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Sculptor Bernie Hosey Dies

photoBernie Hosey. Photo courtesy

Internationally known metal sculptor Bernard F. Hosey, 64, died at his home near Twisp Thursday morning, August 9, of "apparent acute cardiac arrest," according to Okanogan County deputy coronor Larry Higbee.

Higbee said Hosey had undergone heart surgery in 2009. Okanogan County sheriff's deputies were the first responders, he said. They arrived at Hosey's home shortly before 8 a.m., followed by Aero Methow.

Deputy Ottis Buzzard, then Aero Methow medics, tried unsuccessfully "for some time" to resuscitate Hosey, according to Higbee. They relayed vital sign readings to Dr. Christopher Hogness of Winthrop by telephone during their efforts. Dr. Hogness pronounced Hosey's death.

Hosey's work is familiar locally as well as regionally, nationally and internationally. The town of Twisp commissioned Hosey to create the metal entrance sign installed in 2010 at the Highway 20 entrance to Glover Street. And one of his distinctive large metal spheres sits on the grounds at TwispWorks.

His home was adjacent to his studio and sculpture garden on the Twisp-Winthrop Eastside Road and many monumental pieces of his work were familiar to passersby.

"This guy was catching fire and not just here, but in China and Germany," said John Braseth, owner of Woodside Braseth Gallery in Seattle, which represented Hosey.

Braseth, who considered Hosey a friend as well as a client, said, "I watched him go from just being discovered to making his living from his art... When I would visit him in the Methow, he would say, 'How do you like my office?' "

"Bernie had a great life," Braseth added, describing him as a man with "a tremendous sense of humor and a kindness of heart. He seemed to have time for anyone who asked about his art. He was a born educator... There was no artist I represented in my 36 years who was so easy to deal with."

Hosey was born in Canada in 1948. "He moved to the United States in 1965 where he acquired training in sculpture with an emphasis on metal and engineering," according to his profile posted on He received a master of fine arts in 1981 and moved to Seattle.

As a student, his work was exhibited in New York at the Museum of Contemporary Crafts in Manhatten and the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. After receiving his master's degree he completed commissioned works for the State of Alaska, the City of Mercer Island as well as corporate and private patrons, according to his web site.

In 2007 the Bejing Municipal Bureau of Culture invited Hosey to create a sculpture for the 2008 Olympic Games, which he did. He returned to China numerous times since 2007 and his monumental sculptures are installed in Urumqi, Tangshan, Tonling, Taizhou and Beijing.

At the time of his death, Hosey had just completed a commission for the Yakima Giving Circle in Yakima, Wash. It is a sphere he titled "Transcendence," and is to be installed in front of the Larsen Building in downtown Yakima two weeks from now.

Masks, platters and wall pieces are among his smaller sculptures. Of his small works, Hosey said, "It has taken many years to achieve the skills where my hands can create with pleasure and knowledge. The small sculptures are pure enjoyment for me."

Hosey is survived by his wife, Christianna Heinemann.

A potluck memorial is scheduled for Sunday, August 12, 2012 at 4pm at Bernie's place.  191 East Twisp-Winthrop Rd - Look for sculptures.


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Here is Janet's poem. She visited Bernie's shop when it was still in town.
This poem was published in her book Tidelines. Jennifer Wallis

The Foundry

He pulled down his mask, said
"Watch these pieces, they're still hot."
The drummel with sanding dish whirred to a stop,
a disarray of shards lost their pink
leaving a collage of steel tailings on the concrete,
his monolith nearing completion.

Clutter, shelves with vice, clamps, gloves,
welding hood, hammers.
Piles of thick steel slabs, coils of copper wire.
15' of round iron, the unfinished backbone
of a 40' sculpture...almost a Dante's workshop,
windowless, swirls of electircal cords,
acetylene gas tanks, bolts.

"Look at this," he directed
setting down his drill, lifting his
boot off a steel box footstool.
He pushed aside a dolly with two
large oxygen tanks...this tall man
who pounds the effluvia of dreams
into solid shapes contrasting.

There - a shortened curved telephone pole
sculpted of black iron
secured into a stitched base of metal rectangles,
its wood railroad tie crossbar
still holding the old teal green insulators.

Fabric covered wires looped askew
as maybe months of heavy snow and
gale winds had nearly brought this
communication lint to its end.
But, not quite. Though desolate
as a black and white photo
the pole, its crosspiece and wires
survived it this artists studio...

Hung from one side of the crossbar
a blown glass lamp shade:
creamy, circular, hanging free -
maybe three feet long, teardrop shape
the color of coral found just inside the wet lip
of a conch shell...warm coral, subtle.

The contrast of cold, grey and disconnected
to smooth, heavy glass
offering light and warmth
was an invitation to cuddle
in a blanket beneath it
to float as the artist had
slipping easily past barriers
we accept in our lives as rules.

Janet Corely