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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!
  • 2017 Camp Pilgrim Firs Symposium Registration

    30th Annual International Stone Carving Symposium
    at Camp Pilgrim Firs, Port Orchard, WA 
    July 8th-15th 2017

    The Symposium PilgrimFirsFeild

    We invite you to join us at Camp Pilgrim Firs for up to eight full 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 cabins and lodges that are connected by walking paths through the forested grounds and three full meals a day, so you’ll have the ultimate freedom to delve into carving and making friends. Evenings are filled with slideshows, informational talks, a hoot of a fundraising auction, a music-filled final night party, campfires and even nighttime swims in the lake.
    Stone and tools are available for purchase by our vendors.

    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.

    Sculpture Walk on the Meadow Saturday, July 15th
    We’ll host an outdoor art gallery that’s a perfect opportunity to show your work in a supportive and appreciative environment. We encourage everyone to bring a finished piece to display and to invite your friends! Bring pedestals if you have them. NWSSA takes a 20% commission.

    Register online (below) or mail the attached form with payment to NWSSA, Attn: Cyra Jane, Symposium Director, PO Box 27364 Seattle, WA 98165
  • 2017 Suttle Lake Centerfold

    Suttle Lake Stone Carving SymposiumFellow stone sculptors,

    It is time to come home.  Be with friends, mentors, students, and especially, take the opportunity to be present with yourself. Our symposium is an evolving form of education, a union of ideas, and a place for gathering your energy.  When we work alongside one another, it is a statement. It is a proclamation that the earth can be moved by individuals and that it can be moved in harmony through collaboration.
    In August of 1987, NWSSA held our first annual international stone sculpture symposium. This landmark event coincided with a spectacular alignment of planets in our solarsystem, and coordinated meditation across the globe. 
    In August of 2017, we will again be hosting our annual Oregon symposium at Suttle Lake. It is fitting that we will kick off this event with another celestial alignment. We will witness a total solar eclipse the morning of Monday, August 21st. The next two total solar eclipses that will even be close to Oregon occur in 2045 in northern California, and 2099 in Canada.  The next total eclipse to pass over Oregon (or Washington) will not be until June 25, 2169!  

    Embrace the opportunity of a lifetime by sharing this special moment in the midst of an extreme concentration of creative energy.  
    We have a full program this year that is certain to push us into new ways of thinking.  Two themes of approach and technique will frame the 2017 symposium: high-tech & traditional and east & west.  

    Carl NelsonMichael BinkleyCarl Nelson and Michael Binkley will present on CNC carving andtransforming computer generated designs into stone. A small CNC carving machine will be on site during the week so that we can observe the process from start to finish. M.j. Anderson will follow this up by giving a field demonstration on carving Italian marble and will be carving and mentoring through the week. Keith Philips, resident artist of Tenino quarry, will visit and talk about traditional techniques for hand carving sandstone.End of copy on the left side of circle.Uchida-san
  • 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:
  • 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
  • Ann Casey - A Newbie at Camp B

    Ann CaseyI really had no clue what to expect. Sharli Silva, a friend who had gone to Cambria where she heard about Camp B from Gudrun Ongman, talked me into it with her rave reviews of Cambria and that Camp B was supposed to be even better!

    I am new to art...this right brain, thing. And being so totally left brained my whole life, I am pretty insecure about my abilities. If I had realized the level of creativity that would be at Camp B, I would have been intimidated and might not have come. Thank goodness I did. I would have missed out on a great week and wonderful people - true artists that were there to share and help. I had great fun exploring the possibilities.

    I learned a lot. I learned to "be gentle with the stone" from Knut. I learned “it’s all about light and shadow." I learned I really love bas relief and outdoor sculpture - which is sending me in a completely different direction than the path that I have been on. I learned that maybe I can sculpt on my own without my teacher. All this is leading to retirement becoming a reality, rather than just something to think about. So, trite as it may sound, Camp B was actually kind of life changing for me.

    Ann Casey
  • 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!

