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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.
Many of these are stunning South Dakota red granite, displayed in all their glory over the 20 acres (of Hank’s fifty-five acre plot of island land,) that comprise Cloudstone. The dystopian quality of Cloudstone mentioned earlier is seen in Hank’s monumental ‘earthworks.’ There are several of these works around the acreage in which the earth has been radically moved, with snaking moats and giant berms re-employing objects that have been tossed aside by industry: rusting oil tanks and giant pipes, twisted rebar and chunks of concrete. This place is a vision of where we’re going, fraught with danger and possibly, great beauty.

Many thanks to Carl Nelson (no relation to Hank) for spearheading this adventure and for engaging Hank in sharing his vision that resulted in this spectacular place, and appreciation to Rich, who introduced Hank and thanked him for his years of on-the-ground equipment management of NWSSA’s Camp Brotherhood Symposium.

Ed note: Thanks to Kentaro and Rich who talked to Erin about the idea, and to Erin who took on the effort of getting it done. Thanks to Carl for working with Hank to make this happen. For a look at Hank’s body of work go to: