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Caricature Carvers Showcase

50 of the Best Designs and Patterns from the Caricature Carvers of America

Reviewed by Matt Kelley

Caricature Carvers Showcase is the forth book from the Caricature Carvers of America (CCA),  following upon Carving The Full Moon Saloon (1995), Carving The CCA Circus (1997) and the CCA Signature Collection (a CD book.)

Formed in 1990,  the Caricature Carvers of America have a two-fold purpose;  to promote an appreciation of the art of caricature carving,  and to encourage growth in skill, creativity and excellence in it’s members and the carving public.  The newest book is a significant contribution to that end.

This publication from Fox Chapel begins with a dedication to the memory of four of the founding members of CCA: Claude Bolton, Dave Dunham, Tex Haase, and Dave Rasmussen.     The dedication is followed by a three page history of the CCA. (See also Steve Prescott’s article in Volume 7 Issue 4.)

After that introductory material,  we get to the real meat of the matter – a 20 page gallery of the work of present and past CCA members.  The gallery has a great selection of carvings covering a wide variety of styles, subjects and senses of humor.  The carvings run the full gamut – cowboys and Santas, firemen and crooks, party animals and real animals, fantasy creatures and bikers.   It’s easy enough to get lost in admiring the work as you leaf through the gallery.

Once you can wrest your attention from the gallery,  you still have almost a hundred pages of project photos, patterns and tips from all of the active members,  as well as some emeritus members. 

Each section of this portion of the book has a similar two page layout – on the left several pattern views of the carving project, a photo and brief bio of the CCA members,  and a paragraph of tips.   On the right leaf,  a full page height photo of the carving,  along with smaller side and back views.  If a members has several projects,  the tips may appear on the second left page.

If you’re looking for a step-by-step book, Caricature Carvers Showcase may not what you want – instead go grab one of the many excellent books written by the members of CCA.  This volume is truly a showcase book,  and should not be mistaken for a “how-to” book -  that’s not it’s purpose.  (Although any reasonably skilled carver could go through and duplicate each of the carvings from the pattern and photo views.)


On the other hand,  if you are looking for inspiration,  a sense of what is possible, and some tasty tidbits from some of the best caricature carvers around,  then this is really the book for you. 

The book is perhaps best treated like a text book -  first quickly leaf through to get a feel for the layout and content,  next a more careful reading to get more familiar with the gallery and projects and glean useful tidbits,  and finally (at another time)  some real in-depth study of the pieces that interest you, move you or inspire you.

In short,  this is a volume that any serious caricature carver is going to want to have.

Caricature Carvers Showcase is published by Fox Chapel and is available for $19.95 wherever fine books are sold -  but please consider purchasing from your favorite carving supply house,  in particular the great folks that sponsor WOM.


Copyright 2008, All rights reserved. May not be reproduced in whole or in part without prior written permission.