Fellow stone sculptors,
It is time to come home. Be with friends, mentors, students, and especially, take the opportunity to be present with yourself. Our symposium is an evolving form of education, a union of ideas, and a place for gathering your energy. When we work alongside one another, it is a statement. It is a proclamation that the earth can be moved by individuals and that it can be moved in harmony through collaboration.
In August of 1987, NWSSA held our first annual international stone sculpture symposium. This landmark event coincided with a spectacular alignment of planets in our solar system, and coordinated meditation across the globe.
In August of 2017, we will again be hosting our annual Oregon symposium at Suttle Lake. It is fitting that we will kick off this event with another celestial alignment. We will witness a total solar eclipse the morning of Monday, August 21st. The next two total solar eclipses that will even be close to Oregon occur in 2045 in northern California, and 2099 in Canada. The next total eclipse to pass over Oregon (or Washington) will not be until June 25, 2169!
Embrace the opportunity of a lifetime by sharing this special moment in the midst of an extreme concentration of creative energy.
We have a full program this year that is certain to push us into new ways of thinking. Two themes of approach and technique will frame the 2017 symposium: high-tech & traditional and east & west.
Carl Nelson and Michael Binkley will present on CNC carving and transforming computer generated designs into stone. A small CNC carving machine will be on site during the week so that we can observe the process from start to finish. M.j. Anderson will follow this up by giving a field demonstration on carving Italian marble and will be carving and mentoring through the week. Keith Philips, resident artist of Tenino quarry, will visit and talk about traditional techniques for hand carving sandstone.End of copy on the left side of circle.
Kazutaka Uchida recently retired from his university professor position of 15 years. This bittersweet transition brings him back to us at an exciting time as he returns his full attention to sculpture. Uchida sensei will be focusing on jade this year.
Katsumi Ida is an accomplished sculptor and university professor of art and will be presenting images and a lecture of his work. He will also be part of a collaborative discussion with Uchida sensei about the current state of stone art in Japan. Ida sensei has also helped us to invite two of his former students, Makiko Nagano and Mitsuo Saiki. Makiko and Mitsuo each have impressive portfolios and will have the opportunity to share their work as slide presentations.
We look forward to many learning opportunities within our two themes of focus, and yet there is so much more!
After we soak in the solar eclipse, Dan Michael will review important tips for proper tool use before we turn on the power. Safety first! Richard Hestekind will then start off our sculpting workshops with a short hands-on creative exercise that involves letting go of preconceptions, working quickly, and collaborating. Participants will gather for a quick follow-up the next afternoon, and share what we have learned from the process.
Our jade tent will be available once again, with everything you need to start and finish a small sculpture. Some jade will be available for purchase, and for those who are new to the experience, one-on-one assistance will be available. We also have the good fortune to welcome back acclaimed sculptor Deborah Wilson, who will be carving throughout the week and wowing us with her jade works, crafted with organic precision and powerful intention.
For our beginners and students, we will also have our complete NWSSA tool library at your disposal with space and a work table for you to carve under the guidance of our exceptional team of sculpture teachers, Lee Imonen and Kate Ali.
Our last educational presentation for the week will be a discussion about the world of public art. Kate Ali of the Oregon Arts Commission, along with Lee Imonen and Rich Hestekind will give us a launching point to discuss the rewards and pitfalls of working as a public artist.
Last but not least, we will take some time to sit down and voice our appreciation for a member that makes major contributions of his time and creative problem-solving ability toward keeping the rest of us carving, Pat Barton.
And so, without further flattery of your first rate formation of ideas and friendships and subtle or not-so subtle sculptures at our Suttle Lake Stone Sculpting Symposium… please follow the flow from your studio at home to your studio among the trees, and be at peace in the turmoil of dust and chip, and share and sip, where the creative spirit finds release.
Benjamin C. Mefford