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A Pickup Full of Pedestals

The truck load of sculpture pedestals that were built by NWSSA volunteers in Pat Barton’s spring workshop. Our thanks to those who came and saw and built.

2018 Women's Hand Carving Retreat

Women's Carving Retreat June 8, 9, 10th, 2018

Women's Carving Retreat - Port HadlockLocation:  Old Alcohol Plant Inn,  310 Hadlock Bay Road, Hadlock, WA.  (6 miles South of Port Townsend)

Friday 11:00am – 4:00pm    Sat. 10:00am – 4:00pm

Sat. Evening Gallery Walk reception  5:00pm – 8:00pm
Sun. 11:00am – 1:00pm

Hand Carving Weekend: As access to power is very limited at this location, and our set up location is just outside the Hotel's Restaurant, bring whatever hand tools you might need. If you aren’t a hand carver, bring a partly finished piece you can rasp, chisel, or sand.  

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Two Japanese Students at Suttle Lake


I visited my friend, Ida-sensei, at Zokei University (an art school in Tokyo) in November 2015, and while there he gave me an opportunity to do a seminar with his students. At the seminar, I found out that none of the seven or so students in their early twenties had even gone out of Japan. They wanted to, but had this idea that it was very difficult to do. That was when I got the idea of bringing them to a NWSSA event. After I came back, I asked Doug Wiltshire about the possibility of getting the Japanese carvers a financial assistance to Suttle Lake symposium and he told me, “two full scholarships, done.” Elated, I told Ida-sensei about my idea. If the sculptors can come up with their airfare, I will do the driving and they can stay in my house while in Seattle, I told him. He was so happy, he almost didn’t believe me.

Ida-sensei selected two of his students, Kamu Nagasawa, who studied under Ida-sensei and is now a professional sculptor and Koichiro Bambara, who has just finished his undergraduate studies with Ida-sensei.

This is how Kamu and Koichiro ended up attending the Suttle Lake symposium in 2016. They provided an incredible stimulus to the NWSSA community and, attending the symposium, they told me, changed their lives.

- Kentaro Kojima


Sunday, August 21

We left Seattle and headed to Suttle Lake in Oregon. This gave me the chance to see the American west-coast landscape. Tall pine trees, freight trains and railway tracks, a huge military base, the Columbia River, vast farmland.

Around here, it didn't rain this time of the year. So, the air was dry and dust got kicked up as the wind blew. This was a great environment for carving.

Dinner was prepared by the staff of the camp. It tasted good and the quantity was right.

I was looking forward to the week ahead.

At night, we made a campfire. The night was dark at Suttle Lake. So, the stars were very beautiful. It had been a while since I saw so many stars.

Monday, August 22
I woke up early and walked about the trails of the camp. I saw many chipmunks all over the place and as I looked up, I saw an eagle flying. This place was quite different from Japan. Many of the trees had burnt marks. I heard that there was a forest fire a while back. To see tall white withered trees and burnt trees among low brushes was pretty surreal.

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Women's Hand Carving Workshop

JUNE 2-3-4, 2017

Location: Old Alcohol Plant Inn, 310 Hadlock Bay Road, Hadlock, WA. (6 miles South of Port Townsend)

Hours:     Friday 11:00am – 4:00pm Sat. 10:00am – 4:00pm
Sat. evening Gallery Walk/reception 5:00pm – 8:00pm
Sun. 11:00am – 1:00pm

If you aren’t a hand carver, bring a partly finished piece you can rasp, chisel, or sand. I will have my Fordham flex-shaft for people to use. Bring whatever other tools you might need.

There is room for 7 to 8 canopies on the lawn in front of the Hotel, so two people can share one canopy space. Bring a worktable, chair or stool.  If you have sculpture pedestals for up to 3 of your finished sculptures for the show and sale, bring them. (I have 5 or 6 extras I will bring.) Try and keep the size under 30 lbs. please. This is a Volunteer event so bring a bottle of wine and something for our Friday evening Pot Luck Picnic. Items needed: Paper plates, plastic forks knives & spoons. Cups, napkins. Let me know what food you plan to bring so we don’t have 10 pots of beans.

The Hotel is not charging us to use their space for this event so (25% of all sales will be donated to their Non-Profit. Charity.)

Total cost: Registration fee, $100.00 for NWSSA.

$120.00 for two nights at the Hotel for each person (two to a room.) I have reserved four rooms, so it’s first come-first served. Bring your own Toiletries and Bath Towels (no maid service which has kept the cost down.)
There is a Motel ½ mile away for anyone else.

Click Here For Registration Form

Phone: 360-301-1085 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Stone Splitting Party


Matt Auvinen with stone
Editors’ note: Carlo A. Dondero came to America as a boy with his Italian parents. By 1858, he owned a print shop at 417 Clay St San Francisco. Soon thereafter he bought the quarry land from a distant relative of Eddie Oneto’s and in SF he met Leland Stanford who put up $50,000 to open up the quarry.

Off and on from the 1880’s through the l920’s the stone was shipped to Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco where the Musto marble company cut and polished it for buildings in the City. Some of it was used on the museum building at Stanford University. The quarry has been virtually unused for the last 80 years.

By Matt Auvinen

Through the network of the NWSSA emails I heard that Eddie Oneto, having bought the property, was hoping to introduce his forgotten marble to the world. Eddie had recently widened the old road to an abandoned marble quarry on his property. He pulled out some blocks that had been split from the mountain by the Italian workers and left behind a hundred years ago. Eddie kindly sent me some pictures and I was immediately curious about how useful this material might be for our carving community. After a couple phone conversations Eddie invited me to Jackson to visit the old quarry site.
Tree Shot
Just off of HWY 55, Eddie has a beautiful ranch a few miles from Jackson, CA. The drive just east of Sacramento offers some of the most idyllic views of the foothills that lead to the Sierra Nevada Mountains. As I drove up to the ranch house I saw that Eddie had already prepared his ATV in a trailer behind his pickup. He was cordial and generous with his time as we discussed the old quarry.

Lee Imonen Cutting Al Doug watching
The drive to the quarry took us through several winding tree lined roads until we had to unload the ATV to drive the final mile on a single lane gravel path to the quarry. From the narrow and tree shaded path a light grey monolith of stone appeared in stark contrast to the pines and underbrush. Most apparent on the stone wall were the parallel drill marks spaced at 3 inch intervals where the blocks were split from the marble outcropping. 

We loaded several small pieces into the RTV and I took these home to Chico. The next day I carved a simple capital with curved surfaces. The marble has large crystals that resemble Greek marble. There are extensive dark grey veins throughout the material with occasional straight brown veins. Small oval pockets of very translucent calcium carbonate can be found as well as very hard dark quartz crystals. This material will hold an edge from a grinder and takes a good polish.

3 of the typical quarry blocks made available to usAfter the quarry visit, and after some discussion about the future of this marble, Eddie decided to organize a BBQ and "splitting party. For a fee of $200; participants were offered a tour of the abandoned quarry, a lunch and steak dinner, and a minimum 200 lb. block of this rare Californian marble.

Splitting stoneFifteen stone carvers showed up for the festivities from all over the west coast. The generous spirit and friendly atmosphere was just what I was accustomed to from attending all of the stone carving symposiums in Washington, Oregon and California. 

As part of the entertainment Eddie asked me to demonstrate some old tools and techniques for carving stone. I showed how the pointed and toothed hammers were used in antiquity to flatten rough surfaces as well as some point chisels that were recovered from old quarries in Carrara, Italy.

The food was GREAT! Everyone went home with a smile and a block of rare marble. Eddie has indicated that he is interested in repeating this party in May of 2017.