  • Links

  • My First Time at Silver Falls: Sheri Tangen

    Sheri TangenI already had an interest in stone carving when Pat Barton, a NWSSA member, was invited to my driftwood sculpting class. I hadn't talked with Pat for very long before I knew that I wanted to know everything about it. Pat suggested that I come to Silver Falls (now referred to as Suttle Lake), one of two NWSSA stone carving symposiums held each year. All my questions were answered in a quiet forested environment at Silver Creek Falls State Park and in the lodges spread across a grassy field and in the dining hall eating three scrumptious meals daily alongside new friends. 

    I was so excited I got there early to help set-up. I felt like a kid going to summer camp. Right from the start I could see and feel the cohesiveness that bound these people together.

    Mark Andrews working on a Limestone ReliefThere was a common thread there and it was strong. I questioned many carvers and they were extremely giving of their time and knowledge, very open and sharing. Many loaned me tools to try and books to look at. I was given the parts to base my sculpture, including the pin, the epoxy to hold it and the temporary wood base. Along with the parts, I got the knowledge on how it all comes together. I was even given suggestions on finishes for the temperamental alabaster. The level of expertise was high. But more than that, I felt they had a genuine regard for me, a newbie trying to find my way with stone carving.

    There was plenty of carving time, and there were many talks and demonstrations in the field. These ranged from types of tools and fixing them to wet and dry carving, texturing, polishing and splitting stones. These were packed little sessions. I loved getting all that information.

    Evenings offered up individual artist slide shows that left me in awe, and several very inspiring and educational lectures. Silver Falls could have been overwhelming. It could have been intimidating. But it was not. Instead it was amazing. And it answered my original question: I now have a good idea of what stone carving is all about. I'm on my way. I got a ton of knowledge about stone carving, certainly enough to get started. That was what I came for. But the selflessness of these artists is as strong as the stones they carve. I really admire that. It is now burned into my mind. It not only changed how I carve, but it changed how I think.

    Thank you, NWSSA.

    Sheri Tangen


  • NWSSA’s First Time at Suttle Lake, Sisters, Oregon

    By Lane Tompkins
    Two carvers waiting for the dinner bell

    Sometimes trying something new doesn’t always turn out well, so moving the Oregon Symposium from our much loved Silver Falls State Park to a new location caused us more than a little apprehension.

    We were told that Suttle Lake on the edge of the Cascades in Central Oregon was lovely. We were even told that the cost would be low enough for us to get 7 days for less than the cost of 5 days at Silver Falls. So those who went did so with big hopes.

    Those hopes were more than satisfied. The Kitchen Staff was great to work with and the food was organic and locally grown. There was even a map on the wall showing what came from where.

    Though the beds were on the Spartan side, the four-inch think mattresses were in abundance, allowing one to easily double or even triple the comfort quotient.

    Kazutaka Uchida with his jellybean sculptureOur tenting area was almost scarily reminiscent of the one atSilver Falls and walking distance between field and rooms and dining hall were quite short, also like Silver Falls. It didn’t take us long to feel right at home.

    We had a huge newbie tent with several people who had never, ever carved a stone. With what a will they jumped right into it and began carving. It was thrilling to watch their progress.

    And this symposium was our chance to gather in a big circle and take turns thanking Tom Urban for his unfailing 20 years of service to the Oregon contingent. Of course that always includes a few outliers from way up north –Washington, Canada and Montana. (Bless those hardy Montanans who come down every year to brighten up our days and our auctions, bringing cases and cases of Moose Drool Beer from their contact at The Big Sky Brewery in Missoula.)
    Walking from lunch back to the field
    And speaking of the Auction. Trying to tell you what happened in the auction would be like trying to say what happened during any given three hours in the universe. A lot happened. People were sent to jail and had to be bought out. High-bidders went to the VIP lounge to be fawned over and anointed, too soon replaced by the next big buyer. People worked hard distributing beverages, they also worked hard to outbid someone and then gave the item to the one they outbid. It was fun. It was more than fun. We raised $6,400.

