How Basswood Eggs Ignited My Wood Carving Passion

By Lori Dickie


Many years ago, my dad, brother, and sister took up wood carving. I was afraid of “playing with knives” so I stuck to working with clay. When my dad passed away, my sister Kristie, talked me into going to the local carving club so we could spend some sisterly time together. I agreed, but I was still nervous about using knives.

The first time I attempted to carve a piece of wood, Kristie’s only instruction was to “round” it. I had no idea what to do, and I learned very quickly that once you accidentally remove a large chunk of wood, it might be “game over.” Sometimes you can do something tricky to fix it, but it takes a lot of practice to learn to carve with the grain of the wood so you don’t accidentally lop off something important. (I also learned that you don’t panic and throw your knife when you cut yourself, because you may stab your sister.) I pretty much hated carving, was very frustrated, and decided that I would quit and go back to clay while I still had all of my digits.

Quick & Cute Carving Projects

Quick & Cute Carving Projects

Learn the basics of caricature carving with quick and easy first-time projects that use just blank basswood “eggs” and a few simple cuts. Includes clear carving and painting instructions, color photographs, step-by-step projects, and ready-to-use patterns.

I was afraid of “playing with knives” so I stuck to working with clay.

~ Lori Dickie

Basswood Egg Carving


That’s when my brother, Bill, gave me a basswood egg and a step-by-step book on how to carve a little bird. I was hooked and made a hundred birds. I got better and better at it and gained the confidence to try new characters out of eggs. I discovered that I could purchase other shapes of basswood turnings online and that a variety of patterns were available for them. After that, I let me imagination go crazy, and I started to develop and create my own characters. I don’t think a day goes by that I don’t get another idea to try.

Author Lori Dickie Quick & Cute Carving Projects Book
Character Wood Carving

Carving Characters


The turnings that I use most often are basswood eggs in different sizes and a Santa-shaped turning. In my new book Quick & Cute Carving Projects: Patterns for 46 Projects to Carve in One Day I’ve included patterns and step-by-step instructions that show the simple tools and techniques that I use to create an array of different carvings from these two turnings. I have included the colors and brands of paints that I’ve used for each project and tips that may help. I hope others have as much fun as I do carving these characters and, because the turnings are “rounded” and the designs are simple, even beginners can be successful and perhaps find a new passion in carving.

Other Wood Carving Titles

Caricature Soldiers: From the Civil War to the World Wars and Today

Caricature Soldiers: From the Civil War to the World Wars and Today

Discover the creative art of caricature carving, and start making your own memorable versions of classic service personalities with award-winning carving instructor Floyd Rhadigan.

Carving the Little Guys

Carving the Little Guys

This skill-building beginner’s guide reveals the secrets of capturing humor and expression in caricature carving. Learn to transform small blocks of wood into expressive little people with illustrated cut-by-cut instructions. Basic information is included on wood, tools, sharpening, cutting, safety, finishing, repairs, and more.

Author Lori Dickie

Lori Dickie is a caricature woodcarver and crafter who displays her work at art and wood shows and on her Etsy website. Quick & Cute Carving Projects is her first book. Lori is an active member of the Livonia, Mich., Woodcarver s Club. Her father, Tom Bowman, was a talented woodcarver who inspired Lori to begin carving more than 14 years ago.

After reading this book I think you’ll feel like I do and be all ready to carve a wizard, dragon, pirate, nativity set, snow baby or any of the great selection of cute items in this book.

EZCarving.com