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  • 2016 Camp Brotherhood Wrap-Up

    29th Annual Stone Carving Symposium at Camp Brotherhood, Mount Vernon, WA
    July 9 - 16th, 2016

    We had a wonderful week at Camp Brotherhood in Mount Vernon, WA with over 80 of our closest stone carving friends, celebrating camaraderie, knowledge and inspiration while working on a variety of stone; from jade pendants with Deborah Wilson to making custom tool grips and maquettes with Georg Schmerholz and watching Senden Blackwood transform a large Olivine boulder to a sleek and polished form. Instructors Tamara Buchanan and Ruth Mueseler mentored several beginning carvers in the "Tappers Tent" throughout the week.

    We had an amazing group of scholarship/work study members who assisted with set up and breakdown under the guidance of the Field Crew led by Pat Barton and Rich Andler, our Scholarship Auction organizer Therese Dougherty, Auctioneer Al Mangold, our Symposium Director, Cyra Jane, party planners Therese Kingsbury and Oliver Harwood - plus Bruce Wickler photographer/Jade tent assistant - all of whom made the week flow effortlessly.

    We celebrated with evenings on the deck outside Rogers Hall sipping wine to deep conversations around the campfire. And we invited the public to the field on Saturday for an Outdoor Sculpture Show - hundreds showed up and appreciated the effort and beauty of our creations.

    Laughter, fun, creativity and lifelong friends made.We look forward to another full week of stone carving next year (whether at Camp B, becoming Camp Korey or another destination) and hope you will join us!!

    Check out more photos from our event on our Facebook Page

    Thank you Bruce Wickler for these photos!
  • 2016 Outdoor Sculpture Show

    NWSSA's 29th Annual Outdoor Sculpture Show
    July 16, 2016
    Mount Vernon, WA

    Camp B Sculpture Show

    The Northwest Stone Sculptors Association Celebrates our 29th Anniversary with an Outdoor Sculpture Show on
    Saturday, July 16th, 2016 
    from 11 am - 4 pm

    Our week-long International Stone Carving Symposium culminates with a member art show in the meadow of Camp Brotherhood in Mt. Vernon. See over 80 artists at work, over 100 sculptures for sale, learn about the stone and tools used to create these 3-dimensional works of art. Rain or Shine!

    Camp Brotherhood at Treacy Levine Center
    24880 Brotherhood Road
    Mount Vernon, WA 98274

    For Directions, Click Here
  • 2017 NW Flower & Garden Show

    NWSSA Member Group Show  Booth #25022017 NW Flower & Garden Show

    2017 Northwest Flower and Garden Show
    February 22 - 26, 2017
    Washington State Convention Center

    The NorthWest Stone Sculptors Association has been participating in this show for over 20 years. Many new members, symposium visitors, and attendees have discovered us through this venue! The Northwest Flower and Garden Show boasts over 100,000 visitors each year, stopping by our booth to learn a little about geology and speak directly with our artist members about the types of stone and tools we use to create our art. We even persuade a few to try their hand at hand carving in our demo booth!

    The show runs from Wednesday, February 22nd to Sunday, February 26th. Hours are 9 AM to 8 PM except on Sunday, 9 AM to 6 PM.  Please stop by and visit us!

    Seal IMG 41751 Frog, by Gene Carlson IMG 41841
  • 29th Annual International Stone Carving Symposium


    Media Contact:
    Renée Roberts, NWSSA Office Administrator
    206-395-9736 | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | @nwssa_renee |

    29th Annual International Stone Carving Symposium
    July 9-17, 2016
    Camp Brotherhood, Treacy Levine Center, Mount Vernon, WA

    The Northwest Stone Sculptors Association invites you to join us at the Treacy Levine Center at Camp Brotherhood for up to eight days of stone carving, communing with nature, and enjoying the camaraderie of fellow stone enthusiasts. Bring yourself, your creative energy, your humor, tools, and a favorite piece of stone. If you don’t have stone or tools, we have an entire tent set up for beginners with tools and instructors.

    Guest Artists:
  • 2nd Annual Outdoor Sculpture Show at Suttle Lake

    2nd Annual Outdoor Sculpture Show
    August 27th 11 am – 4 pm
    Suttle Lake Outdoor Sculpture Show
    Suttle Lake Camp
    29551 SW Suttle Loop
    Sisters, OR 97759
    Please join members of the Northwest Stone Sculptors Association for an outdoor sculpture show & afternoon exhibition of our work. Artists will be on site to discuss their art, techniques and stone. Many of the sculptures are offered for sale. Visit with us to learn about and enjoy the wonderful work of this thriving community of artists.

