Evelyn designed and Jerry produced their first group of carved wood bas-relief wall panels in 1959. These included St. George and the Dragon and Adam and Eve. Hand carving was time consuming, and the Ackermans recognized the need to increase production while maintaining a handcrafted feel. Turning to the furniture industry, they found Maurey Spinak, a master woodcarver who had a small business employing multiple spindle-carving machines. Each piece was roughed out by machine and finished by hand carvers, providing a very close match to the hand-carved original.
Evelyn created a series of carved wood designs for architectural applications that became the basis for Panelcarve in the early 1960’s. The designs were executed as modular panels with tongue-and-groove detail so they could be assembled easily for diverse architectural and interior design applications. The panels were used extensively in hotels, restaurants, office buildings, schools, and homes.
The Ucello series designed by Evelyn was used on the doors and transom of the landmark Alan Ladd building in Palm Springs in 1971. When Panelcarve later became Forms+Surfaces, the Ackermans continued designing for the company and became its distributor.
In 1971 Evelyn designed a series of Animal Woodblocks that were carved in thick redwood. The 20 different designs, marketed by both ERA and Panelcarve, worked individually and grouped. The woodblocks were included in the “California Design XI” exhibition and the book California Design. The Ackermans later introduced a series of plaques with a blank lower portion for house numbers, plant holders, and the like, as well as carved wood gourmet accessories such as knife holders and spice racks. All were popular gift items for specialty stores, department stores, and catalogs.