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Goodbye to the Holidays, the pieces we carved, the pieces we didn't carve; goodbye to 2016. 

Hello to a new year, new possibilities, the pieces we will carve, the pieces we hope to carve; hello to 2017.

That said, there's still enough hibernation time before spring to reflect on our processes, plan new pieces and gather our creative and material tools together. Half the fun of carving is the preparing to carve. The French have a phrase “mise en place," which means to put everything in place. Of course, being French, it’s usually about getting everything ready to cook: all your herbs and spices, utensils, pans and pots. It works well for carving as well. Getting our ideas lined up, our tools sharpened and ready, the stone, the workbench…and we’re ready to go.

We all have our own unique process. In this issue, we talk with two carvers, James Ballard and James Larson, about their processes. Usually carving is a solitary pursuit. To do it, we must be mindful of our own personal methods that have evolved along with us. However, learning how others carve in their solitary way can inform our hands and eyes in new and wonderful ways. The Realization that we are not really isolated in our solitary work, that others have the same frustrations and joys, weaves us into the larger fabric of stone sculpting. Learning how others approach similar work builds a useful connection, giving a sense of fullness to what we do.

And NWSSA gives us a chance to be part of that larger fabric. Arliss Newcomb and Mark Andrews continue the conversation about how being part of NWSSA affects them and their creative process.

So here’s to us as individuals and as part of a group. No matter how it feels sometimes, we are not alone.

Lane and Penelope

Penelope CrittendenLane Tompkins
Penelope and Lane