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Gallery in a Box and a Baton Pass

Today I bought a “Gallery in a Box” (or something to that effect) for Sunnyshore Studio and, at the same time, experienced a “Baton Pass” (or something of that sort) from a Camano Art Institution.

Here is that story.

For 12 years Doris Platis has been the Director of Seagrass Gallery whose current home is at Terry’s Corner. Over the past 12 years she has shown my dad’s, my sister’s, and most recently my brother Jed’s art. Her Gallery has been an anchor for the emerging “artist colony” on Camano Island.


A few weeks ago, I heard through a Camano Arts Association (CAA) member, Melanie S., that Doris was closing Seagrass Gallery so that she could focus more on making her own art. Melanie knew that we were trying to figure out a way to display art at Sunnyshore Studio (beyond just using the walls) and connected Doris and I together over our mutual need: Doris’ to sell the art displays used in Seagrass Gallery and I to buy (or have built) art displays for Sunnyshore Studio.

I met up with Doris at Seagrass. She explained to me the versatility of the system she uses, Pro Panels: how light they are, how easy to be configured for different layouts, and how the were great for outdoor booths also.

Since my wife Jenny is the Director of Sunnyshore Studio she was given the responsibility to make the final decision. She discussed different options with my dad and brother Jed; both Dad and Jed thought that we should build more permanent displays, but they also saw the benefit to taking our time to figure out precisely what our permanent displays should be.

Doris gave us an generous offer on her Pro Panels: 50% of their going price. Plus she would sell us signage, a print rack, display pedestals, and lighting.

Jenny decided that purchasing the Pro Panels from Seagrass Studio would give us time to figure out what works best with the space; that would give us multiple options until we land on the perfect design; and that once we figure out the best layout design for the permanent rolling panels that we could then use the Pro Panels for shows that require portable booth set up.

More than getting a “Gallery in a Box” I was thrilled that we would be able to help each other, and more significantly, that in some way Doris could pass the baton of her great Gallery on to us!

All of this, in God’s grace, came together with perfect timing. As you can see from these pictures the walls in the Studio are painted. We’re inching closing to being able to move in!

And when we do move in we have Doris and Seagrass Gallery to thank for their incredible generosity. We hope that we can carry on their tradition of offering great art at affordable prices to Islanders and visitors to our Island.





Our Hike on Grandpa Jack’s Leavenworth Property

Grandpa Jack owns property near Leavenworth, a unique town in the Cascade Mountains.

Last week Julian, Dad and I adventured up into the hills that make up the eastern section of the property. We left our lodge in Plain and took the 15 mile Chumstick Highway to reach the rugged and beautiful hills.

Along the way, Dad told us about how his father had grown up in Plain during his senior year and that this property was special to him.

Since the location is in a key location close to Leavenworth – a town based on Bavarian architecture and well known as a tourist attraction – Grandpa Jack has a grand idea to build a lodge for people to stay in.

Many times he also told me about the vast number of trees located on the hills of his property, trees that would produce good lumber if they were logged. Although Grandpa’s logging days are over, he still has a love of felling timber.


After hearing so much about the property, Julian and I were excited to see it in the light of day. Upon arriving at the property we followed a road that crossed Chumstick Creek by means of a concrete bridge. This bridge, Dad told us, was the result of lots of effort and resources that Grandpa had poured into it.


We waded through low bushes, and climbed up a relatively gentle slope until we reached a clearing. Quiet blanketed the trees until a train passed by, hooting its horn past the stretch of trees between us and the highway.

Moving out of the heat of the sun, we entered the trees. Although it was cooler in the shade, the uphill grade increased fivefold. Instead of climbing straight up the sandy and unsteady hillside, we followed deer paths carved into the hills. I filmed the entire climb up, although much of the time I was scrambling to stay balanced.


Dad and Julian kept climbing uphill, and buoyed on by their unflagging enthusiasm, I climbed as well.