    This short account is not all that happened at Suttle Lake. If you want to know that, you’ll have to come next year. I bet you’ll love it, too.
  • President's Message Jan-Feb 2016

    From the President.... 
    Carl Nelson

    It’s the winter months and I know some of you are hunkered down until things warm up and the days get longer. Others are using the longer nights to read, relax, and contemplate. This year has seen many new faces, lots of energy and enthusiasm, and a growing interest in stone carving. It’s an alive, hardworking, and vibrant community of carvers that help one another and during these long night’s worth contemplating.

    In the last year many of our members participated in the shows we held and a few have completed and installed major commissions. Several of our members have new commissions in progress and it is likely you will be hearing about them in the journal this coming year.

    If you are one of our newer members or have new pieces you would like to show this coming year, please consider submitting it to the Flower and Garden show, the Mother’s Day show at Lakewold Gardens, or the Volunteer Park show. Look for the Call For Artists on our web site:

    We have had requests for a repeat of the polishing workshop and the idea of a sandblasting workshop, so once again check the web site:

    Finally, for those of you interested in figurative work, NWSSA (thanks to Lisa Svircic) is sponsoring and coordinating Life Drawing sessions at the Schack Art Center (thanks to Shannon Tipple-Leen) in Everett every Friday evening from 5:30pm starting Jan15th until April 29. If you are ever in Everett WA on a Friday evening think about dropping by the Schack Art Center, as an NWSSA member you’ll get a discount. For more details check-out:

    Learn Much, Share with many, and Carve Proud.

  • President's Message January-February 2017

    From the President.... 
    Carl Nelson

    2016 is hardly over and I’m already seeing a fun and full next 8 months.  
    The Flower and Garden Show is coming up Feb 22 - 26, 2017. Hope you have been thinking about what you want to display to those thousands who will pass by our booth. Contact Kerin Monica (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and let her know what you’d like to display.

    On Saturday, March 18, Marenakos will be holding NWSSA DAY at their facility in Preston. They are inviting their customers, suppliers and the public to come meet NWSSA members and see them work, have some free lunch, do some hand carving, see demos of Marenakos capabilities and check out their new retail tool space. Contact Pat Barton (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) to volunteer to help with setup and display of your work.

    Speaking of volunteering, Ben Mefford and Cyra Jane have been working with King County Parks to install several plinths at Marymoor Park in Redmond, WA to create an on-going, rotating display of our members’ work. Marenakos will be lending us a hand and Ben will gather volunteers to help make it happen. If you would like to help, email him at (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

    On June 2, 3 and 4, Arliss Newcomb has put together
    a NWSSA sponsored women’s hand carving weekend with Ruth Mueseler, TamaraBuchanan and MJ Anderson instructing. She’ll have brochures at the Flower and Garden show and there will be more info in the Journal.

    Speaking of the Journal, it is now possible to do gift subscriptions of the journal. Keep your clients, friends and family informed of our community’s activities by giving a $30 gift subscription to Sculpture NorthWest. Check it out 

    The 2017 symposiums will have guest artists and instructors from Africa and Japan. August 20 - 27 at Suttle Lake. July 8 – 16 on the Olympic Peninsula at our new site Camp Pilgrim Firs...

    Learn much, share with many, and carveproud


  • President's Message July-Aug 2016

    From the President.... 
    Carl Nelson

    One of the many things I've learned about the creative process, is that you have to be flexible. For example, the Association was notifies in May that the Treacy Levine facility, where we hold Camp Brotherhood symposium in July, would be put up for sale in June and would close August 31st. Therefore, the board formed a search committee and began the creative process of finding a new location. We had many suggestions from members, and our search committee turned up a dozen or so possibilities.  To evaluate then, a check list was created so we would make certain our needs were covered and we were consistent. We did a lot of phone work and had five site visits narrowing it down to two possible sites. The plan was to have the board, while at Camp B, decide which facility to use.

    The week before Camp B started, we found out from the Treacy Levine staff that the property had sold and it was likely the new owners would continue to rent the facility to NWSSA for its symposium. And indeed, on the first Sunday after the start of the symposium, the founder and family of the purchasing organization stopped by to see our symposium in full swing.

    They all confirmed wanting to have NWSSA continue to hold its symposium there, but had to work with staff to confirm dates and prices. Given the complexity of and lead times, we need to make a decision no later than next month (August). Here is where the flexibility part comes into play. With the new owners now working to give us dates and pricing that will work for us, we should be able to make our final decision then.

