Carvings and Mixed Media


Red Cedar Blue Heron
1.2 meters long

I often get asked to make carving tools for local cedar carvers, and for a long time I used an old fence post that had washed up on a high tide to test out the tools.  One day while trying out a tool the natural shape of the grain in the wood suggested to me the beak of a heron, so I kept on carving.  This carving is on long term loan to the Blue Heron Bakery, in Olympia Washington.  I would encourage everyone who can to go there and see it.  Speaking of the Blue Heron Bakery; they recently had me make for them six copper lamp shades for hanging sockets, they have installed over the new counter.  Pictured below, you can also see those while ordering coffee and pastries



Maneki Neko

24K Gold and Jet – 35 mm high

I have long been fascinated by the folklore of the beckoning cat, and have wanted to carve one for some time now. I also like the image of the black cat with the gold coin. In this case the cat is carved from a block of jet, a variety of carveable coal. The coin is slightly oval, and the front of the cat was made so that I could insert the coin and turn it until it stuck fast.

Black Tea

Sterling silver, jet, and lapsang souchong tea – 40 mm

I was playing around with a chip of jet one day when I noticed that it was roughly the shape of a kanji character. I don’t know why, but the rest of the project just followed from there.  The carving is set in blackened silver, and is padded with tea leaves pressed into the setting.



Sterling silver, caribou antler, glacial gravel, alabaster, and pipe stone. – NFS

I made this piece to commemorate my first trip to Alaska. While there I was injured crossing a river on a fishing trip. My left foot was crushed between the rocks so that the skin was broken on the bottom. It was quite painful, so I just waded barefoot out in the cold water, to keep it clean, and keep the swelling down. I caught a big female salmon, which I smoked and ate. I think you can see all of that represented here.


Dog Dreams

Buff Limestone

In this sculpture I wanted to convey the way that dogs sleep, with the paws folded together, and the way they dream with all the little twitches of the face and feet.


Seed of Inspiration

Mudstone and Cedar Bark

I have always loved both spirals and cordage. In this case I wanted to make a sculpture that had no definite front or back, top or bottom. I cut a groove around the middle of the stone, and worked the cedar bark tight inside it with one end forking like seed leaves, and the other dividing over and over again like roots.  The stone itself is a concretion, that is a stone nodule that forms around a shell long buried in mud and sediments.


Sand Fish

Tenino Sandstone

This one is a shallow relief carving of a fantasy fish that was suggested by the shape of the stone.



Tenino Sandstone – Sample

This is a smallish trial piece, a keystone about the right size for the shorter sort of red brick. I wanted to work out the details of carving the stylized leaves, and making them work with the facial features. I would welcome custom work of a similar nature.

If you have questions about any of my work, or want to see more detailed images of any of the things you see here do not hesitate to contact me.

Bill Dawson
2103 Harrison Ave. NW  Ste. 2.
P.M.B. #341 Olympia, WA 98502

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