Hi and Welcome!

Susan Alexander Carves is a blog written for beginner and intermediate carvers. This is where I’ll share what I’m discovering in the carving world including carving tips from experienced and Master Carvers both in the U.S. and internationally, carving and tool recommendations, event lists, and excellent resources – everything that will expand your love of carving.

You’ll also find some of my best tips and articles straight from my Let’s Talk Carving column published in Carving Magazine. I’ll be posting new carving tips and video blogs documenting my ongoing carving education, as well as the mistakes I’ve made and what I’ve learned from making them. I’m the same as you: loving to carve and learning something new and exciting every day. To find out a little more about me, click on the About Susan page.

Have a question or a great tip you’d like to share? Have an event you’d like publicized? Click on the Contact Page to e-mail me at susanalexandercarves@comcast.net.

This blog contains carving articles and tips going back to 2010. Take your time and read through my Archived Files. See a tip or any information you like or need? Feel free to use the “Print” and “Share” buttons on the bottom of each post. Use the “Search” feature to find information quickly.

Now, sit back and enjoy! Everything here is Wood-Wood-Wood. The best TIP of all: Keep those knives and gouges sharp! And remember: Always read and follow the manufacturer’s directions. They are there for a reason!



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Rick Jensen Receives Woodcarving Illustrated 2014 Woodcarver of the Year Award

I was excited to hear that today, at Dayton’s Artistry in Wood, Rick Jensen was awarded the 2014 Woodcarver of the Year Award by Woodcarving Illustrated (WCI).

Rick Jensen, WCI 2014 Woodcarver of the Year

Rick Jensen, WCI 2014 Woodcarver of the Year

Rick, a Vietnam vet, husband, father and grandfather has been carving since he was seven years old. His carving accomplishments are monumental! Rick has won multiple Best of Show, People’s Choice, and Judge’s Choice Awards. He is an internationally respected woodcarver instructor. His carvings have been featured in Chicago and Branson art galleries. He has been a featured artist, instructor, presenter and judge at the most prestigious woodcarving venues in the North America.

Rick Jensen and Jack Williams produced An Illustrated Guide to Carving Tree Bark. Releasing Whimsical Houses & Woodspirits from Found Wood published by Fox Chapel Publishing Company. I find this book to be an invaluable tool when carving bark. Here are photos from my copy, which is where I found Rick’s picture, too.

Carving Tree Bark - Front Cover

Carving Tree Bark – Front Cover

Inside Page

Inside Page

Carving Tree Bark - Back Cover

Carving Tree Bark – Back Cover

Beyond all his carving accomplishments, Rick Jensen is the epitome of what woodcarving represents; not only is he an excellent carver and instructor, but also a kind, caring individual. I applaud Woodcarving Illustrated’s choice. They could not have chosen a finer woodcarver for their 2014 Woodcarver of the Year Award.

Congratulations Rick!! And hats off to WCI!

Posted in Carving Tips, Finishing/Painting, From the Experts, Patterns | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

48th International Woodcarvers Congress – June 7 – 15, 2014

AWC promotional poster 2014

Come join us at the International Woodcarvers Congress June 7 – 15 in Maquoketa, IA where you will see over 85 categories of woodcarving including pyrography and intarsia.

If you can’t make one of the seminars, and there is still room available in many of the classes, then stop by any day between June 12 – 15 to see the longest running, competitively judged woodcarving art show in the United States. Artists from all over the U.S., Canada and overseas submit their art and compete for cash and awards.

It is a fabulous art show and a great carving educational opportunity.

Hope to see you there.



Posted in Events & Resources, Intl. Woodcarving Congress | 2 Comments

Painting Tips

Please refer to all manufacturers’ label instructions for proper product usage.

A month ago, I had just about completed a small, intricate carving. I had put off carving the eyes because the wood that I had grabbed in an enthusiastic burst of carving excitement (and what wood you grab is a good topic for us to discuss one day), turned out to be soft in the eye area and I was not in the mood to play with it. And, yes, my tools were sharp. Continue reading

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Where did you read that fantastic tip?

Reading emails from readers, I found myself quietly singing the words to an old song, “Letters, we’ve got letters, we’ve got lots and lots of letters,” If you can remember what variety (that should give you a hint) show started with a female chorus singing those words, then I know how old you are, and you know my age, too.
Continue reading

Posted in Carving Tips, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

2013 International Woodcarving Congress

Marc Featherly, a professional photographer, photographs the Congress exhibit pieces every year. The carvings are absolutely amazing, and Marc’s photographs are simply excellent.
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Posted in Inspiration, Intl. Woodcarving Congress, Let's Talk Carving, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Insider Tips on Entering Carving Competitions

Carol Leavy, the woman in charge of setting up the exhibits for the International Woodcarving Congress, had a number of suggestions that we all would benefit from should we decide to submit a carving to any competition. Since I saw this as an opportunity for us to see the exhibit process from the “inside” I asked Carol to give us TIPS for future competitors. Here’s what she said.
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Posted in Carving Tips, From the Experts, Intl. Woodcarving Congress | Leave a comment

Easy On Your Feet

Talking about good-hearted carvers, last June I attended the International Congress and was taking a class from Marty Dolphens to learn how to carve a Native American Bust. It was a wonderful class. One of the best parts was that I was fortunate enough to find myself carving next to Paul Terpening who was also taking Marty’s class.
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Posted in Carving Tips, Household items, Safety | 4 Comments

Smooth Finishing/Sanding Technique Using Boiling Water

When the U.K. Magazine, Carving, published a feature article about me, one of the best things that came from the article was that I made friends, through email, from carvers living in the U.K.

On especially fine carver, Timothy Williams, sent me four photos of his carvings: a Squirrel, a Pirate, a Medieval English Court Jester, and the Flying Lady.
Continue reading

Posted in Carving Tips, Carving Tools, Finishing/Painting, From the Experts | 2 Comments