Phillip Odden was born and raised on a dairy farm in northwestern Wisconsin. His Norwegian ancestors came from the Fåvang area of Gudbransdalen, Norway, and emigrated to Wisconsin in the early 1890s. Phil designs and carves ornamentation influenced by the Viking age, the Stave Church period 1050-1350, and acanthus and Dragon style ornamentation from roughly 1825-1915.
Phil met Else Bigton at the Hjerleid woodcarving and furniture making school in Norway. In 1979 they established their traditional Norwegian woodcarving business, Norsk Wood Works, in the small rural town of Barronett, Wisconsin. Since then, Else and Phil have made their living by designing, making, and selling traditional Norwegian woodcarvings, furniture, and architectural elements across the United States. Their work is produced in studios located on their farm where they also raise and train Norwegian Fjord horses. Since 2009 Phil and Else have organized and lead an annual tour to Scandinavia focused on folk Arts, music, food, religion, and rural culture from the Viking age to the present with emphasis on the period of emigration to America.
Phil and Else collaborate to support and inform the greater American Scandinavian community through making, teaching, writing, demonstrations, apprenticeship, and mentoring with the goal of discovering, interpreting and promoting traditional Scandinavian values, creativity, and self-expression in the modern age.