2017 Stone Carving Retreat/Workshop

Sue Taves

 at Matzke Fine Art Gallery

 and Sculpture Park

May 26, 27 and 29, 2017

3 day Artists Retreat on beautiful Camano Island, WA


With support from the Northwest Stone Sculpture Association and Marenakos Stone Company and Neolithic Stone.

Dear Applicant: Welcome to the beginning of what I hope will be and engaging and educational artistic experience. Founded in 2008, Matzke Fine Art and Design was created as a way to help further the critical discussion and examination of  art and culture.   Workshop includes: lunches every day.  You can find lodging at Cama Beach Park or  choose to stay at one of our local B n B’s (Camano Island Chamber of Commerce: Home) or commute from home.   This package contains information about Matzke Fine Art Gallery and Sculpture Park, Workshop Syllabus outlining the daily schedule, an Application Form, Applicant’s Health Statement, a Medical Waiver, Credit Card Authorization Form and an Application Checklist.  I urge you to complete the application requirements as soon as possible. The completed application and fees are due by May 1st, 2017.  Please use the Application Checklist to keep yourself up to date with your application. Please know all fees are non-refundable, and that if you fail to send all of the materials as well as the program fee on time you will forfeit your place at the 2017  Spring Stone Sculpture Hand Tooling WorkShop. Should you require any further information do not hesitate to call Karla Matzke at 360-387-2759 or email: matzke@camano.net.at

Thank you,  Karla Matzke


     About Instructor and Master Stone Carver Sue Taves; 

Rain column

I believe that when we open ourselves to art and it touches us, we get a spark, something indefinable, from the experience.  This connection that happens is the reason I keep creating sculpture.  Getting to carve and live on Whidbey Island just makes a good thing even better!

I have been sculpting for many years and I started sculpting in stone 20 years ago. I love the resistive material because it’s perfect for creating long graceful sharp lines and full volumes. The subtractive process drives decision-making forward not allowing one to second guess and go backward. A good metaphor for life and not just stone carving.

I’m originally from the Midwest, I made my way to the west coast in 1990 and started by taking sculpture classes at the local community college. From there began participating in sculpture symposiums and learning more from fellow sculptors. Over time I’ve moved from a small carving table in my back yard to a full sculpture studio where I can work on small and large scale sculptures using both hand and power tools.

When carving, I try to capture the natural essence of the stone in the choice of my design and to discover cohesive forms that use shape and texture to translate feelings, create moods and invite people to be drawn in.  Each piece gradually takes on a life of it’s own through the stone-carving process, sometimes revealing itself early, and other times not until the final polish.  Each work develops it’s own personality and helps create it’s own story.


