Siouxland Stories: Dakota Dunes man makes one-of-a-kind carvings

Siouxland Stories

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — His legacy in the Siouxland community is his advertising agency, now run by his two sons, but Bill Bass has a little known artistic talent.

“When I grew up, I wanted to be a cowboy”

That wish came true, at least, for a day, in a photoshoot. He was also a clown and an advertising professional, but what you might not know about Bass, of Dakota Dunes, is that he’s an avid carver, and his creativity knows no bounds. He’s made everything from hat racks to clocks.

His primary passion, however, is carving western themed figurines.

“It’s an awful slow hobby. But that’s what’s good about it. When you finish it, you actually wish you hadn’t finished it because then you have to start from scratch again.”

His inspiration for each work of art is as unique as the sculpture itself.

“The cowboy with the lariette, that was a blackand white drawing in the paper for a HyVee ad on a meat sale, to round up some savings. It was like a cartoon drawing in black and white.”

He enjoys being the only craftsman to use certain subjects.

“There’s already a million figurines of Darth Vader, but both of these, there’s not another one like it in the world. I try to not do any of the carvings that are in carving books, because carvers have already done those a multitude of times.”

But how did a man who ran an advertising agency for decades end up spending so much of his free time carefully carving nearly two dozen of these wood sculptures?

“As a boy, I used to carve on little twigs.”

That translated to his hobby as an adult, a way to relax at the end of the day.

“I’ve always said it’s something you can do that’s physically easy, feels like you’re accomplishing something without breaking a sweat”

Bass said he enjoys having the final say.

“You would complete a television commercial, and it would be tangible but every one had an opinion on whether they liked it or not. With carving, I’m the only boss. Either I like it, or I don’t. I’m gonna make his nose bigger, or smaller. It’s all up to me.”

If you know someone with a unique talent or little known skill that others might enjoy hearing about, KCAU 9 wants to know them as well. Email us at with the subject “Siouxland Stories” and briefly explain what it is that this person does that is so interesting. Don’t forget to watch those stories when they air on KCAU 9 News.

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