Meet the Artists

Sammy Long (M.A., M.S.) had successful careers in education and as a writer of documentaries and training films when he discovered his keen interest in sculpture. Dropping everything and enrolling in the sculpture department at San Diego State University, he took all available classes, and studied figure sculpting with Jesse Dominguiz and metal work with Jerry Dumalo. He then began studies at Scottsdale Artist School, and learned advanced sculpting from Lincoln Fox, Tuck Langland and Eugene Daub, and stone carving with the renowned Fred X. Brownstein. After moving to the lovely San Juan Islands of Washington, he and two helpers built Spirit Bear Studio overlooking Haro Strait, where he works happily on his creations daily.

Spirit Bear Studio - cozy in the winter


Laura Long ... While vacationing on the Bandon-by-the-Sea beach in Oregon about 30 years ago, she met an American Indian sculptor who taught her many of the basics of wood carving.  When she returned home she ordered a set of Swiss chisels and continued carving bas-reliefs as time permitted.  Soon it was obvious that her horizons would broaden if she learned how to make furniture into which carvings could be incorporated .  A neighbor sold her a set of woodworking machines that had rusted in his yard which they set up in a part of the garage.  She pulled the machines apart, cleaned and reassembled them and that process taught her how they worked.  Then she read some woodworking journals and boldly set out to make a Southwestern bench based on a sketch of a 16th Century New Mexico antique. That first bench (and three other pieces) subsequently sold to people who liked her style of wood-working.

They sold that first set of old equipment when they moved to Friday Harbor and purchased all new wood-working machines and tools for their hand-built Spirit Bear Studio.  The studio projects are their "soul work" and the true center of their lives.  Now Sammy and Laura collaborate on building her furniture designs.  He uses his casting skills to replicate her carvings for incorporation into the furniture which introduces different colors and textures into the designs.


Studio Interior - during an Open House
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