The 2017 Spring Stone Sculpture Hand Tooling Workshop is open to the general public 18 years and older. Basic knowledge of stone sculpture is helpful, but not mandatory. Applicants must be able to physically handle tools.  This sculpture workshop is designed to accommodate beginning carvers as well as more experienced sculptors.  Instruction and guidance is provided to suit each individual as needed, and/or requested.  We will cover history, concepts, processes, techniques, materials, and tools associated with the creation of three dimensional forms in Stone.  Although this is a hand-carving workshop, there will be limited power and air available.   Marenakos Stone and Neolithic Stone will be our stone and tool vendor, and there will be loaner tools available from NWSSA. Workshop Objectives: 1. To provide artists with the opportunity to work and study with a Master Stone Carver.  2. To introduce the use of various three dimensional drawing and modeling techniques useful in the conceptualization of ideas in stone.   3. To encourage hands-on learning about fine art stone sculpture and refining of specialized techniques.  4.  To practice accessory skills like lifting and moving stone safely, drilling and pinning and display.  5. To explore concepts of symmetry, repetition, volume and negatives space…To have fun sharing common carving experiences with friends, new and old.   Workshop Schedule Friday – Sunday: Thursday Evening: (Check in) For those staying at the Cama Beach Cabins, and set-up of canopies on Thursday is encouraged. Lunch will be provided daily at 12:00. Catered by Wellslynn. Last year they brought different salads, desserts and always a hot dish or two, plus they will accommodated for particular food needs (gluten free and vegetarian). Please lets us know of any food restrictions, vegetarian meals?  Friday: 9:00 Registration, Guided tour will take place at 9:30 am to 10 am.  Workshop begins at 10 am until 4:30, Lunch 12:00. Optional, If you choose, Friday at 5:00pm a bunch of us will meet at the “Rockaway” on Camano for dinner.  Saturday: Workshop begins at 9:00 am to 4:30, lunch at 12:00. Potluck Party at 5:30 (BYOB).   Sunday: Workshop begins at 9:00 am, lunch at 12:00 work until 4:30 finish up with critique sharing at 4:00, 4:30 pack up and go.   Guided Workshop instruction will cover the following: Introduction to Matzke Sculpture Park and Gallery.  Review of the history of sculpture in stone.  The Design process: drawing, modeling and image transfers, choosing the right stone for your design, Tool demonstrations, stone preparation and the carving process.  Working by all participants, stone finishing techniques, discussion of proper bases and pedestals and summary review; closing critique, dialogue and questions !   Participants should bring the following: Your own Canopy, work bench, and a ground cover. (working outside ) 1 dust respirator 1 pair of protective eye glasses or goggles, basic carving tools (loaner tools will be provided) and soft stone, unless you wish to purchase them here (Stone and tools will be available at the workshop) Sandpaper or polishing pads. Ideas and questions.   Optional: sketch book, pencil, and modeling clay portfolio, pictures of your work to share and any stone carvings.    Note:  If you are staying at Cama Beach, you must bring your own sleeping bag, BYOB, (microwave, coffee pot are in each room) and breakfast available at The Cama Center.


  $ 395.  per person total  all Fee Includes: (nonrefundable)

  • Stone Sculpture instruction from Master Stone Carver; Sue Taves
  • 3 Daily Lunch
  • Individual Critiques
  • Gallery party Saturday night (BYOB and potluck/snacks/deserts)
  • There are several B & B available (Camano Island Chamber of Commerce: Home ) Lodging will be your responsibility or you may want to commute from home.

Payment Schedule: $ 395.    Full payment  is due with the completed application by May 1st.

  • Note:
    If you are staying at Cama Beach, you must reserve a cabin asap, bring  your sleeping bag,  (microwave, coffee pot are in each room) and breakfast available at The Cama Center.
  •  limited Cama Beach cabins available !



Early applications are welcome,  All documents and  payment must be at Matzke Fine Art Gallery, 2345 Blanche Way, Camano Island, Wa 98282  by May 1st, 2017.

Please email:  matzke@camano.net  Include you snail mail address.  I will send you the complete package.

Please call with any questions: 360-387-2759

Sketching in stone.  That’s the best way I know of describing the process I experience when putting chisel to stone.  The original shape of the stone itself seems always faithful to recommend the gesture that’s to be pursued.  This suggested gesture then sets into motion a period of pondering–of envisioning what twists, turns and intertwinings might be held within the stone.

Then comes the first tap of the chisel.  And with that first tap, the “conversation” is begun.  As with any good conversation, the pauses prove every bit as rich as the thoughts that are exchanged.  Listening precedes each word that’s spoken  Listening leads to the next tap of the chisel, which is followed yet again by a listening pause.  One thing leads beautifully and mysteriously to another.

I love the progressive process of conversing with the stone.  Planes intersect.  Surfaces merge and again part ways.  Forms emerge.  But I must say that I enjoy just as much the simple pleasure of watching the tool marks as they appear in the stone.  Light plays against shadow, smooth against rough.  Like the cross-hatchings made in a drawing by a stick of charcoal, or line work created using pen and ink–just as beautiful are the marks left in stone by differing chisels.

Interestingly, the conversation never seems to end.  Even when the chisels have been set to rest, my eyes continue to roam, happily exploring the outcome.
– Don Haggerty; attendee in the Stone Carving Retreat