    This event is free to the public.

  • 3rd Annual Outdoor Sculpture Show at Suttle Lake

    3rd Annual Outdoor Sculpture Show
    August 26th 11 am – 4 pm
    NWSSA Outdoor Stone Sculpture Show Poster
    Suttle Lake Camp
    29551 SW Suttle Loop
    Sisters, OR 97759
    Join members of the Northwest Stone Sculptors Association for the 3rd Annual outdoor stone sculpture show & afternoon exhibition of their work. Visit with over 50 Artists from Japan and the Pacific Northwest region to discuss the tools, techniques and stones used to create their art. Many of the sculptures are offered for sale.

    This event is free to the public.

  • About Camp Pilgrim Firs

    Introducing Our New Venue, Camp Pilgrim Firs  Lake Flora Trail Map

    Pilgrim Firs Camp and Conference Center includes 120 wooded acres of which 40 have been developed with cabins, lodges and outdoor recreation areas for guest use. It includes play and sports fields, a lake with canoeing and kayaking, and a floating dock for swimming. There are hiking trails, indoor and outdoor chapel/meditation spaces, two campfire areas, basketball and volleyball courts and many secluded quiet places. It is located 3 miles from the City of Port Orchard and about an hour and a half drive or relaxing ferry ride from downtown Seattle.

    Pilgrim Firs is owned and operated by the Pacific Northwest Conference of the United Church of Christ.

    The Camp has two lodges with shared common areas and bathrooms with multiple dorm-style rooms that sleep 3-4 people each.
    There are 11 duplex style cabins, each with private decks.
    For those who like to commune with nature, limited space is available for tents or campers.

    Registered for Camp? Here All the Details:

    How to Get to Camp Pilgrim Firs
    Hold Harmless Agreement
    (print, sign & bring with you to Camp)
    What to Bring to Camp Pilgrim Firs
    What to Bring for the Jade Carving Workshop
    Safety for Sculptors
    Schedule of Workshops & Presentations

    Pilgrim Firs 3318 Lake Flora Rd Port Orchard, WA 98367  |  360.876.2031
  • About Membership with NWSSA

    Cost of Membership is $45.00/year.

    teamgranitewedge copy 2

    What membership offers:

    • Community of carvers from beginner to professional
    • Fun, inclusive environment for all levels of sculptor
    • Tool discounts from selected providers
    • Access to bi-monthly publication Sculpture Northwest (hard copy and/or online)
    • Access to members only area of website (includes: 15+ years of Sculpture Northwest, tool and technique tips, member interviews and beginners corner)
    • Access to Grindopedia online tool manual- a work in progress worth reading
    • Participation in members-only group shows
    • Link to your website with brief bio and images on
    • Discount on each of our annual symposiums
    • Calls-to-Artist opportunities
    • Student membership - $35.00

    Click HERE  to become a member & HERE to renew. 
    To view membership form for printing Click HERE.
    Want to see video testimonials? Click HERE

  • Alexandra Morosco reflects on Limestone

    Alexandra Morosco reflects on Limestone: Keeper of the ancestors

    Indiana Limestone Fish Fountain, 2015. My commission entailed enlarging an existing 19th century English fountain. The original was a 14" high plaster cast. My version is 36" high and was drilled through the center to accommodate plumbing to an upper basin, as well as three mouth spouts. The entire fountain is 6’ high and is in a Napa Valley, California private estate.Welcome to the Limestone family! Meeting the Limestone family is a lot like meeting The Johnson’s or the Smith’s; you can open any phone book and there are pages of them, but if you were to enter into their homes you would find they are vastly different, have totally different styles and personalities. Some are hard and brittle, some are soft spoken, and delightful to work with.

    In the geologic family tree, The Oolitic Limestone’s are the most consistent in color and structure. In the U.S you will find soft gentle southerner’s from Texas, like Leuders or Cream or Pearl. As you travel north through the limestone belt of the country, the colors get a little warmer, such as Kansas limestone which makes up the layers of the golden plains. Indiana limestone holds the reigning name for limestone that serves all sculptors, architects, and masons. Who could not love this well-behaved, diplomatic stone? You will also find excellent examples in England and France, such as Bath limestone in England.