    Look forward to more info in the next issue, until then...

    Learn Much, Share with Many, and Carve Proud...


  • President's Message March-April 2016

    From the President.... 
    Carl Nelson

    The program and registration for out 29th Camp Brotherhood Symposium is up on the website and you can now register. Senden Blackwood (New Zealand), Georg Schmerholz, Deborah Wilson, Tamara Buchanan and Ruth Mueseler will be there to instruct, talk about their work, visit old friends and make new friends. Check it out and think about entering the sculpture walk. The economy has turned around and many of our members are experiencing sales at their galleries and shows. The management at Camp B has asked about helping to promote the sculpture walk.

    Also this year, we are making an effort to reach out to the sculpture instructors and their students around the country to introduce them to our symposiums. If you are an instructor or know of someone who teaches, or a student who would benefit from attending one of the symposiums, please contact me (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) so I can talk with you about the symposium, available scholarships, and work study.

    Another opportunity you should put on your calendar to attend (and to show your smaller pieces) is the one day "Picnic in the Park" in Volunteer Park in Seattle on June 12th. It will be a change to picnic and party as well as talk to the local folks. Watch the website and Facebook for the call to artists.

    Also, we hope to be repeating the Occidental Park First Thursday Art Walk event. This event is still shaping up and we are hoping to have a demonstration carving booth. Email CyraJane (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) if you would like to do some kind of carving demo.

    Lakewold Gardens will be displaying large pieces from April to September. If you are in the South Tacoma area, drop by and check out the gardens and NWSSA member's work.

    We are looking to schedule workshops this coming fall. I've already has a request for Pat Barton's polishing workshop nd his working wet workshop. If there are workshops you would like to attend, please drop me a note. 

    Learn Much, Share with Many, and Carve Proud

    ... Carl

  • President's Message March-April 2017

    From the President.... 
    Carl Nelson

    Please join your fellow stone carvers at Pilgrim Firs this coming July 8 through 16. This will be our 30th year of gathering in the Puget Sound region and our first year at Camp Pilgrim Firs.Check out the website for details and if you want to add to our celebration of thirty years of symposiums, contact Cyra Jane Hobson. This facility has a number of cabins that are different than Camp-B, and two lodges that are reminiscent of Fisher Lodge.

    Speaking of our website, those of you who are members, consider updating images of your work in our gallery ( and consider taking advantage of Renee’s skill to put up additional info for you. Check out what Renee did for Penelope Crittenden, Pat Barton, and GeorgeSchmerholz’s entries in the gallery. To take the next step, drop her an email (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) with your info and images. Those of you who have gallery entries and have not renewed your membership, please consider renewing before we have to archive it.

    For those who have displayed work at NWSSA sponsored events, you are probably familiar with the cedar pedestals we use. The first ones were built for members and the association at workshops we held four years ago and the years following. I often haverequests to hold another workshop. Because of these requests and NWSSA’s need for more pedestals, we will be holding another pedestal building workshop. Look for the announcement on the list serve or social media for the dates.

    Finally, members’ response to Elaine Mackay’s passing made obvious the connection, warmth, and passion that we build with one another in our community. I feel grateful to be a part of this.

    Learn much, share with many, and as Elaine would say, carve proud!


  • President's Message May-June 2016

    From the President.... 
    Carl Nelson

    The second annual International Sculpture Day was this April 24th. Maybe you had work on display or took the opportunity, if you weren't tied to your display, to visit venues displaying sculpture. Maybe next year one of you can help NWSSA play a larger role in organizing the display of STONE sculpture on International Sculpture Day.

    To celebrate the day this year, Pat Barton took the opportunity to drag me to as many venues as we could visit in one day on Whidbey and Camano Islands. That included seeing Hank Nelson's Cloudstone Sculpture Park. If you ever find yourself with the opportunity to visit Cloudstone, take it. Or at least Google The first item up should be "Cloudstone revealed at last" by Tracy Powell.

