Pacific Northwest Sand Carvers

Workshop - May 2004

Compiled by: Irene D'Aloisio, with additional input from Jim Yount and Kathryn Whitacre

Revised: August 03, 2005



Want to join us?  If you are an experienced sandcarver and live in the Pacific Northwest, and would like to be a part of an active and growing sandcarving group, just contact Greg Goett

Workshop Home Gallery

Those attending:

Becky Bergsma, Monroe, WA

Tami Bogdanoff, Lake Stevens, WA

Shane Brown, WA

Bernie Clites, Arlington, WA

Irene D'Aloisio, Edmonds, WA

Brooke Davis, Boise, ID

Dennis Davis, Boise, ID

Diana Evans, Klamath Falls, OR

Greg Goett, Everett, WA

Jane Goett, Everett, WA

Bill Jamieson, Mayne Island, Canada

Mary Anne Lauby, Richland, WA

Stan Price, Everett, WA

James Rich, Shelton, WA

Jerry Shallenberger, Boring, OR

V. J. Suttmeier, Puyallup, WA

Sandra Toomey, Smokey Pt, WA

Rob Visel, North Bend, WA

Jim Wallace, Hillsboro, OR

Lavelle Wallace, Hillsboro, OR

Kathryn Whitacre, Tacoma, WA

Jim Yount, Richland, WA

Deb Zachary, Puyallup, WA


Be sure to click the "Gallery" link above to see some photos.

So, what else would Northwest sandcarvers do on a gorgeous spring day but get together to share and learn?  It was a beautiful weekend, the first in May, when more than 20 sandcarvers gathered for the 3rd Annual Pacific Northwest Sandcarvers’ Workshop.  Or is it really the 4th,  if you count the very first one at Starbucks?   We find our group becoming larger and more diverse.  This is a good thing!  We now have some fusers, who also blast, in our group and that gives us a little more roundness so we can all grow. 

This year, it started with a small gathering prior to the workshop, when a few of the group met for preparation of some glass for our workshop projects.  Kathryn, Greg, Rob, Shane, and Irene met at Rob’s to blast the glass we’d be using so workshop time could be spent on the things we were there to learn.  Rob’s wife Cat made some excellent chili and snacks, and Rob has a great shop.  Special thanks from PNSC to all of you for the help, and for Rob for his dumpster diving for glass and Cat for her big beautiful smile and patience.  Thanks also to Stan Price and Covenant Art Glass  for providing cut glass for the workshop. 

The weekend started with a Friday night social at one of the local restaurants in Everett.  There were 15 of us for dinner alone.  After introductions and a few Margaritas and lots of chatter, we went to Stan’s shop a few blocks away.  He picked the perfect night to have an open house for his students’ work and over 200 people attended.  We checked out the up-and-coming competition and admired the skills.  Stan has a great shop and it was fun to see what others are doing in other areas of glass.   And it was a great way to start the workshop.  Stan, by the way, has volunteered to host a workshop focusing on flashed glass.  That will be exciting!

On Saturday morning, we gathered at Becky Bergsma’s studio,  Studio B Custom Art Glass,,  in Monroe, WA.  Becky is new to the group and works in many areas of glass.  She’s wonderfully talented and has some great workspace which she leases out for classes.  We felt extremely lucky that she volunteered it to us.  Thanks, Becky!!   After we finished taking the tour to see her huge kilns and got done drooling over her great studio and all that wonderful equipment, we stopped to take time to catch up with the folks who couldn’t make the dinner and the latecomers traveling from afar.  Catching up is always the best part.  Just getting to see each other again and what each of us is up to would almost be enough. 

Jim Rich, Eagle Sandcarving and Engraving in Shelton, had engraved nametags for those we expected and they were a big hit.  They make us ‘official’, with our name Pacific Northwest Sandcarvers on them.  Thanks, Jim, for your work and thoughtfulness.

We took some (more!) time at this point for Show and Tell and oohed and aahed over everyone’s latest projects – including the ‘mistakes’ they brought, and then Irene talked a little about what we were going to cover during the weekend.  The theme of the workshop was color application on glass and rock.  That included gold leafing, and painting with high-temp enamels, low-temp enamels, and airbrushing with acrylics and automotive paints.  And glue chipping too.  She reminded us that this was a workshop, not a paid class, so we should expect to learn only what others’ experience was.  We were sharing, not necessarily teaching.   But what experience this group has!!  Those folks who shared did an excellent job, and it can only be called teaching!  The class finale would be our own glue-chipped, gold-leafed piece we could each take with us.

We were ready!  Kathryn Whitacre got us started with the glue chipping so we could get our pieces ready for Sunday’s gold leafing.   She’s a terrific instructor (former industrial arts teacher!) and has a great deal of knowledge about glue chipping.  Kathryn showed us how to cook the hide glue and apply it.   She did an excellent job, sharing little details about glue chipping.  Tami, from Covenant, shared her knowledge as well.  She showed us her trick of using a huge syringe for applying the glue.  This helps direct the glue to specific areas, gives more control using less glue.  Tami teaches a class in this at Covenant, so she is an expert as well.  Needless to say, we all learned a lot and can remind ourselves of the process with Kathryn’s great handout.  Great teaching, Kathryn and Tami!

After this, we all worked on our own pieces for glue chipping.  Each person took a piece of glass which had been blasted with a geometric design Kathryn had put together.  They had their choice of pulling or not pulling sections, so each piece would be unique.  Everyone worked hard on their piece and then we put them out in the sun to dry  (Yes, Virginia, there really is sun in Seattle in May!)  where we could keep an eye on their progress.  That night, we put them in with the operating kilns to keep them dry and do some more chipping. 