    Oolitic limestone is easily hand carved with steel or very fine carbide chisels, steel files and sanding is only needed to about 80 or 120 grit. Other hard limestone, such as Oklahoma, New Mexico, Canadian, Belgian Bleu or Black Irish are very dense and hard, and often come in a wider variety of colors and need heavier carbide chisels. Diamonds for cutting and polishing never hurt the cause, but if you are a glutton for hard work - most can be carved by hand.

    Limestone will generally not reveal swirly lollipop colors and bubblegum flavors, but it allows the dance of light to show off what your hand brings to the surface of the stone. It allows the purity of your form, texture and line to speak. It is said that poetry makes for strong language in its brevity of words. With less pattern-chatter, I find limestone a lot like poetry; it demands the lines and form of the sculpture to hold your attention, not the color and pattern, which I feel are more akin to music & dance.

    I also appreciate the metaphor of limestone’s ancestral lineage of stone. Before she was a stone, she was fish - millions of fish. She was plankton and algae. She was clam and snail and oyster. Millions of years of natural history layered in a silty time-bed tell the story. Everything that ever lived, fought, birthed, foraged and died live in that stone. Before borders and boundaries and before tribes quarreled, there were burgeoning quarries beneath the surface of the earth’s thin layer of soil. Yes, Terra Firma has many families that make up its content, but Limestone is the family that holds the history of the living. She is the Keeper of the Ancestors in a geological catalog set in stone, just as we as sculptors are the keepers of stories of our time and culture, set in stone.

  • An Afternoon of Sun and Stone in Volunteer Park

    Sculpture Exhibition and Picnic
    June 12th
    12:00-4:00 pm


    Join Northwest Stone Sculptors Association members for a pop-up sculpture showcase, picnic, and sale on the lawn between SAAM and the Conservatory in Seattle's Volunteer Park. The sculptors will be showing over 50 of their works and will be onsite to discuss the stones, techniques, and set up the bbq.

    Volunteer Park - Seattle
    1247 15th Ave E, Seattle, WA 98112

    This event is FREE to the public.
    Join us between noon and 4pm
  • An Afternoon of Sun And Stone in Volunteer Park 6-12-16


    Media Contact:
    Renée Roberts, NWSSA Office Administrator
    206-395-9736 | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | @nwssa_renee |

    An Afternoon of Sun and Stone in Volunteer Park
    June 12, 2016 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm
    Volunteer Park, Seattle, WA

    Join Northwest Stone Sculptors Association members for a pop-up sculpture showcase, picnic, and sale on the lawn between SAAM and the Conservatory in Seattle's Volunteer Park. The sculptors will be showing over 50 of their works and will be onsite to discuss the stones, techniques, and set up the bbq.

    Volunteer Park - Seattle
    1247 15th Ave E, Seattle, WA 98112

    This event is FREE to the public. Families are welcome, Picnics encouraged!

  • Art and Sculpture

    Thoughts on how drawing can help us sculpt. Taken from my notes on a 2008 lecture by Bob Leverich with some input from others.
    By Bill Weissinger

    For those born without the innate gift to draw well, acquiring an artist’s skill seems undoable. “Not so,” said Bob Leverich in the summer of 2008 in a lecture at Camp Brotherhood. “It just takes a lot of practice.” Seven and a half years after the lecture itself, I typed up my notes from Bob’s lecture. Here they are, with some thoughts of my own.

    Should you care how to draw? Although clients may want to see sketches of a proposed commission, the most important reason to learn how to draw (as Alexandra Morosco emphasized to me when she saw my second sculpture in 2003) is to learn how to see.

    Learning how to draw. There is no one “secret,” other than a lot of practice, preferably with a live model. But there are a few insights that are important. Here is one, not from Bob, but from Visual Thinking, by Rudolf Arnheim: for the survival of our species, it was “of the greatest practical importance that things should be seen as constant and that change should be attributed to them only when they themselves do the changing.” In other words, the instinctive rejection of proportion as presented to us by our eyes is a survival skill. That made me feel better: I’m not so much a bad drawer as a good survivor. “Un-seeing” that rejection – one of the requirements for drawing well – takes a lot of training.

    How does one do that? Bob recommended one solution:
  • Ben Mefford

    Ben Mefford
    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Know Time, basalt Ben Mefford "Know Time"
  • BOD Meeting Minutes August 2015

    Minutes of Board Meeting from 8-26–2015 held at Stone Sculpting Symposium at Suttle Lake.
    Meeting was called to order at 4:08 pm.

