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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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