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!).
We also, hopefully, will welcome Francesca Bernardini from Italy. Francesca creates ethereal nests, cocoons, and chrysalises in marble and might be sharing inspirations and techniques she uses in obtaining quiescence. Oh, I hope, I hope she can join us because her work is beautiful and she sounds amazing. A friend, for certain. The uncertainty here about her presence is because the current administration won’t allow her to enter the US without a special cultural visa application because she traveled to a country in the Middle East once last year; otherwise travel would not be an issue. We won’t know until June, but we are trying. Ridiculous.
If not Francesca, another awesome artist will be there to create with us, teach us, and inspire us. Plus, we have the amazing jade workshop running again, as taught by Deborah Wilson. I have a feeling this is going to fill up quickly this year as a number of inquiries and registrations have already been made, so sign up early if you’re ready to be smitten by the jade bug (or if you already have been)! The Beginner’s beginner’s tent will be there in full force as well with tools and space and the attention of our two rock solid teachers, Ruth “The Muse” Mueseler and Tamara “The Hammer” Buchanan.
We’re also going to have presentations by geologist Trevor Contreras, panel discussions on tool usage (namely how to use and care for angle grinders), the fundraising auctions, discussions on ergonomics to save your back, and a potential return of special guest star James Horan from Ireland. Oh, and an exchange scholarship sculptor from California, our cast of work study characters, friends from all over the Pacific Northwest and the little island of Canada, and most importantly of all, you. You and the bright smile and the clouds of dust and the incredible energy that you bring to this event. We can’t wait to see you.