    Members of the Board present:
    Carl Nelson, President; Ken Barnes, Vice President;
    Pat Barton; Steve Sandry, Rick Johnson
    Guest: Doug Wiltshire, became a board member

    Board Matters:
    Rick Johnson moves that we expand the board by one person to gain additional OR representation. This person would run for re-election at our next annual election. Pat Barton seconded and all approved. Rick nominated Doug Wiltshire be added to the board immediately for this position. Pat Barton seconded, all approved.

    Meeting minutes from last board meeting
    Pat Barton motioned to approve the meeting minutes. Steve Sandry seconded. Motion carried.

    Treasurer's report
    Transition to new treasurer Michael Yeaman. CB15 results are not ready yet. Ken will gather the materials and work with Michael to create the CB 15 summary.

    Ken has not been counting instructor payments as instructional support, only the subsidy that is a difference between the market charge and what the instructor is paying. Instructor payments are a cost of doing business. Significant discussion about allocation of costs between operating funds and scholarship funds. Symposium director will determine the allocation of instructional costs between operating and scholarship funds.

    Suttle Lake 2016
    Doug will do the event again next year as director. The event has worked well this year and he thinks there are many interesting avenues to pursue (sculpture walk, involvement of new people). Needs to get the brochure out sooner next year so that Suttle Lake doesn’t get as cannibalized by CB. We need to have a workshop in OR to build pedestals with some excess being left for Suttle Lake sculpture walk. Camp manager is interested in talking with Rick and Pat about installing field power for future years so we don’t have to rent a generator. We have the whole camp next year.

    General I
    Occidental Park first Thursday in September. We are being paid $400 by the event organizers for expenses.

    This meeting was adjourned at 5:10 pm.
  • Bruce Kleeberger

    Bruce Kleeberger
     Giving Life to Stone and Wood

    Black Orca, Bruce Kleeberger"Black Orca"
  • Call for Artists

    The following are links to helpful sites with information, resources more calls for artists in all disciplines:

      Here is a link to the Artist Trust site:

    Here is a link to CaFE site which serves as an aggregator for artist calls:  

    racc logo masthead
    Here is a link to the Regional Arts & Culture Council:

  • Camp B 2016, July 9-16

    29th Annual International Stone Carving SymposiumCampB2016
    Camp Brotherhood
    July 9th-17th, 2016

    We invite you to join us at the Treacy Levine Center at Camp Brotherhood for up to eight days of playing with stone, communing with nature, and enjoying the camaraderie of fellow stone enthusiasts. Bring yourself, your creative energy, your humor, tools, and a favorite piece of stone. If you don’t have stone or tools, we have an entire tent set up for beginners with tools and instructors. 

    The Camp provides furnished lodge rooms and three full meals a day for the ultimate freedom to delve into carving and making friends. Tools and stone are also available for sale by our vendors. Sharing information, tips, and inspiration is something we all do. Evenings are filled with slideshows, informational talks, a hoot of a fundraising auction, a music filled final night party, campfires and more. You are also invited to bring a piece for the public sculpture show on the last Saturday.

  • Camp B Centerfold 2016



    Early Morning RiverwalkIt's been hours, or days, or a lifetime. Time lost its ticking in the tiny landscape of stone in front of you, only evident in the growing pile of chips and dust around your feet, and the minutely drastic changes in the stone's current face. You're making progress! and the chitter of friends and the ringing of their tools fades in and out of your awareness as all your attention is on the next step.

    Suddenly the whir of noise around you drastically mutes, laughter reaching in through the daze of workflow enough to pull your eyes up to the field as your ear muffs feel abruptly unnecessary. Your neighbor is mouthing and gesturing excitedly from their pop-up studio and the pull of a small exodus screams “Lunchtime!”

    And so our eyes light up even more, and we undo our safety layers and stretch out our legs and stream together toward our communal mid-day meal. Sometime mid-week, this experience becomes something of an always has been and always will be. The immersive daily routine of open worktime punctuated with educational workshops, discussions of technique and theory, and inspiring presentations creates an unmatched environment for the stimulation and nurture of our stone-carving souls. In the late evenings, we share campfires and music and stories and never-ending opportunities to geek out about everything rock with our like - minded friends.

