Just over twenty years have passed since a group of ten wood carvers met in the back room of Paxton Lumber Company in Fort Worth, Texas to discuss the formation of a national organization to promote the art of caricature carving. From that meeting came the Caricature Carvers of America (CCA). The founding group consisted of fifteen nationally recognized carvers, representing a broad geographical distribution, as well as diverse styles of caricature carving. The newly formed organization made no claims of being "the best," although several of the founding members are readily recognized as being pioneers in the carving community. The same may be said of the current membership. Over the years the combined CCA membership has garnered several hundred first place ribbons, including many "Best-of-Show" in carving competitions across the nation, and two CCA members have been judged “Best-of-Show” at the International Woodcarver’s Congress in Davenport. Collectively, CCA members have published nearly 100 books on caricature carving, and members regularly teach wood carving seminars throughout the United States and Canada.
Since the inception of the CCA, four of our founding members are deceased, and several others have converted their membership to emeritus status (retired with honor). At this writing three of the founding members retain active membership. New members have replaced our retirees to maintain our membership at the maximum of twenty-five.
The purpose of the CCA is two-fold:
- To promote and elevate the appreciation of the art of caricature woodcarving within both the woodcarving community and the general public.
- To provide an environment that will encourage growth in skill, creativity, and excellence among its members and the carving public.
To achieve these goals, the CCA has embarked on an ambitious schedule of activities including carving exhibitions, group-taught seminars, and the publication of trend-setting books on caricature carving. The CCA membership is strongly committed to education in woodcarving. Most members teach wood carving seminars on a regular basis.
Highlights of our first 20 years:
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 Woodcarver’s Congress in Davenport, Iowa. The Full Moon Saloon is currently on tour and displayed at selected Woodcraft Supply stores around the country.
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.
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 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 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 carvings by Dave Dunham, Dave Rasmussen, Claude Bolton, Tex Haase, and Joe Wannamaker. The “Caricature Carvers Showcase” is available directly from the CCA through our store.
Perhaps our most important endeavor to date was the inception of the CCA National Caricature Carving Competition. This 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 Eastland Wood Carvers Club (EWCC). 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 1890’s train includes six hand-built cars, a station, water tower, hand car, and crossings, plus over 50 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.
During our 2011 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 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 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 helping carvers 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 website 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 is on display at the museum through the end of 2013. It is anticipated that over 300,000 visitors to the museum will see the 100+ caricature carvings and train that make up the project.
In November of 2013, the CCA will hold their Annual Business Meeting in Dayton, OH, during the Artistry in Wood Show. The CCA’s latest project, a a 1930s street scene, includes eleven buildings and over 100 original caricature carvings. A book on the project is due out in the Fall from Schiffer Publishing. From auto repair to movie theatres, the book will depict downtown USA during the Great Depression, through the eyes of 29 of North America’s top caricature carvers.
As we look back over the past 20+ years, the CCA is proud to have been a part of the carving community, and to have made a contribution, however small, to the world of caricature carving. Each year we have seen the level of complexity and quality of caricature carvings skyrocket, and we have seen an explosion in the number of caricature carvings entered into competition at shows around the country. This is most apparent at the International Woodcarver’s Congress and the CCA National Caricature Carving Competition. Likewise, caricature carving seminars are being offered in larger numbers, and caricature carving classes have become an important part of the curriculum of many of the larger carving seminars. After over 20 years, the CCA remains strongly committed to our original goals. Watch for upcoming CCA events in major carving publications, on the Internet, or at our website.
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