Harley specializes in Scandinavian-style flat plane figure carving, a minimalist style that leaves the tool marks exposed. He has won numerous carving awards and has taught carving classes throughout the United States, Canada, and Scandinavia. In 1996, he was decorated by the government and King of Norway for his contributions to Norwegian folk art studies. Harley is the author of Art and Technique of Scandinavian-Style Woodcarving as well as seven other carving-related books and numerous articles for woodcarving magazines. In addition to his carving and teaching, Harley is a professor of Norwegian language and Scandinavian folk art at Luther College, Decorah, Iowa.