    Gene Carlson carving chloriteThis is Camp B, more formally known as the International Stone Carving Symposium held at the pastoral Treacy Levine Center in Mt. Vernon, WA. If you have been to Camp B, then you know this experience described above. If you haven't been, this is partially why so many of us keep returning year after year; I say partially as even the allusion to the collection of individual experiences and memories and events is simply impossible to convey in text. Suffice to say that whether it's your first or your 29th year, it will be one to remember.

    Georg Schmerholz and Senden Blackwood will be joining us as Guest Artists this year. Georg is an expert at blending multiple media and styles: figurative and abstract, stone and metal. He will be focusing on his school of thought around the interplay between consciousness and the creative sculptural process. Senden will be traveling from Australia to carve with us and explore the space where a sharp aesthetic eye and a dynamic physical process meet to produce striking abstract sculpture. Steve Sandry & MJ Anderson

    Our Beginner's Stone Carving intensive is once again offered with plenty of tools and workspaces, and individual instruction and encouragement from the indelible team of Ruth Mueseler and Tamara Buchanan. The efforts of these women and the team who sets up the workspace coalesce to provide a solidly positive experience for anyone who wants to participate, regardless of their prior know-how. We are also pleased to again feature Deborah Wilson's week long jade workshop. Participants are welcome to work on dedicated jade-carving tools with focused instruction and support; most will finish at least one piece by the end of the week. Space is limited for this July 9 through 17 workshop, so be sure to sign up early!

    You can find more information and register online at Don't forget that we offer an early bird discount of $100 if you register before May 31st. Early Bird Discount Extended through June 14th! Additionally, we have discounted work study positions and scholarship funds available for those who need attendance assistance. Contact me (Cyra) at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 206.406.0711 to inquire.

    See you on the field!

  • Fat Phobia

    Venus in Two Views for the Fat Phobia Gallery Show
    By Jonna Ramey (All photos by Jonna Ramey)

    The Venus of Willendorf is an iconic Paleolithic image of woman. To anyone familiar with the female body, this small sculpture is not a fertility goddess per se, she is young and she is fat. Gloriously, unabashedly fat. Roughly 4.5” tall, she was carved from oolitic limestone 28,000 to 25,000 years BCE.
    Clay Maquette

    As a feminist, this figurine has spoken to me for decades. She is a primal, strong, personal image of women—fat women. As a direct stone sculptor, I have both yearned for and shied away from the possibility of making my own Paleolithic figurines. Recently, for the exhibition Fat Phobia shown at Art Access Gallery in Salt Lake City, I carved two stone Venus figurines, but on a larger scale. My works are each approximately two feet high, carved in African or Utahan stone. One piece is my fairly literal take on the Venus of Willendorf, the second is a more abstract portrait. Together, they frame a conversation on body image and celebrate large women’s bodies from earliest humans to our present society.

    ‘Venus at Middle Age’ reflects on the Willendorf figure, envisioning her as a woman a few decades older. Older, wiser, still strong and vibrant. Of the two sculptures, I carved her first, using a piece of Zimbabwean opalstone.

    I started the process by studying all the images I could find of the original Willendorf figurine online. The figurine has been photographed in many angles through the years and the source material was rich. Studying these images, I came to some personal conclusions and observations. First, the original sculptor loved his subject. Yes, I think the Venus of Willendorf was carved by a man and he was smitten. He loved her breasts, her vulva, her fat, her youth. But he posed her with her face cast down or hidden, and he rendered her arms as a late afterthought. To survive 28,000 years ago, a woman needed strong arms and she needed to look directly at the world. My sculpture, I decided, would show her in a different light.

    Sketching on paper, I found I was creating an older, more mature woman. Her breasts would have fallen with age, and her arms would hold them up to relieve pressure on her back. She would look out at us, but like the original, her face is not detailed, making her everywoman. Her hair thinned with age, her hairline receding. While I roughed in a shape (a cocoon really) in the stone, I also worked on a small Sculpey maquette. Clearly, my sculpture was not going to be a replica of the figurine. I worked the stone entirely with hand tools in some quirky homage to the maker of the original. She was hand-sanded to 2000 grit and finished with Butcher’s wax. The piece took about 120 hours to complete.

