The Caricature Carvers of America (CCA) was established in 1990. 2016 marks our 26th year, and I think it’s a safe bet that our 15 founding members would have been amazed to look into the future 26 years and see the dramatic evolution of caricature carving. Since that day, our 24 active and 18 emeritus members have worked diligently to promote the art of caricature carving though a National competition, public exhibitions, woodcarving seminars, and a continual effort to publish new books designed to encourage caricature carvers. During that time we’ve also lost 8 of our friends and CCA members who literally helped inspire a generation of woodcarvers, including each of us.
The CCA is a non-profit educational corporation. Our purpose is two-fold:
- To promote and elevate the appreciation of the art of caricature woodcarving within the woodcarving community and the general public.
- Provide an environment that will encourage growth in skill, creativity, and excellence among its members and the carving public.
The CCA’s premier carving exhibit opened at the National Museum of Woodcarving in Custer, South Dakota during the summer of 1991. That exhibit, consisting of almost fifty original carvings, returned to Custer for several years.
Our first book, the highly acclaimed "Carving the Full Moon Saloon" was published by Fox Chapel in 1995. The book, featuring the work of 21 CCA members, includes over 150 color photographs, substantial text concerning the creative aspect of caricature carving, and patterns for each of the principal carvings in the saloon. The idea for the project was conceived at the 1993 annual meeting in Wichita, Kansas. The carvings and the saloon setting were completed in time for the 1994 meeting in Fort Worth, Texas, and the book was released in conjunction with the 1995 International Woodcarvers Congress in Davenport, Iowa. The Full Moon Saloon was on exhibit in 2010 at Silver Dollar City's 50th Anniversary Celebration, and is currently on tour and displayed at selected Woodcraft Supply stores around the country. The book is available from Fox Chapel through our web store.
Our second book, "Carving the Caricature Carvers of America Circus" was published by Fox Chapel in 1997 and chronicles the carving of the CCA Circus. Each active member contributed a minimum of three carvings to the circus, which totals in excess of 130 pieces. The finished circus features a large “big top” tent and three rings of activity…acrobats, clowns, and a host of circus animals. The book also includes more than 60 patterns for these colorful characters. The book is available from Fox Chapel through our web store.
Our third major project, the “CCA Signature Collection” was completed in conjunction with our 10th Anniversary in 2000. The CD book features carvings from current and emeritus members. Each member’s chapter contains color photographs of the carving, helpful tips for those who wish to carve the featured piece, and a pattern. The CCA Signature Collection continues to grow as new members are added, and is currently on display at Peter Engler Designs, located in the Grand Village, Branson, Missouri. The CD book can be purchased from the “CCA Store” on our website.
In 2004 we offered a collection of CCA carvings for sale on eBay. The carvings from each of our 24 active members were offered individually on the auction site. The purpose of the auction was to generate funds to support our efforts in promoting caricature carving. The response from the collecting community exceeded our expectations, and the auction allowed woodcarving collectors an opportunity to acquire carvings from CCA members, including those who do not typically sell their work.
In 2007 we published our 3rd paperback book in partnership with Fox Chapel Publishing. The book, “Caricature Carvers Showcase”, features over 50 carvings by active and emeritus members of the CCA, including full color pictures and patterns. The book also includes a phenomenal gallery of carvings by CCA members, including legacy carvings by five CCA members who were no longer with us; Dave Dunham, Dave Rasmussen, Claude Bolton, Tex Haase, and Joe Wannamaker. The “Caricature Carvers Showcase” is available from Fox Chapel or through our web store.
Perhaps our most important endeavor to date was the inception of the CCA National Caricature Carving Competition. This annual event is open to all caricature carvers throughout the World. The first CCA competition was held in partnership with Silver Dollar City in 2002. For the next several years, the competition was held at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. In 2007 the competition moved to Converse, Indiana where it is hosted by the Eastern Woodland Carvers Club (EWCC). Photographs from previous competitions and additional information, including the brochure and application for this year’s competition, are posted on the competition page of this website.
