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President's Message

President's Message - May-June 2014

It's been a real pleasure to watch the Camp Brotherhood and Silver Falls symposiums come together. Ben Mefford, under Barbara Davidson and Pat Barton's tutelage, is leading the 'Camp B' effort and Doug Wilshire working with his team of Tom Urban, Rich Hestekind, Lee Imonen, and Kim Lewis have put together this year's Silver Falls. We have a really good lineup of instructors and activities at both symposiums. For those who cannot make both, it will be a difficult choice. Carl Nelson

At CampB this year, Jade Carving will be mentored by Deborah Wilson and Nathanial Cook. Deborah will be working with a small number of carvers on medium scale Jade pieces and Nathanial will be mentoring work on smaller pieces. Gerda Lattey will be teaching direct carving of basalt and we have arranged with Marenakos to provide basalt for those who wish to give harder stone a try. Jason Quigno will be teaching what he calls his weightless forms in Limestone. He calls his style flowing and graceful and keeps the lines and forms simple to push that feeling of peace so that people notice without being told. Google him or check out: or 


I've enjoyed the Silver Falls working title of "Where East meets West - from classical processes to modern technology." In this context they've assembled Kazutaka Uchida to mentor carvers and talk about his work on a small basalt piece, Matt Auvinen to mentor and talk about his assemblages work in marble using classical techniques and forms, Tracy Powell to mentor and provide his perspective on soft stone carving and Stuart Kendall to talk about advanced custom stone cutting equipment for large scale projects, such as his work on the Ten Thousand Year Clock. There will be many opportunities to talk about their art; their approaches to carving and how new technologies will impact the carving process.


There are so many good people and things to be learned at each symposium.


And finally for those of you are interested in learning to carving or refining your skills and have been putting it off, please consider attending one or both symposiums. As I often say to folks, all you have to do is register and show up with a good attitude. We feed you; provide a place to sleep, all the tools you'll need to learn and awesome mentors. Please come.


... Carl


President's Message - Jan-Feb 2014

There may be some hard choices about how to allocate your time in the next four months. They are filled with many opportunities for stone carvers. There is something for every NWSSA member and for anyone wanting to know more about stone carving and pursuing their creative life and careers. 


There will be a three day hand carving workshop starting April 25th on Camano Island at the Matzke Fine Art Gallery and Sculpture Park, which is a wonderful introduction to stone carving as well as great place to hone your hand carving skills.   

For those already carving, beginning May 5th, two NWSSA veterans George Pratt and Michael Binkley will be holding in Vancouver, BC a five-day no nonsense intensive professional carving workshop for those who make (or want to make, a living carving stone). 

The week after that is StoneFest, where for the tenth year, Marenakos brings stone carvers, stone masons, letter carvers, landscape designers, architects, and those who simply love stone, together to make great things in Issaquah. 

For those with an interest in figurative carving, Sabah will teach a one day workshop on head/face carving at his studio on Feb 15th, to be followed on March 15 by one on figurative carving. These are a great way to get the hands on hands-on basics of figurative carving and one-on-one instruction from Sabah.

Tim Reisenauer, a psychologist, will be holding a one-day workshop the first of March on using your personal strengths to find your personal carving style. This workshop comes with an on-line survey that you will use in the workshop to talk about your strengths and how to use them in pursuing your work. To learn more visit and take the “VIA Survey of Character Strengths.” Even if you don’t go to the workshop you’ll find it interesting, especially if you are a fan of the books: the Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron or I’d Rather Be in the Studio by Alyson Stanfield.

So many good things that will make your time carving productive and meaningful, hope you can make some of these events.

Carve proud…



President's Message - Nov Dec 2013

From the President...  

Let me tell you a little about the new workshops we're doing.

They have gone well and the Nov 16th Photographing 3D Art was wonderful teaching by example with a lot of interaction and questions. See the Nov 16th post at or on the NWSSA’s FaceBook page. Greg Krogstad brought his professional gear and Dan Colvin brought, “A good camera with a Home Depot supplemented” set-up. They took the time to explain how the equipment worked and what they were out to achieve by working with the stone carvers who brought pieces to photograph.

A few take-aways from my experience:

1. The photo you want to take should invite the viewer to ask more about the piece, not about the photography.

2. Nothing substitutes for a basic understanding of “how to use a camera to take a photograph” meaning to produce good photos you need an idea of how depth-of-field and f-stops work.

3. There’s an order and iterative process to setting up for a good photo.

a. Set your camera and piece for an initial composition

b. Set up main light source

c. Adjust background light(s)

d. Focus composition for shot and adjust.

e. Adjust fill lighting as needed. Once you have gone thru steps a-e and don’t think it’s a good image, move the camera, piece, base, or backdrop. If you like the image of your piece, consider leaving the lighting in place and rotating it for additional images that might better communicate your work.

Many thanks to Gregg and Dan for their teaching, Jack Stevens for his voice activated support, the stone carvers who, from the level of interaction I saw, really enjoyed themselves, and of course Marenakos for providing the great space to hold the event.  

And on a final note, one of the questions we asked in the workshop survey to our members was “Finding Your Style”. I was surprised at the interest (sandwiched in priority between “Pedestal Building” and learning about “Group & Juried Shows”) and think it deserves to be a future workshop. I will have more to say in the next issue and if all goes well there will be workshops related to this topic.

Camp Brotherhood 2014 is taking shape and there will be much to talk about in the coming months.

Keep checking Facebook for posts and the web site for upcoming workshops.

Learn much & share with many.
Carl Nelson  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.