    ‘V Kicks Up Her Heels’ imagines the woman who may have inspired the original Venus figurine in a playful manner. From the beginning, I knew she would be sculpted with Utah onyx (honeycomb calcite) to provide a strong counterpoint to the opaque blue-green opalstone. Honeycomb calcite’s translucency and vibrant color dictated that the sculpture could not incorporate subtle or fine detailing. It would have to be created with bolder gesturing. Where ‘Venus at Middle Age’ had a solid, composed dignity to her, ‘V…’ was always an active, dancing figure in my mind. A quickly composed maquette led me in a direction, but the stone had other ideas and I was willing to compromise. Instead of both arms flung out akimbo, one was raised and the other just dropped by her side. One leg is planted on the ground, though we only see the thigh, and the other leg is kicked back. Honeycomb calcite does not take hammer and chisel well. This piece was created using angle and die grinders. Finishing included diamond pad hand-sanding followed by buffing out with Italian Craftsman Polish. This piece took half the time of the other to produce.

    The exhibition Fat Phobia was the brainchild of artist Carol Berrey and was curated by her and Sheryl Gillian, Executive Director of Art Access. Fat Phobia has been a great success. The opening drew 400 people. The audience was receptive to all the work shown, discussing the pieces, asking each other questions, commenting. Connected to the exhibit has been a series of talks and workshops ranging from author Jasmin Singer speaking on ‘Body Positivity’ to a writers’ workshop and subsequent poetry reading in the gallery. All events were well-attended. High school and college art students have paraded through the exhibit to look at the art, complete onsite assignments and then talk about body image and art. And, the artists have met each other, spoken about what they do and the content of their work.

    Jonna Ramey with Venus (middle aged)For an in depth critique of the show, go to Scotti Hill’s article in 15 Bytes e-magazine.

    For me personally, these two pieces have pushed my work into new realms. Exploring a playful, active form has kindled an interest in making more active figures in stone. The physical sculpting has for some reason made me more fearless when approaching a stone. And as a Euro-American woman, it’s been empowering to artistically embrace my paleo roots. How this all plays out in my sculpture… we’ll see. But, it’s given my work a fresh perspective and verve that is personally appreciated.

    I sculpt stone. It gets me up in the morning. Every day. My work is often abstract, sometimes figurative but rarely literal. Making sculpture is a way for me to examine thoughts, emotions, cultural concerns, myths and taboos. I live and work in Salt Lake City, Utah.
  • From the Editors Jan-Feb-2017

    Goodbye to the Holidays, the pieces we carved, the pieces we didn't carve; goodbye to 2016. 

    Hello to a new year, new possibilities, the pieces we will carve, the pieces we hope to carve; hello to 2017.

    That said, there's still enough hibernation time before spring to reflect on our processes, plan new pieces and gather our creative and material tools together. Half the fun of carving is the preparing to carve. The French have a phrase “mise en place," which means to put everything in place. Of course, being French, it’s usually about getting everything ready to cook: all your herbs and spices, utensils, pans and pots. It works well for carving as well. Getting our ideas lined up, our tools sharpened and ready, the stone, the workbench…and we’re ready to go.

    We all have our own unique process. In this issue, we talk with two carvers, James Ballard and James Larson, about their processes. Usually carving is a solitary pursuit. To do it, we must be mindful of our own personal methods that have evolved along with us. However, learning how others carve in their solitary way can inform our hands and eyes in new and wonderful ways. The Realization that we are not really isolated in our solitary work, that others have the same frustrations and joys, weaves us into the larger fabric of stone sculpting. Learning how others approach similar work builds a useful connection, giving a sense of fullness to what we do.

    And NWSSA gives us a chance to be part of that larger fabric. Arliss Newcomb and Mark Andrews continue the conversation about how being part of NWSSA affects them and their creative process.

    So here’s to us as individuals and as part of a group. No matter how it feels sometimes, we are not alone.

    Lane and Penelope

    Penelope CrittendenLane Tompkins
    Penelope and Lane

  • From the Editors July-August 2017

    Hello summer, finally. Now is the time to get out there and get things done.

    Ben Mefford has been getting things done. Not only a lot of stone carving, about which he has taken the time to write for this issue’s Artist in the Spotlight, but he is also this year’s director for August’s Suttle Lake Symposium. Check out the centerfold to see this year’s instructors.

    And here’s a Symposium Bonus: during the symposium -- August 21 -- Suttle Lake Campground will be in the path of the total eclipse. We can’t always guarantee natural spectacles, so take advantage of this one! (Solar safety viewing glasses recommended.)