It seemed as if we would never reach the top, as reaching each peak only revealed a new peak to climb. Nearing the top of one of the peaks, I complained that if we keep on going, we would eventually climb to the peak of a mountain. Thankfully, we reached a rather flat area, and decided that this was high enough.

Overall, we hiked around a mile as the crow flies, and probably gained some hundreds of feet of elevation. Here’s a little video of our view from the top.

The length of the hike was less important, however, than the accomplishment of hiking to the top of Grandpa’s property, something that Dad had never done.


During the journey, we witnessed the beauty of the mountains and began to understand that whether through logging or a bed and breakfast, Grandpa Jack’s dream is still a possibility.


Cama Beach and I Remember Fishing with Dad

I’m excited that I Remember Fishing with Dad is now being sold at the little store at Cama Beach on Camano Island.
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Cama Beach resort was built on a deserted logging camp. It was opened on May 19, 1934 by LeRoy Stradley as a fishing resort. His daughter Muriel Risk and her husband took over management of the resort in 1938.
By 1984 the “Finest Saltwater Resort on the Coast” was the last of 5 salmon fishing resorts that had been located on Camano that remained open. I remember dad driving me down the long road that wound through the large Douglas Firs down to Cama and meeting her.
But most of what I remember about Cama is fishing for salmon. Dad and I used to fish for salmon in front of Cama beach in the 1970 and 1980s.
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Cama remained open until 1989. Muriel passed away in 1990. An era of Camano Island history ended.
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What happened next is a beautiful story, well told by Val Shroeder in her book Exploring Camano Island. The short story is that Muriel’s family worked with Washington State Parks to turn the beautiful property into a WA State Park. In 1994 Cama also became one of the homes of the Washington Center for Wooden Boats.
Cama officially opened to the public on June 21, 2008.
That summer (July 2008) Jenny and our kids, my brother Jed and his wife Renae, Renae’s parents and her niece, my sister April and her husband Roger and her kids spent a day of our summer vacation visited the newly re-opened Cama Beach resort.

We toured the quaint little cottages that look at on Saratoga Passage.

We enjoyed watching the woodworkers at the Center for Wooden boats and admiring the boats.
But most of the time we lounged around on the beach. It was a sunny day, a lazy magical Camano day at the beach. We skipped rocks. Took some pictures. Laid in the warm sand.
We did what so many families had done decades before and would do for decades to come!
Last February I was able to bring a team of leaders from the church I pastor in Redmond for an overnight retreat at Cama. We had a wonderful time together, feasting at the Cama Beach cafe and enjoying a late night bonfire on the beach.
I’m so glad that Cama Beach Resort is once again a thriving resort on Camano and a magical place for families to get away. I’m delighted to have I Remember Fishing with Dad at the little store and Cama Beach and I want to give a special shout out to Peg Boley who gave me the opportunity share my book there!

A Weekend of Rafting

A pillar of Sunnyshore Studio’s mission is to share the beauty of Camano Island. Sunnyshore Studio exists as a destination for artists, friends, travelers, family, and community to come and enjoy an enriching experience on the island. Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances, Faith of A Mustard Seed, an urban youth outreach program from Indianapolis was unable to join Sunnyshore Studio for our inaugural Sharing Camano Week. Thankfully, Sunnyshore Studio was recently able to share Camano Island in another way, a Fourth of July camping and adventure weekend with young adults from Redeemer Redmond.

On Sunday afternoon, after a delicious and spicy West African meal our group consisting of my brothers Jacob and Judah, and our friends Eric, Elroy, and DK made our way towards Camano Island. The objectives of our adventure expedition were to go camping at Sunnyshore Studio, hang out on beaches of Camano, celebrate the Fourth on my Aunt and Uncle’s beautiful farm, and build an enormous raft and sail around the Island.

