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The Corwins: a carving family

Bernie & Gail Corwin

Bernie and Gail have been carving together since 1983. Bernie began carving in 1971 when he met the late decoy carver and painter, Vernon Berg. Bernie's first job working for Vern was to strip layer after layer of over-paint from antique decoys so they could be repainted. Berg ran a hunting guide service in Dare County and Bernie also worked for him as a professional hunting guide. After Bernie and Gail met and later married in 1983, they worked together in their own construction business. Soon, with a daughter on the way, Gail decided a change of occupation was in order and asked Bernie to teach her how to carve. Twenty years later, now with two daughters, 19 year old Caroline and "Cricket" who's 4, they are still carving together.

They have exhibited their ducks and shorebirds in decoy competitions throughout the eastern and northeastern US. The pair have received many honors throughout the years for their art, but none have meant more to them than being chosen by the Core Sound Decoy Festival as the Featured Carvers for 1995.

The carving process begins with an original design that Bernie and Gail work on together. Although these days Bernie does most of the carving and Gail most of the painting, it wasn't always that way. Gail is quick to point out that she started as a carver and not as a painter.

"It was the carving that was my first love. Painting was something I had to do...someone had to do it....but as my painting ability grew, it became my passion. Detailing a slick bird with paint so that it looks like the feathers are carved is what I enjoy doing most, and I love to see someone reach out to touch the bird to see if the detail is carved."

The Corwin's decoys are branded with one of two brands...."Bird Shoal" or "Whistler." "Bird Shoal" branded birds are either decorative or smaller then life-size. The decoys which sport the "Whistler" brand are stylish, life-size working decoys. All their work is also signed and dated.

The decoys carved by the Corwins are available through their decoy shop, Lucky Duck's, or through this web site. They also sell vintage and collectible decoys by other carvers and tupelo carving wood.
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