    And perhaps you’ve heard about the great success of the hand-carving workshop Arliss Newcomb had in Port Hadlock on the Olympic Peninsula. Jonna Ramey, a long-time member has written about it and sent in some photos for those of us who couldn’t attend. All the men, for instance.

    And finally, you will get the where and when about an exhibition of Tom Small’s stone sculpture and the release of his new book. Yes, we said book. It’s just out and we are so eager to have a look.

    Think of all this carving and the fine weather as two good reasons for getting some of your own work going.

    Lane and Penelope

    Penelope2017Lane Tompkins
    Penelope and Lane

  • From the Editors March-April 2017

    It has been cold carving for those of us working outside. But warmer days are coming and we’ll all be glad to see them.

    The loss, in January, of our good friend Elaine MacKay, has affected us all. In tribute, we are re-running Elaine’s “Artist in the Spotlight” from the May/June 2000 issue. Reading about her art in her own words will allow us a moment to remember her.

    And thanks to Kentaro Kojima, we are bringing to you the personal thoughts of two Japanese sculpture students on their week at Suttle Lake symposium. You will see our gathering from a very different perspective as Kamu and Koichiro share with us their exuberant enjoyment of this life changing experience.

    Sharon Feeney has been busy, too. Her volunteer effort with four-year-olds from Gig Harbor will charm you and make you wish you could have been there to see her orchestrate their very first joyful encounters with stone sculpture. We should have all been so lucky to get started that early.

    And so you don’t forget, the Women’s Spring Stone Carving event is happening in June. This issue includes all the information you need, along with the application form. The industrious Arliss Newcomb will not only be organizing the workshop but also the celebration of her 80th birthday. It’s a party.

    Penelope2017Lane Tompkins
    Penelope and Lane

  • From the Editors May-June 2017

    It’s spring! And summer is not far behind. Coming up on July 8-15 is our 30th Annual International Stone Carving Symposium. This symposium (formerly known as Camp Brotherhood) will take place in Port Orchard, Washington this year. See our centerfold for more information.

    And as if to show how truly international we are, in this issue we present the work of Senden Blackwood, our Aussie connection, and George Pratt from Canada.

    So take a break from all that carving….and/or those thoughts of carving, and enjoy the work and words behind the work, of two of our most talented members.

    Penelope2017Lane Tompkins
    Penelope and Lane

  • From the Editors Nov-Dec 2016

    Many of you (hopefully all of you) may have recently received an email addressed to ‘Hello Stone Carver,’ or ‘Hello NWSSA Stone Carver.’ In it we present the idea that even though summer is over and times to gather either in larger or smaller groups have past, we can still keep in touch and foster the feeling that we are, (as in fact we are, part of a larger whole.)

    You will read a few of the responses we’ve received. As you read them, we hope that you will be encouraged to send in your own feelings and thoughts about our group. The photos attached will help us put names to faces and, we hope, lend a feeling of connection through the many short days of a long winter.

    Also in this issue we feature the work of Rich Hestekind. We’ve been trying to profile Rich in the Journal for years and are delighted to have his thoughts as well as photos of his spectacular and innovative work. [You will see that Rich has collaborated with Jim Ballard to display some of his pieces.]

    And, if you happen to have a quarter million in change rattling around in your jeans, you might be interested in acquiring the equipment featured in the "Machine Carved Gargoyles" article. Or, for a more reasonable sum you might want to contact Patrick Doratti and see if his machine is a fit for your next high-end project.

    So, until we’re next in your mail.….Happy Winter Solstice and a toast to a fulfilling and creative New Year. 

    Penelope CrittendenLane Tompkins
    Penelope and Lane

  • From the Editors Nov-Dec 2017

    Letter from the Editors

    Computer Numerical Control. That’s what CNC stands for. CNC also means that artists can now get access to some serious mechanical help for roughing out their artistic designs.

    Carl Nelson and Michael Binkley have written an article to explain how, and why, to get started in the world of CNC. Carl will tell us what is involved in acquiring and using a CNC machine. Michael will share some of the reasons he has for using them to increase hisworkflow.

    A different approach is taken by Bob Leverich to produce a public art grouping for a Seattle High School. Instead of computers and strings of code, Bob attacked his raw granite boulders with a drill, feathers,wedges and hammers. And those were some giant boulders!