Our fourth book project, Carving an 1880’s Western Train, was released in 2009. Published by Schiffer Publishing, the book features the CCA Train. The 1880’s train includes six hand-built cars, a station, water tower, hand car, and crossings, plus over 100 original caricature carvings. The full-color book is complete with photos, patterns, and a step-by-step process for one of the train’s more popular figures. The CCA Train was a featured exhibit in 2010 at Silver Dollar City's 50th Anniversary Celebration and their National Harvest Festival. Silver Dollar City hosted over a quarter of a million visitors during the festival, and since our train was featured on the Square near the park entrance, many of those visitors stopped by to view the train. Members of the CCA who spent time carving during the festival can readily attest to the impact the exhibit had on promoting the art of caricature carving. The train seemed particularly fascinating to children, for which we couldn't be happier. The book is now available through our web store, or directly from Schiffer Publishing.
At our 2010 Annual Business Meeting in Branson, Missouri, the CCA held a public sale of 25 original caricature carvings by members of the CCA. The event offered carvings for sale from CCA members, including those who do not typically sell their work. Pieces were available for purchase through the internet, by phone, or in person during the hours of the sale. Collectors from as far away as Canada took the opportunity to add unique and original carvings to their collections.
During the CCA’s 2011 Annual Business Meeting in Boise, Idaho, we unveiled our fifth book project, “Caricatures in Motion”. The book features 25 original pieces by members of the CCA. The book is focused on encouraging carvers to add “action” to their caricature carvings, and includes a step-by-step chapter for the carving featured on the cover, and additional sections on developing patterns and the painting process. The book is now available through our web store, or directly from Schiffer Publishing.
In 2012, the CCA’s Annual Business Meeting was held in Sacramento, CA, for the opening of the CCA’s train exhibit at the California Railroad Museum. Our fourth project, Carving an 1880’s Western Train, was on display at the museum through the end of 2013. It is estimated that over 300,000 visitors to the museum had an opportunity to see the six hand-built cars and 100+ caricature carvings that made up the project.
The CCA’s 2013 Annual Business Meeting was held in Dayton, Ohio in conjunction with the Artistry in Wood Show. The CCA’s sixth book project, Carving a 1930’s Street Scene, was on display during the show. The book depicts downtown USA during the Great Depression through the eyes of 29 of North America’s top caricature carvers. The book is now available through our web store, or directly from Schiffer Publishing.
During our business meeting in Dayton, we selected the subject for our next book project. Individual pieces were carved over the next year, and brought together at our September 2014 meeting in Wichita, Kansas. The meeting was held at Diver’s Studio in Wichita, the home to our friends and fellow artists John and Connie Ernatt. There we assembled the pieces for the book, and picked a title, “Concepts to Caricatures: Celebrating 25 Years of Caricature Carving.” Over the next year, the book chapters were assembled, edited, and submitted to the publisher. The book, our seventh, was released by Schiffer Publishing just prior to the CCA’s 2015 Annual Business Meeting, held at the Wisconsin River Woodcarvers Show, Stevens Point, Wisconsin. The book is available through our web store.
At the 2016 CCA Annual Business meeting, held during the Artistry in Wood Show at their new location in Wilmington, OH, members of the CCA roughed-out ideas for their next book project, due for publication in 2018. Plans are also underway for a new collection of original Christmas ornaments that will be available in 2017. Watch for project updates on the CCA’s website.
The CCA is excited to see the continued growth of caricature carving and the creativity by carvers in every genre of carving. The CCA is pleased to have been a part, however small, of that evolution. We’re appreciative of the support we’ve received from the carving community, our publishers, our competition sponsors, our competition partners at the EWCC, and a host of carving clubs and carving organizations throughout the U.S. and Canada.
Watch for upcoming CCA events in major carving publications, on the Internet, and on our website.
To request more information about our organization, get answers to questions, or to inform us about a page in need of updating, send your emails to Don Mertz