All Loon Lake Decoy Company Waterfowl Decoys, Upland Bird Sculptures and Framing Cameos start as an original solid Tupelo Gum or Basswood wood carving by Master Carver Sam Nottleman. From each original, a mold is made which the hand-cast reproductions are then pulled.
A variety of casting mediums along with a resin binder are used to individually hand cast each sculpture. After casting and curing, each sculpture is subject to many more hand operations to remove any seam lines or casting blemishes. This work insures each sculpture captures every detail of Sam's original.
After finishing the raw sculpture, the Loon Lake staff of talented artists hand paints each one using heavy-body acrylic paints. These paints are fade resistant, insuring your Loon Lake sculpture will become a treasured family heirloom. Next, the glass taxidermy eyes are added to many of the sculptures, then the ultra suede base and the Certificate of Authenticity.
The Certificate of Authenticity adds to each decoys collectability. The certificate features the embossed signature of Master Carver Sam Nottleman, the sculpture name, and the limited edition number.
Each sculpture requires hours of hand work by the combined skills of the carver, craftsmen and artists before it is complete. We are proud of this attention to detail and hope you will enjoy your new Loon Lake sculpture as much as we have enjoyed creating it for you.
Loon Lake - Master Carver
Sam Nottleman: Born along the banks of the Mississippi River in Southeastern Minnesota, Sam's appreciation and love of the outdoors began literally at birth. Fascinated by the annual migrations of waterfowl and songbirds along the Mississippi corridor, Sam expressed his love of the birds through his skills as an artist. From drawing and pottery to wood carving, even as a young man his art reflected the deep respect he continues to have today for the beauty and conservation of our natural resources.
Graduating from Winona State University in 1972 with a BA in Art, Sam had already begun a 33 year career as a professional musician. At first the music and the road served as a distraction, keeping Sam from his drawing and carving. However it was not long before his passion for the birds again made it's presence known and Sam began carving as a way to unwind after an exhausting performance on stage. It was during this period of time Sam's carving skills really developed. From his personal observations and an extensive collection of mounted birds as a reference, his carvings became ever more detailed and unique. Now known throughout the country for his anatomically correct positions and lifelike details, today he continues to push the carving envelope with new lifelike sculptures in fascinating poses.
Sam joined Loon Lake Decoy Company as Master Carver and business partner in the spring of 1992. Retiring from the music industry in 1996, carving is now both his passion and profession. With his studio on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River he carves fulltime and promises "even more unique and interesting sculptures to come". Check back often to see his latest work.