Washington State Magazine

Spring 2011 cover

Spring 2011

In This Issue...


Outside In—Architecture of the Pacific Northwest :: Architecture in the Pacific Northwest has always had to contend with the environment. The results are enchanting. by Hannelore Sudermann

The Song Is You—An instinct for music :: What is music good for, anyway? by Eric Sorensen

Back in the Earth—Putting ancestors to rest, or destroying the past? :: Over the last two decades, tribes have been invoking the Native American Graves Protection and Recovery Act to reclaim remains of their ancestors from museum and research collections across the country. But what if those remains are 10,000 years old? by Tim Steury


The Strength of Moral Capital :: For people living on the margins of U.S. society, struggling with both poverty and job loss, there is still a desire to conceive of themselves as inheritors of some version of the American Dream. by Jennifer Sherman


{ WEB EXCLUSIVEVideo: Gary Brinson gives advice for investors in the 2010s }

{ WEB EXCLUSIVEVideo: The EcoWell story }

{ WEB EXCLUSIVEGalleries: Paintings of Washington pioneers by Worth D. Griffin and a selection of Griffin’s sketches and other artwork }


:: FIRST WORDS: Nature Boy reads on

:: SPORTS: Run to greatness

:: IN SEASON: Dungeness crab


:: SPORTS: Hit or be hit

:: LAST WORDS: Canjo

{ WEB EXCLUSIVEVideo: How to clean a crab }

{ WEB EXCLUSIVEVideo: John Elwood plays the Cougar Fight Song and other music on the canjo }

{ WEB EXCLUSIVEGallery: John Elwood’s canjos and studio :: Photographs by Zach Mazur }


{ WEB EXCLUSIVEGallery: Images from Kim Fay’s book Communion: A Culinary Journey through Vietnam :: Photographs by Julie Fay Ashborn }

Cover photo: Architect Rex Hohlbein ’81 sits with clients Jim and Ann in an open sliding window of their home in Clyde Hill. by Michael Mathers.

{ WEB EXCLUSIVEStory: About the cover: The Hinoki House by Michael Mathers }

Last Words


by | © Washington State University

You’ve enjoyed the cheese, but what do you do with a Cougar Gold can? 

John Elwood ’01 builds fine stringed instruments—dulcimers, mandolins, banjos, harpsichords— so using the iconic tin Cougar Gold can to craft a banjo seemed a logical choice. The Palouse-area resident created a canjo, a fretless, tunable instrument for all ages.

“These are three-string, robust instruments, have the scale dimensions of a violin, and are inexplicably pleasant to the ear,” says Elwood. “I blame it on the excellence of the cheese.”

His affection for WSU’s signature cheddar developed early as he helped his father, Lewis Elwood ’65, clean Troy Hall, the former home of Ferdinand’s.

Elwood was not alone in thinking to put strings on the musical can. Last year, the WSU Creamery received a canjo built by Dennis Skelton, an instrument maker in Georgia and father of Pullman resident Duane Skelton.

Watch a video of John playing the Cougar Fight Song and children's classic "Shortnin' Bread" on the canjo, and his own composition on the dulcimer.

Categories: Music, Alumni | Tags: WSU Creamery, Musical instruments, Banjo, Cheese

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