Dayle Keith Lewis was raised on a dairy farm in Pratt, Kansas and holds a BS in Industrial Engineering at Kansas State University. Dayle started hand wood carving in 1992. Since that time, his carvings have won various awards at many woodcarving shows. Although, Dayle is mostly self-taught through books and trial and error, he has learned things from the hands of others. However, he gives ultimate credit for his amazing woodcarving gift to God’s inspiration. In December of 1996, he began chainsaw carving.
This type of carving is very different, but his hand-carving experience has proven to be an advantage in becoming skilled with the chainsaw. Dayle loves to go into someone’s yard and create a sculpture out of a stump. His favorite wood is Catalpa, but he has carved in about every kind of wood there is. Dayle loves to share the joy of carving with others. In February 1998, he started teaching hand carving classes at Hayes Arboretum in Richmond, Indiana. He has taught in various cities and other states, teaching for a total of over 1425 people from the ages of 8 to 88. According to Dayle, it takes about an hour to see the joy and excitement come into their faces. A knife and a piece of wood are all you need to get started. In 2000, Dayle entered his first chain saw carving contest in Converse, IN.
He placed 3rd, carving a large rabbit with a baby rabbit sitting between his ears. It was obvious at the competition that he needed to purchase a carver’s bar. He ordered it immediately and he was off with a short learning curve. The next year he brought home 1st place. In 2002, Dayle went full time as a wood carver with about 50% hand and 50% chain saw. He got his big jump start by his employer downsizing and laying him off from his engineering job. This was very scary at first, but now it feels great. Dayle is well known for his woodspirit’s. In 2003, he wrote a how-to book hand carving a woodspirit with step-by-step instructions and lots of photos. The book has a photo gallery of some of his finished creations and is already in a second-edition printing. You can have your own signed copy for $7.95 plus shipping and handling.
In 2004, he traveled 40% of the time. He was stretched to reach higher by being commissioned to create sculptures. The ultimate challenge was creating a 20-foot mountain man from a standing oak tree. There is now an 8 foot dog beside him and a raccoon owl, eagle and squirrels. Dayle traveled to New Orleans in February 2006, to assist in the KatRita Wood Project. He spent approx. 3 weeks carving hurricane damaged logs and converting them into sculptures to be sold for the relief fund. He has returned every year to the area to help out going to Mississippi and Louisiana carving. In 2010, he traveled to Galveston, TX to carve damaged trees from Hurricane IKE. He continues to enter carving contest, winning third place at Missouri and fourth place in Michigan in 2007.
In 2008, he won third place and first place in 2009 both in Michigan. He won People’s Choice Award in 2009 and 2011 and 2nd place in 2012 in Michigan. Carving large trees in Golf Courses have become exciting and challenging the last couple years in KS, LA, MS and IN. He has 7 large sculptures at Lakewood Golf Club in New Orleans. Check out the cardinals at Diamondhead Golf Culb in Diamondhead, MS. Currently Dayle is 90% chain saw and 10% hand carving. He does approximately 325 carvings a year. He does commission work in various states. Currently, Kansas, Michigan, Ohio, Mississippi, Texas, Louisiana, and of course Indiana are his main areas. Dayle sees it as a real privilege to carve a sculpture for someone. He is invited to share apart of their lives and create a sculpture that will be cherished forever. Yes, Dayle makes house calls.
He says “It’s very relaxing and really enjoyable to create something for someone from an idea or picture. It’s a real joy to show them the final product and see their faces light up!” If you can imagine it, he can probably carve it. It is Dayle’s hope you will get as much joy from owning the carvings as he got from creating them. SMILE !!!!! For God Loves You The Lord is my light and my salvation: whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life: of whom shall I be afraid? Psalms 27: 1-2