    On our way to Hank's place on Whidbey Island, we stopped by the Freehand Art Studios and saw a whole lot of NWSSA members' work. There was much more variety from each artist than I am used to finding in the typical gallery setting. That's the cool think about visiting an artist's work place, you get to see it all.

    On our drive back, we caught the end of the last day of the hand carving workshop held at Kara Matzke's on Camano Island. Sue Taves was the instructor, and there were new faces (Oregon) and old hands (Puget Sound and Canada) and lots of learning and good work accomplished at the workshop.

    The long day gave me cause to reflect. Do something new; every stone is new. Do something challenging; every stone is challenging. Do something hard; stone. Whatever you choose to do, practice, practice, practice. Do it with mentorship, do it with flourish, and do it with community.

    Learn Much, Share with many, and Carve Proud...


  • President's Message May-June 2017

    From the President.... 
    Carl Nelson

    NWSSA is an impressive group and I am constantly proud to be a part the commitment. So much to talk about I'll do my best to keep it short.

    First a big shout-out to Therese Kingsbury for imagining and pulling off "SKULPT," an awesomely successful five week-long event the month of April. Thirty-nine sculptures were sold, generating almost $30,000 for our member artists. Thanks to her vision, energy and effort, our community pulled together to make it happen.

    Another shout-out to Marenakos for NWSSA day at their facility. It provided an opportunity to thank them (especially Scott Hackney) for their years of support and to have Rich Hestekind give a really nice overview of NWSSA's relationship with them. It was also awesome to see over thirty attendees hand carving in their workshop space. They want to try it again in that space.

    Given the many opportunities to display sculpture we have scheduled a pedestal building workshop for May 21st. Check the web site for details:

    Cyra Jane deserves a well done. Never say politics doesn't effect NWSSA plans, due to travel visa problems our Zimbabwe guest artist could not make it, and in her "Take 2," Cyra Janehas found an artist who has "a fab sense of humor." Read about James Horan in the Centerfold.

    Finally, I've been impressed with the support our members give one another. Whether it's how to split a fifteen ton boulder or what to look for in a small knuckle boom crane truck, we help each other succeed. I am, as always, grateful.

    Learn much, share with many, and carve proud....


  • President's Message Nov-Dec 2016

    From the President.... 
    Carl Nelson

    After a five day binge of Museums, I'm ready to get back into carving. I caught myself asking, when does walking through contemporary art and 2000 years of art history turn from a learning experience to one of entertainment and amusement? And when does it activate the consumption gene? Which, if we are not careful, can take us away from that fulfilling part of learning needed to help us create better.

    NWSSA Symposiums can be a binge of learning and discovery. While in the Journal, in addition to looking out on the world, showcases our members moving forward and supporting each other, each with their own approach, enthusiasm, and skill set.

    Another way NWSSA helps folks learn, are the public displays of members' sculpture. The Lakewold Garden, Volunteer Park, Occidental Park, Seattle Flower and Garden Show, and various galleries, such as the Matzke Gallery and Gallery Mack, are all opportunities to see and learn about our membership's work. Requests for submission to the Flower and Garden Show (February 22-26th, 2017) will be coming up soon. Please consider displaying your recent work this year.

    I also had the opportunity to visit the Noguchi Museum and Garden in NYC and found, among the pieces displayed, influences reflected in our membership's work. Because of NWSSA, I am lucky to walk into these museums, feel at home, and part of a larger community. It motivates me to get out, carve, talk and work with all of you. I hope NWSSA does the same for you.

    Learn Much, Share with Many, and Carve Proud...


  • President's Message Nov-Dec 2017

    From the President.... 

    Hope the fall months have been inspirational and you have been productive. The unexpected warm days have allowed me to get more outside work done than I had anticipated. On one of those warm days, I went to Corky’s olivine quarry, for an especially fun adventure. Corky is looking forward to what is carved from the large pieces of olivine that were taken from the quarry. In thanks for his generosity, if you are working on a piece of olivine, from his quarry or not, send him an email (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) with photos of your progress.  