Once we arrived on the Island we headed to the beach on my Aunt and Uncle’s farm where began construction of the raft. We made our way down to the beach just as the tide was coming in. We scoured the beach filled with driftwood for flat planks, big logs, and long poles. Once we had assembled our materials we maneuvered the heavy logs into the shallow water. Next we roped the logs together to provide stability and nailed planks across the boards to fasten the logs together. As we nailed the tide began edging out, forcing us to move quickly to push the half-constructed raft deeper into the water. We strained with all our might to push what felt like a few thousand pound raft into the water, but alas the mud impeded our efforts and the raft was stuck along the shore. We decided to return on Monday to put the finishing touches on the raft and begin our expedition.



We drove down to the South End of the Island to Sunnyshore Studio where we pitched our tents and started a raging bonfire. Elroy fired up the grill for our dinner of hot dogs while Judah chopped up some firewood. After we consumed some hot dogs Judah started roasting his world famous s’mores over the fire and DK whipped up some delicious Korean barbecue. After we finished eating Judah and I settled into our tents and fell fast asleep, while the other guys stayed up late into the night talking.





We awoke to the chirping of birds around 8:00 A.M. A typically Pacific Northwest overcast and cloudy sky greeted us as we stepped out of the tents and raced about our campsite setting up breakfast. As Jacob and I started a fire and made some bacon, Judah and Elroy ventured down the road to my grandparent’s home where my grandmother’s famous cinnamon rolls where waiting for them. After they returned our whole crew dug into a breakfast of bacon, scrambled and hardboiled eggs, cereal, and muffins.

They tide was so far out from the beaches that we had to wait a couple of hours until we could go back to the beach where our raft was stored. To pass the time Elroy introduced us to the card game Bridges and time quickly flew by while we played. Around noon we packed up our tent and food and headed down the road to my grandparent’s home where my parents and sister had just arrived to. After we arrived we began packing our lunches for a day at the beach when Max, another of our friends joined us. We decided that the majority of our group would travel to Iverson Beach to hangout and relax while Jacob, Max, and I transported a canoe from my aunt and uncle’s beach to Iverson Beach. To do this we had to carry and drag the canoe across the mud flats while the tide was out. Wading ankle deep through the most ill-smelling mud and guck and sinking down to our knees at some points was easily one of the most disgusting things I had ever done. Yet through the stench we persevered, dragging the canoe until we reached the water of Iverson Beach where we then paddled to shore and met up with the rest of the crew.



Unfortunately on Monday the sun did not want to come out and stayed hidden behind an expanse of grey clouds. We gamely braved the less than ideal beach weather and played Frisbee and hung out on the beach for a few hours. Soon after we had arrived another family, the Lanes’, from Redeemer Redmond joined us. Cole and Kai, their two sons, in a driftwood fighting contest as they balanced on huge logs. Much to the amusement of our group, my dad egged them on and then spurred on by his competitive spirit, joined the fray. As the tide came in we prepared to return to my aunt and uncle’s beach to launch the raft. We drove back to the farm while my dad, Cole, Kai, and my sister canoed back to the beach.


Once we arrived on the farm we raced down to the beach to finish constructing our raft and welcome the returning canoers. As we finished nailing down the last planks and just as the water was lapping at the side of our raft, a small contingent of cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and friends cheered us on as we finished our craft. As our crew searched the beach to find poles to use as oars, Elroy and I came across a long piece of driftwood to use as a mast. As we carried it down to the raft my able cousin Josh attached the long piece of wood to the raft and then construct a support system. After the mast was nailed into the place the raft – named the U.S. Nelson – was ready to embark on her maiden voyage!






Jacob, Josh, Elroy, and I pushed off and headed out into the deep water while Eric and his friend Mai, who had joined us followed along in the canoe. The raft floated magnificently and all of us were surprised by her seaworthiness. As we poled out into the deep water we navigated through pilings and driftwood that would crash upon our raft. Suddenly Judah slipped on the raft! With a thud and an ear ringing shriek he fell into the water! He quickly panicked and grabbed onto the side of the raft proclaiming “my shirt is stuck! My shirt is stuck!” Elroy quickly hoisted him up and dragged him back on board the raft. Much to our amusement we gave Judah a hard time for freaking out in what had only been in waist deep water. He swore he saw the Kraken preparing to drag him to his watery grave.