Jim Yount – is there anyone who doesn’t know -  brought his samples of Fusemaster enamels and his light box.  It was a great way to see how the enamels looked on glass.  His samples included variations in the thickness of the applied paint, so we got a good look at how different applications would appear.  He provided a handout and shared with us his experiences with Fusemaster and included some tips.  He also talked briefly about other types of paint, citing differences and his opinion on each.  Thanks, Jim, for a great discussion and the view of the wonderful samples.

Lavelle Wallace gave us a superb demo on airbrushing with acrylics.  We can now see how she and her husband got to be the featured artists for May at Firehouse No. 12 in Vancouver.  She gave us a lot of detail and included the use of mica powders for luminescence.   She even showed us a little trick she learned from Raphael Schnepf in a class in Portland:  take the tip off your airbrush to get some spatter to create the speckles in irises.  Lavelle and Jim brought some of the work that will be on display at Firehouse, so we were feeling extra-special for the advance showing.  Thanks, Lavelle and Jim for the terrific session and sharing. 

On Sunday, Kathryn started with gold-leafing and everyone got to complete their piece.   Again, it was a great session with Kathryn and the hands-on was a fun and enlightening experience.  We used composite gold and Kathryn showed us how to ‘float’ the leaf right onto the sizing.  She emphasized the reasons to use water base and/or oil base products, and how to dab to get the water out from between the gold and the glass.  Great handouts, Kathryn, and another great session!   Many thanks for all your efforts for this workshop.

More talk and demos.  Greg Goett talked about Pebeo paints and gave us some good examples.  He’s worked with it a fair amount so he could share his good experiences as well as his not-so-good ones.  Greg does some beautiful work with them.   Your time and talk were greatly appreciated and truly enjoyed, Greg!

Rob Visel,, gave us a demo on rock painting.  Rob has carved some wonderful pieces and you can see them on his web site.  He did some work for a landscape company who had a booth in the Seattle Home show this year, and Rob helped them win an award with his carved rocks.  Rob uses aerosol Lithichrome paint.  He brought some carved and masked rocks and showed us how he applies three light coats rather than one heavy one.  That must be the secret because his rocks are simply gorgeous.  We did learn that Rob has another secret:  removing his shoes before he begins painting.  Thanks for sharing, Rob!

Bill Jamieson, , brought some wonderful samples of his work in various stages.  He explained how he creates his kiln-formed vases.  Actually, since everyone was so fascinated by his vases and couldn’t wait until his slot on the agenda, he found himself explaining it 15 or 20 times.  He does a lot of hand cutting and says he does it in front of the TV.   Doesn’t sound too tough, does it?  It’s a lot of work and the group fully appreciated what went into it.  Bill said he would like to show the group around his studio in Canada sometime, and we were practically panting just thinking about it.  Nice job, Bill, and thanks very much for sharing.  And, really, we didn’t mean to send you to the wrong restaurant Friday night!

Irene talked briefly on airbrushing with House of Kolor automotive paint and had some samples the group could try out.  The paints go on like silk and are virtually weatherproof.  The samples came from Coast Airbrush in California and they are interested in having an article written for the national publication Airbrush Journal on sandblasters who paint with HoK paints.   Irene agreed to do that for them in the next couple of months.  They also wanted pictures of our workshop which Irene will send with the article.

Greg did a demo on photoresist at the end of the day for those who hadn’t seen one.  There are definitely ways to make a job easier and this is one of them.  Thanks to Photobrasive for rushing the resist here in time.

As usual, we had packed more into the weekend we could get done.  But that’s not always bad.  There were idle times, times when there were no demos or hands-on going on, but the group managed to squeeze in some more yakking and catching up.  The consensus was that none of the time had been wasted.   Between- activity times were packed with questions and admiring work and hints.  Lunch time was the same way.  And neither night ended before 7PM.  There didn’t seem to be a minute when the talk wasn’t about blasting, fusing, glass, resist, paint, process, or something ‘gritty’.  Not one person complained about the $10 supply fee which covered the gold leaf, glass, vinyl, and other things, nor did anyone have to remind anyone to pay up.  Doesn’t that say a lot about this group?  We were so busy, we didn’t even get to talk about what to do next year, but it won’t seem to be a problem figuring something out.

Greg volunteered to take over the workshop coordination for the next year.  It doesn’t take a lot of time, but after three years, Irene was ready to just participate rather than coordinate.  Thanks, Greg.  Irene appreciates it and so does the group, and we all know you’ll do a great job.  Be sure to call on the rest of the us when you need help.

It wasn’t just a good workshop.  It was a GREAT workshop.  And continues to be a GREAT group.  (There were even non-sandblasting spouses who came even when the sandblasting spouse wasn’t there!  You’re our official mascot, Jane!!)  And no one can wait until next year.  It’s probable that there will be a few smaller workshops or meetings going on during the year too.  We’re just all geared up to learn and share and can’t seem to stop.  And that’s definitely a good thing.  We’d love to see others around the country get together. There’s so much to learn and so many great folks out there!

Thanks to all who came and shared and demoed and oohed and aahed and helped and asked and swept and volunteered and drove and got lost and learned and taught.  Please remember to support our sponsors who donated supplies:  Photobrasive Systems,  Coast Airbrush,  Covenant Art Glass.

Till next year!  








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