I know I say this every year, but this time I really, really mean it. You definitely want to be at the Symposium at Pilgrim Firs this July! I promise. We have workshops galore, awesome Guest Artists, new staff to break in, our Saturday Sculpture Walk, presentations, communal meals, campfires, kayaks, and the list just keeps growing.
Let’s start with the Dojo – our community learning hub that hosts the tool room and the Beginner’s Workshop. Instructors Tamara Buchanan and Ruth Mueseler will be on hand to mentor beginners. Anyone who doesn’t have their own workspace and tools to bring is welcome to work in the space – we provide bankers, tools and mentoring. Marenakos is graciously providing us with limestone as well so newcomers have something to cut their teeth on. If you’ve never carved before or are just starting out, this is the place for you!
Our jade tent and workshop will be in full force Monday through Saturday. Dale Blankenship, creator of mind-bendingly detailed jade carvings, has stepped up to lead the workshop. Steve Sandry and Julianne Kohn will be assisting. The tent is decked out with every tool you need to take a small piece of jade from start to beautiful finish during the week. Dale will have small pieces of jade for sale and Washington Jade will be sending along some larger hunks they’ve hunted locally for those who’ve really been bitten by the jade bug.
This year we are very excited to be offering a workshop in figurative marble carving with superstar Jason Arkles at the helm. Oliver Harwood up at Studiostone in Vancouver just happened to have 15 spare identical blocks of high quality Italian marble and we got them for you! Everyone in this workshop gets one of the 190 lb. blocks and is asked to bring a figurative maquette and their favorite tools. (I will host a maquette building workshop at my studio in June, details to registrees.) We’ll have at a couple of pointing machines available for use but bring your own if you definitely want to learn that technique for exact replication – it’s one of Jason’s specialties. Jason, by the way, is one of those guys who lives and works in Florence, Italy carving life size marble statues and travels the world putting on workshops. We know him from his podcast, The Sculptor’s Funeral, which focuses exclusively on the history of figurative stonework. You can listen to it for free online and I highly recommend it.
From Indiana, large-scale public artist Dale Enochs will be joining us as a Guest Artist and we are happy to welcome him! He works almost exclusively with limestone, combining it with various metals to create stunning abstract work that define space. He’ll be onsite doing daily presentation on texturing and surfacing, focusing on the ways those techniques can enliven sculptures through visual contrast.
And remember to register by May 31st to the get early bird discount!
This year, also, we will be transitioning the position of Field Manager. Pat Barton has been just amazing to work with the past (well, more years than I’ve even been coming to the symposium) number of years and we’ve all benefited from his knowledge, generosity, and efficiency genius. He’s passing the torch this year to the dynamic duo of Trevor Contreras and Ed Salerno, mentored by Gene Carlson. Make sure you forget your hoses and break a bunch of things so they get properly broken in this July.
See you on the field!
-Cyra Jane, Symposium Director
32nd Annual International Stone Carving Symposium - Washington State
July 6-14th, 2019
Camp Pilgrim Firs in Port Orchard, WA
The Northwest Stone Sculptors Association invites you to join us for 8 days of stone carving in a pastoral Washington backdrop. 2019 Guest Artists Jason Arkles and Dale Enochs. "Renaissance of the Figure" workshop for figurative marble study and Jade Workshop with Dale Blankenship. Beginner's Workshop in the Dojo with Tamara Buchanan and Ruth Mueseler.
Please check back for additional artists and registration announcements.
Our second year at Pilgrim Firs Camp in Port Orchard reaffirmed that the July symposium has found a great home for our group and our spirit. As intense as last year was, this year was just as relaxed. The entire event went so smoothly thanks to the combined efforts and positivity of so many of the over 100 attendees and the fantastic staff of the venue. The guest artists this year, Candyce Garrett and Chris Pellettieri were both spectacular teachers and inspiring artists. Candyce works in large granite and basalt at her home in New Mexico and spent the week splitting and pinning a large granite triangle and demonstrating a variety of surfacing techniques. Chris has spent the last 25 years carving limestone in a large warehouse in the midst of Manhattan; his week was focused on a limestone figure carving, hand tooling demos, and working with veterans from the JBLM (Joint Base Lewis-McChord) just nine miles south-southwest of Tacoma).
This was the first time we coordinated with the JBLM to bring veterans to the symposium for a few days so they could experience the healing and meditational aspects of our craft. Rick Johnson was instrumental in sparking off the collaboration between our groups, and Dan Michael came up to give focused instruction. We also rolled out a new pinning and sleeving station this year – Pat Barton and Dan Colvin both built some sturdy tables for the core drills and during the afternoons Dan and dedicated work study folk helped pin a wide variety of sculptures and bases.
Speaking of work study folks, we had a grand total of sixteen work studies and three scholarships funded from the auctions last year – what a fantastic crowd of enthusiastic, hardworking people! The auctions this year, coordinated by Monika Hawkinson, raised over $14,500 so we can do that again next year! For the stone auction, we had a bunch of cut-offs from Will Robinson and a generous lot of stones and tools from Arliss Newcomb. Additionally, Gus Schairer brought a table-full of donated power tools and accessories, some for the Dojo and some for the auction. The Dojo, by the way, is our new name for the Beginner’s Tent, as it is far more apt for what that space provides to the symposium. Tamara Buchanan and Grant Bowman set up a Tool Room there this year to better manage the growing selection of tools that are available for newcomers and seasoned carvers alike.
This year I got to experience the jade tent for the first time, and was so impressed by the hard work of Deborah Wilson, Steve Sandry, and Julianne Kohn in keeping that area running and sharing their knowledge with everyone working there. Deborah and Dale Blankenship both shared slideshows of their work in jade during the week, as did Tom Small of his most recent work in glass and stone mixed media. Our scholarship exchange student from the California Sculptors Symposium, Karen Cope-Swatton and Ben Mefford, who attended CSS as our exchange this year, gave a presentation on that symposium and her innovative figurative work. And then we had a rousing geology lecture by Trevor Contreras and Michael Yeaman gave an overview presentation of the “Elements of Sculpture” book as featured in a weekend intensive on Orcas Island earlier this year.
Of course, then we have the huge contributions from our symposium staff. Pat Barton and Renee Roberts each put in so much time and effort in making Camp a great experience for everyone. Pat’s contributions to the field (and the auction this year via the Pat Barton Fanclub Coffee Mugs courtesy of John Lafortune and Therese Kingsbury) are integral to the success of this event. Renee puts in so much work as registrar, keeping track of hundreds of threads to pull together, and with Barbara Davidson on her team, they keep all the registrations and financials running smoothly. John Lafortune as the announcer/emcee is spot on. I love working with these people and am so happy you all allow me to do this job!
We all had such a wonderful time carving, learning, communing, laughing, swimming, dancing, carving some more, and then carving again. I’m already looking forward to 2019.
Cyra Jane Hobson
REGISTER FOR THE PILGRIM FIRS 2018 INTERNATIONAL STONE CARVING SYMPOSIUM!
Members register on-line by May 31st receive $100 Discount off full time rate at check-out.
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.
For 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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