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A Visit To Hank Nelson's Cloudstone


Hank Nelson, Cloudstone Sculpture ParkGetting Hank Nelson in front of a microphone on December 8th in front of 30-plus NWSSA members and a few Cloudstone Board Members, was the only challenging part of a talk by Hank, and tour by Board members, of Hank’s vast Whidbey Island utopia/dystopia, Cloudstone.

Hank shared some of the depth and breadth of his experience in carving stone: how he learned to carve marble in the afternoons during an early year in Italy while he learned to cast bronze in the mornings; to the “macho side of me” that led Hank to work graceful yet imposing abstractions in Cascade granite; to the “really” macho side that led to his monumental sculptures.

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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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Women's Sculpture Workshop

Arliss Newcomb talks about a sculpture in progress at her studio in nearby Port Townsend. Arliss hosted us all at her home and studio for a potluck dinner during the first night of the workshop. Photo by Eva Kozun
Women's Hand Carving Weekend at the Old Alcohol Plant
Dateline: Port Hadlock, Washington

There was a subtext to the weekend that I didn’t understand at first. I was caught up in the idea of women carving together in a beautiful spot. But then I got it: This weekend of “Artists in Action” carefully orchestrated by Arliss Newcomb was the ultimate birthday celebration for her, a stone carver about to turn 80 (in October). Women came from all over for the chance to sculpt together and celebrate Arliss’ octogenarity (if there is such a thing).

Sculptor Gudrun Ongman shows a young visitor how to carve stone. Photo by Eva Kozun.The Women’s Stone Carving Weekend in early June coincided with a group show at the Old Alcohol Plant that included a large survey of Arliss’ sculptures and two local painters Gary Nisbet and Stephen Yates. Her small delicate works and large pieces filled the hotel lobby.

Over a dozen women stone sculptors set up canopies on the hotel lawn, overlooking the lovely marina. Our sculpture filled a small area nearby. The sounds of hammers and chisels, laughter, and soft conversations filled the air for three days. By the time the weekend was over, hundreds of visitors had walked the grounds, watching us work, asking questions, and buying the occasional piece. It was an opportunity to come together and as Arliss put it, “share our knowledge and expertise with each other and have fun.” We did that and more. The camaraderie and generosity of spirit everyone experienced will keep all of us motivated and energized going forward.

The event was considered a great success by all who participated. The hotel wants us back next year. All the women really liked the opportunity to sculpt together. So, anyone interested in facilitating the 2018 Women’s Stone Carver Weekend should contact Arliss for tips on creating an effective event. Silvia Behrend sculpts during the Women’s Hand Carving weekend. Photo by Carmen Chacon.

And, by the way, Happy 80th birthday Arliss Newcomb!
Participant Cyra Jane during the Women’s Hand Carving weekend. Photo by Carmen Chacon.  Sculptor MJ Anderson during the Women’s Hand Carving weekend. Photo by Carmen Chacon.  Carmen Chacon rocks her Utilikilt. Photo by Eva Kozun

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.

Marenakos Tool Day, Yard Sale & Workshop

Start Summer at Marenakos!
Tool Day, Yard Sale & Granite Cutting Workshop
June 18-19, 2016

Saturday, June 18, 2016 10am-4pm
All Tools Great & Small

Tool companies, Trow and Holden, Concut & Kubota will be giving talks in the morning explaining their line of tools and demonstrations in the afternoon. Meet Jordan from Trow & Holden who will share what’s new at Trow and Holden (including himself!). From hand tools & diamond blades to heavy lifting with Kubota, you will have information overload! This is a FREE monthly event-and includes lunch! rsvp: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Yard Sale
Come early and check out good finds that have been gathered from a collective of massive spring cleanings -- a Marenakos garage sale is one you don’t want to miss! Stone & Tools, Parts & Pieces…no rsvp needed, just come by!

Sunday, June 19, 8am-4pm

Dry stone wall workshop

For all stone enthusiasts who want to explore building with stone, this is a perfect workshop to explore the foundations.
Instructor: master waller, Nick Aitken DSWA Certified Master and Trainer, from Kingussie, Scotland.

Tuition: $75.00/day,includes lunch.
Workshop Registration due by June 12, 2016.
Registration by phone or in person Marenakos Rock Center tel. 425.392.3313 

Abstract on Orcas Retreat 2014

Past Workshops: Abstract on Orcas


This past September, several of our members interested in Abstract stone sculpture gathered together for a workshop at Michael E Yeaman's home and studio on Orcas Island to learn more about its 20th/21st century origins and evolution and to connect with other sculptors with shared interest, including abstract specialists Tom Small and Anthony Kaufmann, plus contemporary art gallery owner Lynn White. 

This dynamic weekend workshop combined multi-media presentations, group discussions, clay modelling, good food and Island recreation time. Michael Yeaman's Overview of Abstract Stone Sculpture had a great deal of good information beyond the Brancusi quote. 

2014 Camp B Instructors

Deborah Wilson, Jade Carving Instructor

Deborah Wilson
Acclaimed contemporary jade and granite sculptor Deborah Wilson is one of the few remaining veteran jade artist in Canada. Her work reflects her love for organic forms and her ongoing interest in utilizing the characteristics that define this “stone of heaven.” Deborah will be demonstrating intermediate techniques for medium scale jade carving.

Nathanial Cook
Will be mentoring students new to the jade carving process by presenting tooling and equipment ideas (ie: how to make your own point carver). A good selection of precut Canadian and UYS jades will be for sale to create small scale sculpture & pendants. A graduate of UW, he is currently acting Vice President of Bull Trout Jade mining as well as President of Acme Carvers, a new jade and hardstone-focused carving center in Acme, Washington.