After we had poled out quite a ways we turned back and headed for the beach. Once we arrived we decided to build a pyre upon the raft and then light it on fire when we went off to sea again. As Judah, Jacob, DK, and I piled driftwood onto the raft, Josh raced off to find diesel fuel and a blowtorch. Once he returned and the driftwood was piled high we set off again. DK, Jacob, and I poled the raft into out into the bay while Josh followed with the diesel fuel and blowtorch in the canoe, ready to pick up anyone who bailed into the water after we lit the raft on fire. Once we had reached a point far enough to the shore DK hopped in the canoe while Josh handed me the diesel fuel and blowtorch. I doused the pyre in the fluid then turned on the blowtorch. Jacob jumped off the raft and swam back to shore while I dutifully stayed on board until the driftwood piles went up in flames. As soon as it became too hot for me I hopped in the canoe and we paddled back to the beach. We reached the beach and admired our fine raft that had become a magnificent bonfire floating on the bay. We left the beach and walked up to the farm where all the family and friends had prepared a mouth-watering Fourth of July barbecue on a bluff overlooking the bay. As we devoured our food we retold the stories and adventure that had taken during our time on Camano. In the distance our raft blazed brightly as ever into the night, while fireworks lit up the sky.











Art By the Bay

Sunnyshore Studio is participating in the 24th Annual Art By the Bay, Saturday July 9th and Sunday, July 10th, 10:00am-5:00pm. We will be at booth #23, one of 89 artist and craftsman booths running down the main street of Stanwood.


art by the bay


Original art, prints, cards and books from family members will be showcased. Plus we’re planning a little fishing game for kids to go along with our beach and fishing theme.

If you’re in the area we’d love to see you. And thanks for supporting the artistic and creative life of this place we call home!

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Jed Dorsey “Pursuing a full-time career in art”

Here’s some pretty big news.
My younger brother, Jed Dorsey, is transitioning from being a full-time Young Life Staff member serving at Arsenal Tech High School to being a full-time artist.
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Jed’s huge heart for the young men and women at Tech and has had a big impact, especially the young men there. Jed and Renae’s home in Indianapolis next to Tech’s campus is a refuge for the kids. They have 50-100 kids in their home each week. Jed will continue to be in the lives of these young people rooted as he is in Indy.
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Jed is also an incredibly gifted artist. His acrylic paintings of nature and city scenes are highly sought after. So now he’s venturing out to make his livelihood as an artist.
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Sunnyshore Studio is honored that we get to showcase Jed’s work in the Pacific Northwest. We’re also tentatively planning an art workshop in the fall.
I’m proud of my brother and his courageous next step of his calling. Here’s the letter that Jed sent out this week:
Hi Friends,
You may have received this news already through our Young Life newsletter, but I am writing to make sure you know about a big change that is happening for Renae, Willow & me. I am finishing up my last week being on staff with Young Life this week (tomorrow is my last day!), and I am pursuing a full-time career in art. This has been something Renae and I have thought about for quite a while, but we never really thought that I would go off staff completely. But a little over a month ago, it became clear that God was calling us to take a step of faith and trust Him in a new way. So, I wanted to take the time to express a few things:
We are deeply thankful for you all. You have prayed for us and supported us during our time on staff with Young Life at Arsenal Tech. It has truly been a miracle to be able to be on full-time staff at an urban school where there are very limited resources. Our faith has been strengthened and our hearts filled with gratitude for the outpouring of love from God’s people.
We are still committed to urban ministry here at Tech. While this transition has made us realize again how God truly is the one who directs our steps and we can’t always see what He is doing, we feel more called than ever to be where we are. We will continue being YL ministry leaders here where God brought us through many prayers and much support. God is doing a great work in many lives, and we are excited to be part of it.
Again, thank you for your love, prayers and support.
With much love,
Jed, Renae & Willow

Update on my foray into the publishing world

Here’s an update on my foray into the publishing world.

