Wood Carver Bio - Ryan Olsen

Ryan Olsen

Ryan first became interested in carving when he was very young.  When he was only seven, he had his very own pocket knife that he had found in the dirt and kept hidden from his parents.  Ryan and the neighbor kids would sit in the shade during long summer days and carve bark that they pried off of the family pine tree.  He began carving seriously while he was earning his master’s degree in opera at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music.  Ryan carved on his own for the first five years or so.  His best tools were snap-off razor blades because “they always had a sharp point.”  After too many snap-off accidents, he upgraded to Xacto knives and ground-off steak knives.

One of Ryan’s greatest experiences in carving was his first carving class at the Idaho Woodcarver’s rendezvous with one of his heroes and  fellow CCA carver, Cleve Taylor.  After studying with Cleve, he caught on fire and his carving began to improve.  Since then, he has studied with Dave Stetson, Dave Dunham, Phil and Vicki Bishop, Pete Leclair, Chris Hammack, and repeatedly with Marv Kaisersatt.   Since then, Ryan has won a number of competitions.  He has become known for his innovative,  clean style and his ability to capture female subjects in wood.

One of Ryan’s greatest joys in woodcarving is participating in the Caricature Carvers of America .  He loves meeting with fellow caricature carvers each year at different destinations around the country.  Ryan serves as  the Chairman over the annual CCA Caricature Carving Competition in Converse, Indiana. 

He stays busy running a high school choir program in Kuna, Idaho.  Whenever he is able, he travels the country to teach woodcarving seminars and attend woodcarving shows.  His favorite venue to teach wood carving has become the International Wood Carver’s congress in Maquoketa, Iowa.   Ryan, his wife, and their four children, live in Melba, Idaho.

His philosophy on carving is “Good carving is just like good singing.  You have to work at it a little every day and you might as well learn from the best

Ryan's Current & Future Videos

Woodcarving & Painting the Little Maintenance ManCaricature CarvingRyan OlsenLink
Woodcarving the Little guy- DemoCaricature CarvingRyan OlsenLink
Designing and carving your own Miniatures Workshop RecordingsCaricature CarvingRyan OlsenLink
Carving Flat Plane Style Caricatures - Workshop RecordingCaricature CarvingRyan OlsenLink
Barrel of Fun Project - Ryan Olsen - Workshop RecordingCaricature CarvingRyan OlsenLink
Barrel of Fun Part Two - Ryan Olsen - Workshop RecordingCaricature CarvingRyan OlsenLink ** March/April 2023 **
Carving Flat Plane Style Caricatures - 2023 Workshop RecordingCaricature CarvingRyan OlsenLink ** NEW Aug/Sep 2023 **

Sample Work

Woodcarving the little maintenance man
Little Guy