About the artist


Marlene has been able to blend her artistic talents
with her love for carousel horses and other old objects de art.
She had 15 years hands on experience in one of the largest amusement ride companies in the world before setting off and building her own business.

Custom Carving & Restoration was born in 1992.
Since then she has restored countless carousel horses
and menagerie animals for private collectors
as well as restoring of several running, working carousels around the country.

With her vast experience she has worked hard
to make sure that every animal she does has a unique look
and is painted to bring out the best in the carving.
Whether a Looff, Dentzel, Parker, Carmel, Muller or
Hershall Spillman,
she brings a fresh look to every piece. Talent, hard work and yes a little bit of love
goes into every piece she does.


It is evident that Marlene loves what she does in the finished product.
She takes the time to give every piece the chance to be reborn.


Marlene’s work has made it into the Painted Ponies calandar several times
as well as the cover of the Carousel News and Trader magazine.
She has been featured in articles in the magazine as well. She was the subject of a Hattaburg’s People on KAKE TV in Wichita in 2002.







 Wood both old and new, fiberglass, metal, even plastic, she has worked on them all. Horses carved from the first of the century to family heirlooms created by a family member have received her special attention.


She has dealt with everything from, lag bolts and other metal tidbits, to loose joints, dry rot, wood beetles and missing pieces like ears, legs and tails. She takes all challenges. Every piece has it’s own unique set of problems to overcome. Horses that have gone through fire or flood, or been worn by countless riders all get the same attention to bring back and out their former glory when they were first created. As she has said, “No matter how big the problem, I just take it in little bits at a time until the problems have been solved.”



Marlene is sensitive to the wishes and needs of her clients. Are the horses going back to the rough and tumble world of the midway or carousel park?  Does the paint need to be durable to last through the wear and tear of daily riders? Does the color scheme need to add excitement and attract the patron from a distance?

Or…is this animal to be admired from an honored place in the family room or den. More subtle shadings and colorings to not compete but complement the warmth of the room may be more appropriate.

Every paint job is done with an understanding and respect for the carving and carver. Both are combined together making the finished piece a pleasure to behold.


Even with Marlene’s experience she is always looking for ways to improve. She’s willing to share her knowledge with others and listens and learns from others. There will always be something new to learn.



Past projects


During Marlene’s time with the amusement ride company, Chance, she worked on many carousels that are on midways, fairways, amusement parks and malls across the country. The mall of America is only one. During this time she was also one of the main artists that designed and painted the carousel for Michael Jackson’s Neverland Valley Ranch.

This was a very special made carousel that the artwork reflected.



Since starting her own business in 1992 she has restored the carousel at Santa’s Village in the North Pole CO.

 Carousels in malls at Town East and Town West in Wichita KS

Oak Park Mall in Kansas City

Carousels in Norfolk VA., Dallas, Oklahoma City are a few of the others she has repainted.

She is currently repainting the Allen Hershall carousel at Gage Park in Topeka KS.


She has done several projects for private collectors. Some projects have been brought to her in boxes. Some projects were held together only by paint and during the restoration process the horse was reduced to pieces numbering over 100. Talk about some challenges!


She has had clients who wanted a figure but were unable to secure an antique wood one so she provided them with a fiberglass one. She has contacts with several suppliers of fiberglass figures to purchase as a plug. This is a pulled from the mold and assembled only piece. All bodywork, priming and painting is done by her. This way she guarantees that every piece she does has a unique one of a kind signature. She has also repainted band organ figures and facades.




Whether the project is fiberglass, metal, wood or antique Marlene is able to complete the work necessary to restore the object to near perfection. She uses the finest materials available to the artist, most only available to the professional. She is always seeking out the highest quality materials and balances the material with the project at hand.


She is proficient in the use of automotive paints, necessary for the working carousel. She can and does use enamels for the home project. She uses brushes, airbrush and spray equipment to paint her projects. There will always be shading and some type of brushwork with every piece. Gold leafing, pin stripping, scrollwork, floral arrangements to small murals are all possible embellishments.


If you have enjoyed my site please write me and share my site with others. If I can help you in your future restoration/painting needs please feel free to contact me. I look forward to hearing from you… See you on a carousel!


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