carvings from these woods resulted in rather plain finished products. To enhance the beauty of the woodcarvings, Howard began putting feather patterns on the carvings using a burning tool. The burned feathering gives a realistic and unique look to the carvings.
Most of Howard's woodcarvings are of waterfowl. He appreciates the graceful curve on the necks of the swans and the contented look in the eyes of the smaller ducks. Burning the feather pattern on the birds has become both a challenge and a reward. The burning takes much time, but the finished product is worth it.
Woodcarving has become more than a hobby for Howard. He enjoys carving and now he can share that enjoyment with others. Each piece is signed by Howard. He also includes the name of the duck on the bottom of each woodcarving. And he wants every customer to know that each carving is made in America.
When Howard has had enough carving for one day, he follows his second passion that is building and flying model airplanes. Every flat open piece of land is a potential airstrip.