It was fun today (June 27th) to pick up a copy of I Remember Fishing with Dad (IRFWD) at the public library in Redmond. I guess I’ve arrived as an official author since my book is in the King County Library System.

An amazing development materialized out of the blue:

In June dad did jury duty in Coupeville for a couple of weeks  during which he met a woman who owns a Payless in Freeland on Whidbey Island. She is interested in purchasing 100 books for her store at wholesale price and will donate proceeds she makes to charity. I guess there ARE some perks to having a dad who is a Promoter!

We are also taking our show to the streets. Sunnyshore Studio will be setting up an art booth at Art By the Bay in Stanwood over the weekend of July 9th and 10th. We’ll sell books, illustrations, and artwork from family members. If you’re in the area stop by and visit us.

I am going to be doing a book signing at Third Place Books in Ravenna, Seattle in August (either Sunday the 21st at 5:00pm or Monday the 22nd at 7pm). I’ve promised that I can rally at least 15 people to come out for the book signing…and totally stressing about how I’ll make that happen 🙂. Stay tuned for more details.



It also looks like Island Books on Mercer Island will be selling IRFWD. I want to give a special thanks to the advocacy of my old friend Nancy Axell, the story of which I have told elsewhere.

We sold 40 copies of IRFWD during the big Father’s Day push over May and June. Jenny was the wizard behind the curtain for this push. She asked lots of our friends to share a link to our web site over Facebook. I was so encouraged by how many of our friends championed and celebrated the book by sharing it in this way.

My book is at the following Costco stores. It will only have a shelf life of 4-6 weeks so if you shop at any of these stores you should take advantage of the great price (I think that they are like $15) and pass on this information to your friends:
Aurora Village


Finally, in terms of a BIG FUTURE PROJECT THAT’S LOOMING OVER ME, I have begun to write the text for the Beaches of Camano Coffee Table Book. The text for this book needs to be written, the illustrations painted and the layout formatted, so that it can be published in time for our the GRAND OPENING of Sunnyshore Studio on Saturday, December 3rd!

beaches brochure


Information Gathering For Sunnyshore Studio

Main image from showing 18 of the 140 AirBnB rentals in the area

The art studio has a few purposes, one of which is showing our family’s art during art shows. However, creating a place to stay in an overhead apartment is another way to use the studio year round. To achieve a studio that can act as an AirBnB rental. I researched 33 Bed and Breakfasts, rent-able houses, rooms, and cabins by looking at their costs, number of occupants, beds, bathrooms, and other important data.

What follows is a data report that I created to help determine the future of the studio apartment.



The data comes from a combination of 32 cabins, rooms, and houses that could be rented from the AirBnB website. The focus of research was on 4 key areas to find the trends that popular or heavily trafficked Bed and breakfasts.



The cost of staying a night, along with the number of people who can stay in the apartment is what people will look at to make an initial decision of whether or not to look further into the Studio Apartment. The average cost was around $135 a night, or around $35 per person per night.



Additionaly, there were additional prices for cleaning, security deposits, weekly discounts, and monthly discounts, as well as costs for housing additional people.



I found that most, but not all, hosts included free WiFi, and that many had an indoor fireplace. However, few rentals allowed parties or events to be held. We could also rent out the downstairs part of the studio to be used for events such as wedding receptions.



Renting out houses and rooms seemed to be the most common way of housing guests. The houses tend to hold the most people and are the most spacious, but often cost more than renting a room. Many houses had an additional cost for housing extra guests.



Quantifying how popular an AirBnB rental is possibly by looking at the number and quality of the reviews given by guests. I was often surprised by the number of reviews, such as the cabin in the woods which had a rating of 188, yet did not include internet. {This may indicate people often are looking for a quiet getaway from city life}



When it came down to it, I priced our apartment around the average of a house. The idea of increasing accommodation by allowing people to camp outside in tents if they wanted to could decrease the stress of piling 10 or more people into a single apartment room. Also, the apartment can serve as a main focal point, similar to our grandparents cabin when we camped up in Vancouver BC. Having a cabin to relax in was really nice, especially since the tents weren’t that great on wind protection.


