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Note to Editors: Adapted from the Kansas Profile radio series, this column profiles a different Kansan, Kansas community or Kansas-based company every Wednesday, as a regular feature of the K-State Research and Extension News  lineup. A photo of Ron Wilson is available at  http://www.ksre.ksu.edu/news/sty/RonWilson.htm.

Released: January 3, 2007

Kansas Profile - Now, That’s Rural
Brian Kuntz - Brian’s Woodworks

By Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University.

Let’s go to a national competition for artists in Branson, Missouri. Two things are remarkable about this competition: One is that the first place winner in the adult division and the grand champion of the junior division both came from the same family. The second remarkable fact is that this artwork isn’t done with a painter’s brush or sculptor’s chisel, it is done in wood with a scroll saw. This is a national scroll saw contest, and the winners come from a rural Kansas family with remarkable woodcrafting skills.

Brian Kuntz comes from a truly rural family. Brian is a teacher by trade, as is his wife Trina. He is an industrial arts teacher and she is a reading specialist. Trina is originally from the southwest Kansas town of Spearville, population 817 people.  That’s rural – but stay tuned.

Brian and Trina studied education at Fort Hays State University. After graduation, they accepted positions with the school system in the south central Kansas town of Dexter, population 358 people. That’s rural too – but stay tuned.

Brian grew up in northwest Kansas. He is originally from the Gove County town of Park, Kansas, population 148 people. Now, that’s rural.

Coming from such small towns gave Brian and Trina an appreciation for the benefits of small town life. They sought a school system in a small town setting for them to raise a family. They were also attracted to the flexible schedule of the school system in Dexter, which is one of those communities that offers a four-day school week. In other words, they put in four extra-long days of work each week and then have the fifth weekday off.

That flexibility worked well for Brian’s interests in woodworking. At his school, Brian teaches a variety of industrial arts subjects, including wood shop, welding, construction, and computer drafting. His practical experience comes from work in construction and roofing.

Brian is very capable with his hands and tools, and he enjoys carving attractive designs with his scroll saw. Since 1996, Brian has been doing carvings for fun and for stress relief after school, and then he started making them as Christmas gifts for family and friends. The response was so great that he decided to sell them.

In 2005, he started marketing his original, detailed, handmade artwork in wood, specializing in wildlife designs. Using his scroll saw, Brian creates remarkably intricate designs of fish, deer, pheasant, elk, wolves and many more. Some are done from natural cross sections of a tree and include clocks or different color backgrounds.

Brian did a design of a hummingbird at a rose which is fantastic. It uses intarsia, which is a special type of wood inlay using the natural colors of the wood.

Brian also does country and western designs, along with artwork using religious themes. He sells at craft shows and festivals and does a lot of custom work. His motto is, “Scrolled to your desire. If you can think it, I can probably cut it.” His work is a great fit for the outdoorsman. One of his items is a hat and coat rack with the hooks made from shotgun shells.

So what about sales? Brian’s sales are primarily in the four state region, but his creations have also gone as far away as Albuquerque and New Jersey.

In the summer of 2006, the Kuntz family traveled to Branson to participate in this national scroll saw contest. That included Brian and Trina and their children, Courtney and Kyle. Daughter Courtney, who is only 9, won the junior division and Brian won the adult division.

For more information, contact Brian at 620-876-5845.

It’s time to leave Branson, where this remarkable family from rural Kansas claimed first place in both the adult and junior divisions of this national competition. We commend Brian Kuntz for making a difference with his creative skills and for Trina, Courtney and Kyle for being part of this wonderful rural family. Their artistry with a wood saw is a wonder to behold. In fact, it’s some of the best artwork in wood that I ever saw.

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The mission of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development is to enhance rural development by helping rural people help themselves. The Kansas Profile radio series and columns are produced with assistance from the K-State Research and Extension Department of Communications News Unit. Audio and text files of Kansas Profiles are available at http://www.kansasprofile.com. For more information about the Huck Boyd Institute, interested persons can visit http://www.ksre.ksu.edu/huckboyd/.

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K-State Research and Extension is a short name for the Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service, a program designed to generate and distribute useful knowledge for the well-being of Kansans. Supported by county, state, federal and private funds, the program has county Extension offices, experiment fields, area Extension offices and research centers statewide. Its headquarters is on the K-State campus in Manhattan.

For more information:
The Huck Boyd Institute is at 785-532-7690 or rwilson@ksu.edu

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