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  • 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 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.