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Pilgrim Firs

2018 Camp Pilgrim Firs Centerfold

Members register on-line by May 31st receive $100 Discount off full time rate at check-out.

2017 Camp Pilgrim Firs group

It’s our second year at the Pilgrim Firs Camp and Conference Center in Port Orchard, Washington. Last year, our inaugural camp there, we started the week with something like 70 people registered and once word got out that the place was magical for us, more and more carvers arrived and descended upon the field and the energy grew and grew, making for one of the best symposiums in years! The trees! The more intimate field! The lake! The food! The campfire by the lake! We all loved it and I know so many of us are excited to return. 

Candyce GarrettFor our guest artists this year we have Candyce Garrett joining us from New Mexico. Candyce works in monumental granite and other hard stones, giving them lightness and life through implied motion. She’ll be demonstrating surfacing techniques, chainsaw usage, and a whole slew of other useful things. Many of us know her already and every time I’ve talked to her, she is just ecstatic about coming up here to Pilgrim Firs to share the week with the awesome members of the NWSSA (that would be you!).

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2018 Camp Pilgrim Firs Symposium Registration

31st Annual International Stone Carving Symposium
at Camp Pilgrim Firs, Port Orchard, WA 
July 7th-15th 2018
Members register on-line by May 31st receive $100 Discount off full time rate at check-out.

The Symposium PilgrimFirsFeild

We invite you to join us at Camp Pilgrim Firs for up to eight full days of playing with stone, communing with nature, and enjoying the camaraderie of fellow stone enthusiasts. Bring yourself, your creative energy, your humor, tools, and a favorite piece of stone. If you don’t have stone or tools, we have an entire tent set up for beginners with tools and instructors.
The Campgrounds provide cabins and lodges that are connected by serene walking paths through the forested grounds and three full meals a day, so you’ll have the ultimate freedom to delve into carving and building friendships. Evenings are filled with slideshows, informational talks, a riot of a fundraising auction, a music-filled final night party, campfires and even nighttime swims in the lake. Stone and tools are available for purchase by our vendors.

The Camp has a lodge with shared common area and bathrooms; it features multiple dorm-style rooms that sleep 2-4 people each. There are also 11 duplex style cabins with private decks that sleep 3 per side. For those who like to commune with nature, limited space is available for tents or trailers.

Sculpture Walk on the Meadow Saturday, July 14th
We’ll host an outdoor art gallery that’s a perfect opportunity to show your work in a supportive and appreciative environment. We encourage everyone to bring a finished piece to display and to invite your friends! Bring pedestals if you have them. NWSSA receives a 20% commission on sculpture sales.

Register On-line:  [Click Here],
or via SnailMail: download [ Registration Form ] send with with payment to NWSSA, Attn: Cyra Jane, Symposium Director, PO Box 27364 Seattle, WA 98165

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The New Shed at Pilgrim Firs

by Pat Barton
The final day, September 12, 2017. The shed is partly loaded, time for a quick photo. Next we will load in the steel tables, and remaining tents and tables. Thanks to Sharon Feeney, Ed Salerno, Steve Sandry, Leon White, Kirk Mclean, and the Boss, Gene Carlson.At our first Symposium at Camp Pilgrim Firs, the membership voted to have Camp Pilgrim Firs as our new home. The camp management agreed to let us build a shed next to the guitar groups shed. It had to be similar in design and color.At our first Symposium at Camp Pilgrim Firs, the membership voted to have Camp Pilgrim Firs as our new home. The camp management agreed to let us build a shed next to the guitar groups shed. It had to be similar in design and color.

Steve Sandry also showed off his carpenter skills by being the saw man and cutting and fitting all of the trim.Gene Carlson, a retired builder with many years of experience, volunteered to be the General Contractor, Chief Architect, Excavator Operator, Materials Purchasing Agent, Lead Carpenter and High Climbing Roofer. Steve Sandry, another retired contractor, was the number one saw man. He did all of the cutting and fitting of the trim and built the doors.The master contractor, Gene Carlson, he made this project happen. He ordered the equipment and materials, and worked his magic putting the shed together. Boss, you did a great job."

The project started on a very hot July 25, 2017. Gene had a small excavator delivered from a local rental company. It arrived on time at noon, and he had the area where the shed was to go cleared and leveled by late that afternoon. That included removing 2 large stumps. The next morning Gene returned and cleared some areas for the camp.

Next, building the shed. After contacting management at Pilgrim Firs, it was determined that the camp would be vacant on Labor Day weekend, they give their staff that weekend off. We were told that we could use a couple of cabins to sleeping bag in. So on a hot Saturday August 2, 2017, seven of us started building the shed. We installed the foundation blocks, and built the deck on them. Next, the walls were framed as the members for the trusses were cut and assembled. That night we had a potluck dinner of smoked pork ribs and corn on the cob. The following day we put up the trusses, put siding on the walls and sheathing on the roof. Some of the painting was done.
he floor is done assembling the trusses on the flat surface.” Thanks to Carl Nelson, Steve Sandry, Che - Maya Kilmer's husband , Gene Carlson and myself. Photo by Maya Kilmer.
Thursday September 7, 2017, a smaller crew returned to finish the roofing, the remaining siding and the trim. Steve built and hung the doors and most of the painting was completed.
On the final day, September 12, 2017, we finished up the trim, the flashing and the painting. The last thing to do was to load up the shed with our tools, equipment, tables and tents. Potluck dinner on August 2, 2017, after a long hot day. Then it was time to hit the sleeping bags.