Anyway, it is hard to correctly price the apartment since we don’t have solid facts about the upkeep costs of the studio. Until then, though, this will serve as a template for future decisions


A small Camano Project, Dad’s Day off

Hello from Washington,

Today Dad and I traveled up to Camano Island to work on a small project that held large implications. In order to increase the drainage from the side of the house, we dug a ravine from the existing ditch towards our runoff pipe.

We cut into the dirt using our shovels and adzes with gusto, and in almost no time at all, the second ditch was formed. Then we created a filter using rocks and landscaping fabric. The landscaping fabric was wrapped around the rocks which were piled about four inches thick. We had bought the landscaping fabric from Home Depot earlier on the trip up to Camano, and brought the rocks by wheelbarrow from Grandpa Jack’s house, a short way down the road.

digging_out_the_trench Filling_the_wheelbarrow

Moving the rocks turned out to be the hardest part of the task as I pushed them in a wheelbarrow up a steep hill, along a 50 mph road, and then finally- half out of control – raced them down a short hill and onto the work site.



Finally Done!



After workThe_two_workersing for a while, Dad and I decided to drive to Mabana beach and relax on the sand. He fell asleep next to the bulkhead, and I took the opportunity to dig in the sand, walk along the beach, and practice my cinematography skills. This short workday and day of rest was what Dad needed to de-stress with physical labor and a good nap near the lapping waves.

The final video product can be found here:


A Dear Old Friend, Hauling Firewood, and a Sign

Good friends make life easier.

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On Saturday, June 4th,  the Sunnyshore interns had the privilege to reconnect with a dear lifelong friend of my dad, Harry Baird. Dad and Harry grew up on the South end of Camano Island and went through elementary, middle, and high school together. Their childhood and friendship was filled with sports, adventures roughhousing, and genuine camaraderie.

We met Harry  in Scotty’s Dairy Freeze in North Bend. From there I had the opportunity to drive with him to Snoqualmie Pass. I rapturously listened as Harry recanted hilarious story after story of his childhood adventures with my dad.

Our goal was to transport all of the firewood that the Sunnyshore team had cut at our friend’s cabin on Snoqualmie Pass three weeks ago. Once we arrived at Snoqualmie we loaded all of it into Harry’s trailer and truck. It just barely fit!

We then set off for Sunnyshore Studio on Camano Island where we would unload the wood. In our two hour drive to Camano Harry and I conversed topics ranging from old childhood stories, my grandpa’s favorite sayings when he coached Harry’s and my dad’s baseball team, my family’s transition after our move, social issues, my life goals, and politics. While we talked I quickly realized why my father had been so drawn to Harry as a younger kid and why they still have a strong, dear friendship after all these years.

Once we arrived on Camano we unloaded the roughly 10,000 lbs. of wood.

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Then took Harry on a tour of Sunnyshore Studio. As a welder and engineer he gruffly marked his approval of the work being done on the construction of the studio.

Once our tour was complete we made our way down the road to my grandparent’s home where we devoured dinner and recanted old tales of Jason and Harry’s rambunctious childhood and friendship.

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After dinner, Dad interview Harry on their friendship and an important project that Harry was working on for Sunnyshore Studio – a metal sign of Camano Island hand welded by Harry!

In February my father had asked Harry to use his gifts as a welder to create an art installation that would be used as a sign depicting Camano Island for Sunnyshore studio. Harry describes himself as “not an artsy-fartsy guy”, but after showing us the progress he had made on the sign we were quick to challenge this notion.

It’s not finished, but you can get a feel for how cool the Camano Island sign will be! But way more special in that it is a gift from one of my Dad’s best friends since childhood.

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As a Camano Island boy Harry has used his abilities to showcase the beauty of Camano Island to the world through his contributions to our studio. We value Harry for his long lasting friendship to our family, to my dad, and to this Island.

Here’s the video.


by Julian

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