Voices of Minnesota

Oral History Interview with John Jensen

DATE: October 16, 1998


John Jensen was born November 21, 1929 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He was a preeminent carver of realistic working and decorative decoys. He was self trained and had carved full-time since 1983. He generally carved fish, but also did fish spears, ducks, mermaids, turtles and frogs.

Subjects discussed include: childhood; how he became interested in making decoys; step by step process to make decoys; how he adds movement and weight; painting process, eyes, materials, and tools; his experiences with dealers and buyers; the length of time to complete a project; the cost of pieces; what determines price; his experiences in teaching his craft to others.

LENGTH OF INTERVIEW: 1 hour 11 minutes

TRANSCRIPT: 24 pages