A special thanks to all of the extra help that we had that last day. NWSSA’s storage shed at Camp Pilgrim Firs was done.

Thoughts From Our First Pilgrim Firs Symposium

Pilgrim Firs Field 2017This year marked the 30th Anniversary of our Washington symposium, our first at the Pilgrim Firs venue and a hallmark event for everyone participating. We had nearly 100 carvers here throughout the week communing and learning and inspiring each other. I asked for everyone to write down their experiences, impressions, and thoughts on the symposium, then spliced them together (Ending each person’s thought with a bullet point) for this expression of our shared community experience.
Thank you, contributors: Bill Weissinger, Carole Duree, Vic Picou, Cyra Jane, Deborah Wilson, Julianne Kohn, Barbara Davidson, Kirk McLean, Ed Salerno, Maya Kilmer, Tamara Buchanan, Leon White, Michael Timmons, Beth Krehbiel, Daniel Colvin, Sandra Stowell, Cherie Perry and Grant Bowman.
-Cyra Jane, symposium director.

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Camp Pilgrim Firs Centerfold

30th Annual International Stone Carving Symposium
at Camp Pilgrim Firs, Port Orchard, WA

Pilgrim Firs FieldThirty years ago a handful of stone sculptors from Washington State and British Columbia gathered for the first NWSSA symposium on a llama ranch in Pateros, WA. They carved, they moved boulders, they (you!) climbed a mountain at midnight for the Harmonic Convergence, and they, you, began a tradition that has enlivened a community that is today thriving. That first gathering was such a good idea, that you kept gathering, and the symposium quickly moved to and became known as Camp Brotherhood, officially as the International Stone Sculptors Symposium. Carvers came, and carvers kept returning year after year to this event and while I wasn’t around then (like many in the current work study generation, I was just starting my first rock collections and messing around in my grandfather’s shop during those early years,) from what I understand it’s because that, when all together, you, we, create a creatively stimulating and high-pitched energy through some awesome synergistic alchemy. Or because rocks are cool, or something like that. 

This July, the symposium moves again to a new site called Pilgrim Firs in Port Orchard which is quite similar to the Oregon location at Suttle Lake. The new venue was scouted by the Board and discussed and voted on at the General Assembly meeting at Camp B. I’ve now visited the site 3 times and each time our party leaves with big grins because we’re all going to have a fantastic time there. Not that we wouldn’t have a great time in an open field, but the scenery and accommodations definitely help.
"Traveler" Joanne Duby

Joining us as a guest artist will be Joanne Duby, sharing hands-on tips and demos for repairs and finishing techniques. We’ll be supplying a wide range of products for her to demo with, which will go into the auction on Thursday evening. Joanne has a long history with the group and is very excited to be spending this week with us! Sculpturally, she’s done just about everything and has an extensive knowledge base to share with us.

"For a Better World Press Play" by James HoranJames Horan, flying over from Ireland, is another guest artist for 2017. This will be his first time with this group and in the Pacific Northwest. (If you google “James Horan Sculpture” you can find his website to check out his work.) James’ work is primarily figurative in marble, and his unique style and sense of humor is immediately recognizable. Go look at his “Behold Man: Apes with Guns” series. He’ll be carving a piece with us during the week and discussing “Direct Carving.”

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About Camp Pilgrim Firs

Introducing Our Venue, Camp Pilgrim Firs  Lake Flora Trail Map

Pilgrim Firs Camp and Conference Center includes 120 wooded acres of which 40 have been developed with cabins, lodges and outdoor recreation areas for guest use. It includes play and sports fields, a lake with canoeing and kayaking, and a floating dock for swimming. There are hiking trails, indoor and outdoor chapel/meditation spaces, two campfire areas, basketball and volleyball courts and many secluded quiet places. It is located 3 miles from the City of Port Orchard and about an hour and a half drive or relaxing ferry ride from downtown Seattle.

Pilgrim Firs is owned and operated by the Pacific Northwest Conference of the United Church of Christ.

The Camp has two lodges with shared common areas and bathrooms with multiple dorm-style rooms that sleep 3-4 people each.
There are 11 duplex style cabins, each with private decks.
For those who like to commune with nature, limited space is available for tents or campers.

Registered for Camp? Here All the Details:

How to Get to Camp Pilgrim Firs
(print, sign & bring with you to Camp)
What to Bring to Camp Pilgrim Firs
What to Bring for the Jade Carving Workshop
Safety for Sculptors
Schedule of Workshops & Presentations

Pilgrim Firs 3318 Lake Flora Rd Port Orchard, WA 98367  |  360.876.2031