JasonQuigno 0065
Jason Quigno
A Native American sculptor from Michigan works in all types of stone: soapstone, alabaster, limestone, marble, basalt and granite. He loves the process of taking a raw, dense block of stone and transforming it into a balanced and harmonious object.

Gerda Lattey, Stone Crving InstructorGerda Lattey
Predominately uses the direct carve method ton harder stones, first drawing on the stone, then roughing out the piece and finishing with a high polish. You’ll also see marks from a diamond chainsaw, grinder blades, chisels, core drills and various burrs integrated into the piece – an intended visual inclusion of the myriad of industrial tools she uses. Gerda also leaves areas of stone raw (in it skin) or with chips and marks from the quarry.

Ruth Mueseler, Beginning Stone Carving InstructorRuth Mueseler
Ruth is a conglomerate of art education teacher, silversmith, art foundry worker and 23 years as stone sculptor. Her heartfelt work ranges from miniature to monumental. As an instructor Ruth is thoughtful in manner and will engage you with humor and respect. Her approach is one of intuitive curiosity and interpreting the voice of stone.

Tamara Buchanan, Beginning Stone Carving Instructor
Tamara Buchanan
Tamara has been sculpting stone for over 25 years. Featured in many shows throughout the West, her work has won several awards. She loves sharing the process of carving stone and has been teaching at her studio on Lopez Island for more than 10 years.

Finding Your Style

When NWSSA was soliciting topics for workshops, one of the popular suggestions was: "Finding Your Style."

Carl Nelson had dinner one night with Tim Reisenauer, a friend who is a psychologist, and who occasionally teaches workshops around "positive psychology. Carl asked Martin if he would be willing to do a workshop for stone carvers. He had never worked with a group of artists and thought it might be fun. And so the "Finding Your Style" workshop was born.

Two books that are also concerned with finding the artist within you are: I'd Rather Be in the Studio – The Artist No-Excuse Guide to Self-Promotion by Alyson Stanfield and a slightly older and still very relevant book the Artist's Way – A Spiritual Path to Creativity by Julia Cameron.

Both books are well organized self-help efforts with exercises and insights, which could help you "Find Your Style" or at least get you moving towards it.

"Finding Your Style" Workshop was held March 1st, 2014. We are planning to schedule another similar class in a few months!

Spring 2014 Hand Carving Retreat

Matzke Fine Art Gallery and Sculpture Park   Karla Matzke’s Fine Art Gallery on Camano Island. In foreground are two granite sculptures by  Verena Schwippert.

April 25, 26 and 27, 2014

This three-day sculpture workshop is designed to accommodate beginning carvers as well as more experienced sculptors. 

Instruction will cover history, concepts, processes, techniques, materials, and tools associated with the creation of three dimensional forms in Stone. Marenakos Rock Center will be our stone and tool vendor, and there will be loaner tools available.

About Instructor, Master Stone Carver Alexandra Morosco:  Alexandra has been working as a professional sculptor and educator since 1991. For more information about her work,  visit her website:

Cost: $388. The 3 day workshop includes: Instruction with Master Carver, catered lunches every day, dinner Friday and Saturday and party Sat. 26th evening. 

The food is catered by Donna King. Last year she brought different salads, desserts and always a hot dish or two, and accommodated for particular food needs (gluten free and vegetarian). If you choose to stay at Cama Beach Cabins, the cost is $499.  

RSVP with deposit due by March 1st.

For further information and full package mailed to you: do not hesitate to call Karla Matzke 360-387-2759 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Matzke Fine Art Gallery and Sculpture Park, 2345 Blanche Way, Camano Island, WA  98282  360-387-2759

Vancouver Spring Event

An instructional event for advanced stone carvers.  kiss
A five-day course of instruction at Pothier Enterprises' place of business in Delta, BC, very close to the Canada/US border. (local sculptural tools dealer.) 
Michael Binkley and George Pratt, internationally known sculptors, will be the instructors. (Websites: and Andrew Pothier is event convenor/field manager. (
Workshop Mission
In working among sculptors over the years, we perceive a hardcore contingent among them who share our obsession with our craft – a small, dedicated nucleus with two burning aspirations: 
  1. To acquire the skills and tools that will elevate them to professional sculptors, making a living at the work they love. 
  2. Concurrently, gaining the insights needed to competently instruct others at symposia. 
VANCOUVER SPRING workshop will be five eight-hour days with no distractions, aimed at bringing those sculptors to that level. It will be detail-oriented rather than project oriented; i.e., a participant may be assigned a workshop project, but it could be often interrupted to address and resolve, for everyone, the issues arising from it. Instruction in state-of-the-art tooling will be constant. Emphasiswill be given to teaching how the professional may sustain her/his living by creating a collection of saleable 'coffee-table’ sculptures, including advice about marketing. 
The creation, pricing and management of large outdoor works will be addressed. Expect to work with diamond-grinding equipment on ornamental stones that stymie most sculptors, particularly JADE. 
To be able to provide one-on-one instruction, the course will be limited to 20 participants.
  • There is no official registrational/educational body in Canada for certification of stone carving instructors, but those who satisfactorily complete the course will be given a certificate of proficiency from the convening professionals.
  • Note: Vancouver Spring is not a symposium in the ‘camp’ sense. The instructional workshop is bare bones. A logistical/detail sheet will be available, 
i.e., all about local accommodation, eateries, and more. The course will be Monday, May 5 through Friday, May 9, 2014, with setup on Sunday, May 4.
Fee will be $875 Canadian + any appropriate tax.
For registration and/or queries, contact Andrew Pothier at 604 946 3811 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.