I love stones large and small. I have them lining my walkways, in my pockets, cluttering my dashboard and window sills. But the idea of taking a tool and cutting into one to create something entirely mine had not occurred to me, until this past week.
I had the opportunity to visit the Northwest Stone Sculptors Association annual symposium, this year taking place at Pilgrim Firs outside of Port Orchard. This is the 30th anniversary and many of the NWSSA members have been along for the whole ride (www.nwssa.org ). I had a vague concept of what I might see, but I was still surprised by the volume of stone dust; the noise of saws, blades and chisels; the miles of cords stringing out across the work field linking the easy-up tents to generators and power sources; and, more than anything else, the welcoming attitude of every single stone carver present. And even as memorable as the carvers are, the stones also stick in my mind.
Olivine, basalt, jade, serpentine, alabaster, marble, calcite, jet, quartz, onyx, pipestone, rhyolite, polymictic breccia! For a poet, just the names of the rocks are magical. To see them first in the raw, then shaped, textured and polished, seemed on the order of alchemy.