    Now that the rain has started I’m reading a bit more and learned a new concept: experiential blindness. The essence is that our brain is rewired as we experience sensations and we become unblind to the world as we build concept (brain wiring) experiences to predict the perceptions we will have in the future. Each stone surface and form you create removes the blindness to the experience of stone and each stone becomes more familiar.This winter, sometime between late February and early April, if all goes well, NWSSA will hold a weekend workshop at Fort Worden State Park in Port Townsend about “Viewing Sculpture” and provides experiences and thoughts about perceiving sculpture.Pedestal engineering for the Marymoor park pedestals has begun. Women’s hand carving retreat is also moving forward, Ellie Hochman says there will be a fundraiser for it so stay tuned to the list serve and facebook.

    Also, keep the Flower and garden show (Feb 7-11th 2018) in your sights. Monica Hawkinson is looking for NEW small and medium works that show the full range of our members’ work. She has also asked for a NEW “big piece” or two, to create a focus. Contact her if you have something that might work, it’s only two months before you will have to have something ready for it.

    Carve Proud, Learn Much, and Share with Many.…

  • President's Message Sept-Oct 2016

    From the President.... 
    Carl Nelson

    The Symposium NWSSA holds in July at the Treacy Levine Center and has traditionally been called “Camp Brotherhood,” will be at Pilgrim Firs July 8th thru 16th in 2017. It is a great environment with trees surrounding the carving field, cabins and group lodges. There’s a small lake, boats to take out, trails to hike. The staff is attentive to our needs and supportive of the arts. It will be a great place to carve and celebrate our 30th gathering.

    Pilgrim Firs is located in Port Orchard Washington at 3318 SW Lake Flora Rd and yes, you can see in the google earth images a peace symbol in the northwest corner of the property, for you to confirm or deny.) Check out pictures of the buildings and grounds at: and read a short history at:

    I want to thank the many, many NWSSA members who contributed their suggestions, time, and effort to help in finding and selecting a new place for our symposium. And especially Rick Johnson and Pat Barton; you made this look easy and possible, thank you.

    Like all works of creation, the process of looking and asking questions has opened up many possibilities which we will be following up on. In particular an option for a winter symposium indoors. It may be years, or it may never happen, but it has provided us with a larger picture, hope, and another potential venue for our members and the organization.

    Finally, a thank you to Doug Wiltshire for his efforts as Director of the Suttle Lake Symposium (Camp Sisters). This year had many new faces, energetic work study folks, two Japanese carvers Kamu Nagasawa and Koichiro Bambara, in addition to Uchida. There were great presentations, campfires, swims, kayaks, and an overall program and environment where I, and I think it’s safe to assume many others, had a great experience and even got some carving done. Already looking forward to next year.

    Learn Much, Share with Many, and Carve Proud...


  • President's Message Sept-Oct 2017

    From the President.... 

    The last three months have been FULL of symposium preparation, symposium activity, new carving techniques, new faces, new friendships emerging, artists emerging and inspiring art. And OH! a solar eclipse.

    For me, it’s now time to sit back, reflect on all this activity, and get ready for the fall and the coming year’s many opportunities.

    We will be returning to Pilgrim Firs - everyone who attended agreed it is the right place to gather. Once again, big thanks to Cyra Jane and crew for pulling it off, and all you wonderful attendees. Read about it in this issue.

    The Suttle Lake symposium had so much energy and great opportunities to learn, carve and get to know each other and our Japanese guest artists. Again, read about it here.

    Kim Lewis brought more white marble crosses to Suttle Lake to be auctioned off, and we now have many members and two Japanese sculptors (Ida sensei and Kamu) who are contemplating a show centered around pieces made from these crosses. Michael Creger has yet to set a firm date, but it will likely be in the Portland area in the late spring. Stay tuned for details. If you have a piece you have made from a cross, please set your sights for a show in 2018.

    Speaking of the coming year, plans for Marymoor Park in the city of Redmond are moving forward, and it is likely we will be asking for “large” public art from our members. Think about what you have that you would want to display and sell, and/or how NWSSA could facilitate your creating a piece to display in this potential new venue. Contact me with your ideas. Again, many thanks for the team effort to make it happen.

