The artist behind Harmony's life-size nativity - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

The artist behind Harmony's life-size nativity

HARMONY, Minn. (KTTC) -- It's the time of the year where people around the world pull out their holiday decorations -- trees, garland, and lights.  For many, it's a nativity set.

One house in Harmony has a very special nativity set -- a life-sized, hand-carved version that's taken seven years to compile.

The man behind it is Slim Maroushek.

Maroushek has been creating carvings for 30 years. Many of his works are spread across the Midwest in Rochester, Austin, La Crosse, and the yard in Harmony.

While some of his works inspire the Christmas spirit, laughter, or thoughtful contemplation, it might be what started them all that makes them so important.

"After I was sickened with MS, then my two lovely daughters in 1982 bought me a carving set and told me not to be a couch potato," Maroushek said.

Maroushek's carvings range in size from small and delicate to larger than life, and he says whether the tools fit in the palm of your hand or require gasoline -- it's all the same idea.

"You learn to adjust the proportions accordingly," Maroushek said. "At first it was hard for me because I've only got sight in one eye, and that was quite an adjustment at first because I was accustomed to using two eyes and I'm blind in my right eye because of the MS."

But Maroushek's vision is evident in all his works -- whether they're still sitting in his workshop or inspiring the residents of the town he's called home for the last 15 years. 

"I guess it's just the artist in me," Maroushek said.

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