    Speaking of raw stone, our Roving Reporter, Michael Yeaman, will be our guide on a trip through anol’ time Rock Shop he found while traveling on highway 97 just north of Madras, Oregon. We’ll meet Johnny and Norma, the owners of the Richardson Rock Ranch and see some of the huge piles of stone they have for sale. Oh, and for a fee, they even give visitors access to an outcrop of rock on their property to dig for those mysterious rocks called thundereggs!

    The Art of Sculpture lends itself to many approaches. You can use hand tools, you can use mechanical tools; you can rough out shapes with electric tools or air tools, and now, another device in the sculptor’s arsenal, the CNC machine.

    Aren’t we lucky carvers?  

    Penelope2017Lane Tompkins
    Penelope and Lane

  • From the Editors Sept-Oct 2017

    Even though there are still some good carving-weather weeks ahead, we’re coming to that time of year time when we can reflect on the summer’s accomplishments and enjoyments. To help in this reflection, we have put together what might be called a “Symposium Issue,” which focuses on both our Washington and Oregon symposiums.

    [Many thanks to Symposium Directors Cyra Jane Hobson (Pilgrim Firs) and Ben Mefford (Suttle Lake) for the hundreds of hours they put in to give us two wonderful summer experiences.]

    Cyra Jane Hobson, spent some of her time at Pilgrim Firs collecting the thoughts of many happy attendees. She has assembled those in a virtual word storm of thankfulness and accomplishment. Sounds like they all experienced both the expected and unexpected joys of July’s gathering.

    And a few weeks later Suttle Lake symposium came along with its international flavor, accompanied by the mind-blowing experience of a total eclipse of the sun. Four carvers volunteered to tell us about the stones they worked on while there. The pieces range in size from 12 pounds to 3,000 pounds; not so unusual a spread for NWSSA stoners.

    We hope that you have been busy at your own work with stone and that you have had many of your own expected and unexpected successes while hard at work on what you just plain love doing. 

    Keep on keeping on.

    Penelope2017Lane Tompkins
    Penelope and Lane

  • July 16, 2016 Outdoor Stone Sculpture Show


    Media Contact:
    Renée Roberts, NWSSA Office Administrator
    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | @nwssa_renee |
    Outdoor Stone Sculpture Show
    July 16, 2016 11:00 am - 4:00 pm
    Camp Brotherhood, Treacy Levine Center, Mount Vernon, WA

    The Northwest Stone Sculptors Association Celebrates our 29th Anniversary with an Outdoor Sculpture Show on Saturday, July 16th, 2016 from 11 am - 4 pm
    Our week-long International Stone Carving Symposium culminates with an art show in the meadow of Camp Brotherhood in Mt. Vernon. See artists at work, learn about the stone and tools used to create these 3-dimensional works of art. Rain or Shine!
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  • NW Flower & Garden Show 2016

    By K. Monika Hawkinson

    I am pleased to report that our booth at this year’s Northwest Flower and Garden Show was a complete success. The responses we got from many visitors were so encouraging. Like the family that wandered with all three of them having to try their hand at carving in the demo booth, and then continuing to talk with Nicki Oberholtzer for another half hour about Camp B. Or the moment I looked over at the demo booth to see a family of six or seven all gathered around, with their faces just beaming with joy and amazement while Nicky was chiseling away. Moments like that made this year’s show so worthwhile for me. I am totally hooked.

    There were thirty-six sculptures from fourteen different artists on display this year. The variety and quality of the work really showed what fantastic talent we have in our group. From Tom Francis’s pumice “Japanese Lantern” to Sharon Feeney’s “Budding”, our booth was full of many beautiful examples of the range of possibilities that stone sculpting represents. Carl Nelson’s “Black Bunny” got lots of love, Cyra Jane’s intricately detailed “Thorns” drew awe, while Pat Barton’s petrified wood “Hard Wood” was easily the most touched piece in the booth. As a recruitment vehicle for Camp B, we totally nailed it!

    Garden Show Member DisplaySo last fall, Carl Nelson called me up and asked if I would be willing to organize the booth for this year’s Flower and Garden Show. Not really understanding what I was in for, I foolishly said yes. Fortunately, NWSSA has some great people that picked up the slack when I was overwhelmed with my new job. Pat Barton, Nicky Oberholtzer, Cyra Jane Hobson, Renee Roberts and Carl Nelson all provided invaluable support in making this show happen for us. I cannot thank them enough. I also want to give a big thank you to the folks that volunteered to work the booth even when they weren’t exhibiting any of their own work. You were such a big help! And thank you to the artists that made this all possible.