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Symposia - General Info

Safety for Sculptors

Northwest Stone Sculptors Symposium at Camp Pilgrim Firs & Camp Suttle Lake
Eye, Ear & Resp Protection

WELCOME to our creative place where everyone is on the safety team and helps to ensure an enjoyable time for all, including our visitors. Be aware of the safe use of tools and considerate toward protection of the grounds and camp facilities. Drive slowly (15 mph) and watch for pedestrians and wildlife.

PERSONAL SAFETY is #1, Wear clothing and footwear that is safe to work in at camp. Safety gear for eyes, ears, and respiratory system is required. Be careful on uneven surfaces and use a light after dark. We want a safe and trusting time with other artists.

SAFE TOOLS & WORK AREA is your responsibility, so keep your workspace safe at all times, and secure it when you are not present. Unplug all power tools when you’re away. Electrical connections should be protected from moisture, particularly at night. Be mindful of your flying chips and the dust you create. Be prepared to add extra sides to your canopy for excessive dust, or to be asked to work in a different area. Inspect your power tools, hand tools, electrical cords, and all connections each day for proper working condition. Visitors may not use or handle your power or pneumatic tools.

VEHICLES Drive slowly!!! Drivers must keep an eye out for people and equipment while driving on the work field and camp areas. If the driver is unsure or backing up, the driver must ask for someone to guide and spot them.
Group Demonstration
DRUG & ALCOHOL POLICY Consumption or possession of alcohol by any guest under 21 on Camp property is strictly prohibited. Consumption is not allowed on the field while power tools are in use.
The use or possession of illegal substances/drugs on Camp property is strictly prohibited.

SMOKING The Camp enforces a no smoking policy in all of their facilities. You may smoke outdoors. You must carefully extinguish all cigarettes to reduce the risk of fire and appropriately dispose of cigarette butts.

DEMONSTRATIONS Please remember to wear safety protection while attending instructor demonstrations.

PERSONAL PROPERTY is your responsibility: tools, equipment and your sculptures on exhibit.

VISITORS Visitors are welcome and should check in with staff upon arrival. Eye, hearing and respiratory protection should be worn while observing work in the carving area.

Thank you, and Carve Proud!

Northwest Stone Sculptors Symposium

What to Bring to the Jade Carving Workshop

Jade Carving Workshop

Deborah Wilson recommends that if you have the following items, you should bring them for the Jade Carving Workshop Jade Carving Workshop at Suttle Lake

• Respirator (3M has a good silicone rubber one)
• Waterproof Apron… if you have one
• Rubber boots, again only if you have a pair
• Ear plugs!! Very important (I recommend the foam disposable ones) and bring a small case to put them in.
• Safety glasses or visor
Bandana - keeps the dust out if your hair
• Rubber gloves, optional
• Sketch pad and pencils etc.
• Plasticine for making maquettes. I’ll have some with me as well.
• Thumb drive to download jade tooling and carving information

Keep in mind, there is an additional materials fee, depending upon the size and quality of jade you select for your project.

About NWSSA Symposia

NWSSA hosts two a year: Suttle Lake (Sisters) Symposium (for over 23 years) in Oregon State, and Camp Pilgrim Firs Symposium (for over 30 years) in Washington State. Both symposia offer something for sculptors at all levels. Beginners and intermediate carvers come to learn, grow as artists, and try new things in a supportive environment. Professional sculptors gather to work on projects, share information, get inspiration,  and often to help beginners.

Stone and tools are available for purchase from knowledgeable vendors who know the business and are carvers, too. The teachers vary from year to year, but the overriding theme of our symposiums is always the generous sharing of information with all attendees.

For those who attend it is a working holiday with like-minded folks while being fed three meals a day surrounded by everything to do with stone. Evenings are spent by the fire swapping stories, making new friends, and catching up with connections made from past symposiums.

Symposium price discounts are given to attendees who are NWSSA members.

For more information on how to become a member click here.

Camp Brotherhood Experience

A NWSSA symposium is about learning to work with stone, the pople who carve stone, and becoming part of a larger community. Some of the students who attend think it's an "...intensely creative wonderland of a fantasy"  and  a place where you'll " surrounded by many positive people who are doing their work, collaborating, celebrating, and enjoying it".

Group gathering.

Bethany Moore summarized it this way:

" the end of day one, I had found my way with the stone, uncovering the form that I knew was held within. The days that followed got me deeper and deeper into understanding, learning through the people surrounding me, and the great workshops presented throughout the day. The open environment allows any individual, no matter their skill or knowledge, the opportunity to ask questions and feel comfortable. There is no hierarchy, no elitism, and no judgment."

One Silver Falls Experience

This is from a recent new member, Cathy Rae Smith, after her very first attendance at a Silver Falls Symposium.

"Clouds of marble dust heightened the perpetual fogging of my safety glasses. However, Alex, my mentor for the day, remedied the condensation issues, as it turned out, by providing me a decent dust mask if I promised to throw away the pitiful excuse for a mask I had been using. Foregoing the hammer and chisel after a day of minimal progress, I graduated up to the level of electric and air powered tools. I dazzled my contemporaries, I am sure, with my swift mastery of the air-powered pounding thingy and the electricity charged scrapping do-hickey, (now, don’t allow my freely tossing in all this technical jargon to intimidate).  I was a woman on a mission to pierce through the thick slab of marble. Happily, no make that triumphantly, I succeeded, with the support of kind and skilled sculptors around me."