    Similarly, for large outdoor work, Kentaro Kojima will be curating a show at Kubota gardens, between Boeing Field and Lake Washington, and will be looking for six to twelve large outdoor pieces. Keep an eye out on the Listserv for the call to artists. (Not a member of our Listserv? Join at:

    There’s a lot of activity on the Olympic Peninsula and in the San Juan Islands.
    Next spring, look forward to two hand carving retreats, one at Karl Matzke’s on Camano Island and the other the Women’s Retreat at the Port Hadlock distillery. (Started by Arliss Newcomb, and now in the capable hands of Ellie Hochman. Thanks, Ellie).
    The other island activity is Therese Kingsbury’s SKULPT TOO event in Oak Harbor. It will be a pop-up gallery that may run for 4-5 months in a donated retail space called The Loft. Given the previous success of SKULPT, she anticipates an on-going need for sculpture from NWSSA members. If you have something for the show, please drop her a note at: (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

    Learn much, share with many, and carve proud....


  • Symposia & Workshops


  • What to Bring to Camp Pilgrim Firs

    What To Bring To Camp Pilgrim Firs Conference and Retreat Center


    • A canopy for shade or rain.
    • Tools, if you have them.
    • Respirator, safety glasses, earplugs or ear muffs,sun screen, bug repellent.
    • Ground tarp to protect the grass and ease pick-up of stone chips.
    • Stool, chair, work table, sandbags.
    • Bucket & broom to sweep up chips
    • 50 ft. Electric cord, 12-3, (more if you have them)
    • Air line 50 feet, 3/8 inch with 1/4” type nipple, a water trap if you use an air hammer.
    • If you use water to carve, bring a50 foot hose with a Y connector and ashut off.
    • Note: We cannot accommodate tools from Europe that are not adapted toUS

    Newposturepedic mattresses,bedding and extra blankets are provided in Lodges and Cabins.
    There will be a mid-week towel exchange at the Main Lodge.
    Bring your own toiletries, toothbrush/paste, shampoo, etc.
    Sunscreen & bug spray.
    Bring your swim suit and towel—Lake Flora has a swim dock and kayaks are available.
    Appropriate footwear and clothing for rain or shine as the NW weather is very variable.
    You are at Camp - bring a flashlight or teddy bear if need be.
    Lake Flora


    Fishing gear - Lake Flora is stocked with fish!
    We’re right on Lake Flora: Bring your swimsuit, pool floaties, remote control boats, squirt guns, etc.
    A camera - we may ask you for pictures for next years’ brochures.
    Bring your memories and photos of the past 30 years at “Stone Camp”
    Bring drums, guitars or anything fun and musical for around the campfire.
    Bring GOOD dance music or a disco ball for the party.
    Bring items to donate to the auction.
    Bring items for a tool swap meet.

    Bring up to 3 pieces of sculpture to show at the Art Walk on Saturday, as well as pedestals if you have them. (There are a limited few for use). There will be a 20% donation asked of you if you sell a sculpture as well as the WA state sales tax.
    If you have a sculpture you would like to donate to the scholarship auction, you will receive 30% of the sale.

    If you have special dietary considerations, you need to be responsible for them yourself. The Camp will do their best, however, they are cooking for large numbers and cannot fill all special needs. There are kitchenettes in the Lodge and a few of the cabins to store & prepare meals.

    ESSENTIAL: Have FUN!!!

    Click here to download the list
  • What to Bring to the Jade Carving Workshop

    Jade Carving Workshop

    Deborah Wilson recommends that if you have the following items, you should bring them for the Jade Carving Workshop Jade Carving Workshop at Suttle Lake

    • Respirator (3M has a good silicone rubber one)
    • Waterproof Apron… if you have one
    • Rubber boots, again only if you have a pair
    • Ear plugs!! Very important (I recommend the foam disposable ones) and bring a small case to put them in.
    • Safety glasses or visor
    Bandana - keeps the dust out if your hair
    • Rubber gloves, optional
    • Sketch pad and pencils etc.
    • Plasticine for making maquettes. I’ll have some with me as well.
    • Thumb drive to downloadjade tooling and carving information

    Keep in mind, there is an additional materials fee, depending upon the size and quality of jade you select for your project.