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Suttle Lake,

  • 2017 Suttle Lake Centerfold

    Suttle Lake Stone Carving SymposiumFellow 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 solarsystem, 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 NelsonMichael BinkleyCarl Nelson and Michael Binkley will present on CNC carving andtransforming 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.Uchida-san
  • My First Time at Silver Falls: Sheri Tangen

    Sheri TangenI already had an interest in stone carving when Pat Barton, a NWSSA member, was invited to my driftwood sculpting class. I hadn't talked with Pat for very long before I knew that I wanted to know everything about it. Pat suggested that I come to Silver Falls (now referred to as Suttle Lake), one of two NWSSA stone carving symposiums held each year. All my questions were answered in a quiet forested environment at Silver Creek Falls State Park and in the lodges spread across a grassy field and in the dining hall eating three scrumptious meals daily alongside new friends. 

    I was so excited I got there early to help set-up. I felt like a kid going to summer camp. Right from the start I could see and feel the cohesiveness that bound these people together.

    Mark Andrews working on a Limestone ReliefThere was a common thread there and it was strong. I questioned many carvers and they were extremely giving of their time and knowledge, very open and sharing. Many loaned me tools to try and books to look at. I was given the parts to base my sculpture, including the pin, the epoxy to hold it and the temporary wood base. Along with the parts, I got the knowledge on how it all comes together. I was even given suggestions on finishes for the temperamental alabaster. The level of expertise was high. But more than that, I felt they had a genuine regard for me, a newbie trying to find my way with stone carving.

    There was plenty of carving time, and there were many talks and demonstrations in the field. These ranged from types of tools and fixing them to wet and dry carving, texturing, polishing and splitting stones. These were packed little sessions. I loved getting all that information.

    Evenings offered up individual artist slide shows that left me in awe, and several very inspiring and educational lectures. Silver Falls could have been overwhelming. It could have been intimidating. But it was not. Instead it was amazing. And it answered my original question: I now have a good idea of what stone carving is all about. I'm on my way. I got a ton of knowledge about stone carving, certainly enough to get started. That was what I came for. But the selflessness of these artists is as strong as the stones they carve. I really admire that. It is now burned into my mind. It not only changed how I carve, but it changed how I think.

    Thank you, NWSSA.

    Sheri Tangen

     

  • NWSSA’s First Time at Suttle Lake, Sisters, Oregon

    By Lane Tompkins
    Two carvers waiting for the dinner bell

    Sometimes trying something new doesn’t always turn out well, so moving the Oregon Symposium from our much loved Silver Falls State Park to a new location caused us more than a little apprehension.

    We were told that Suttle Lake on the edge of the Cascades in Central Oregon was lovely. We were even told that the cost would be low enough for us to get 7 days for less than the cost of 5 days at Silver Falls. So those who went did so with big hopes.

    Those hopes were more than satisfied. The Kitchen Staff was great to work with and the food was organic and locally grown. There was even a map on the wall showing what came from where.

    Though the beds were on the Spartan side, the four-inch think mattresses were in abundance, allowing one to easily double or even triple the comfort quotient.

    Kazutaka Uchida with his jellybean sculptureOur tenting area was almost scarily reminiscent of the one atSilver Falls and walking distance between field and rooms and dining hall were quite short, also like Silver Falls. It didn’t take us long to feel right at home.

    We had a huge newbie tent with several people who had never, ever carved a stone. With what a will they jumped right into it and began carving. It was thrilling to watch their progress.

    And this symposium was our chance to gather in a big circle and take turns thanking Tom Urban for his unfailing 20 years of service to the Oregon contingent. Of course that always includes a few outliers from way up north –Washington, Canada and Montana. (Bless those hardy Montanans who come down every year to brighten up our days and our auctions, bringing cases and cases of Moose Drool Beer from their contact at The Big Sky Brewery in Missoula.)
    Walking from lunch back to the field
    And speaking of the Auction. Trying to tell you what happened in the auction would be like trying to say what happened during any given three hours in the universe. A lot happened. People were sent to jail and had to be bought out. High-bidders went to the VIP lounge to be fawned over and anointed, too soon replaced by the next big buyer. People worked hard distributing beverages, they also worked hard to outbid someone and then gave the item to the one they outbid. It was fun. It was more than fun. We raised $6,400.

    This short account is not all that happened at Suttle Lake. If you want to know that, you’ll have to come next year. I bet you’ll love it, too.
  • Selected Works from Suttle Lake Camp

    Suttle Lake Symposium 2017

    Four carvers volunteered to tell us about the stones they worked on while there. The pieces range in size from 12 pounds to 3,000 pounds; not so unusual a spread for NWSSA stoners.

    Ben Kimura
    Craig Breitbach
    Larry Lawlor
    Mitsuo Saiki


    Ben Kimura

    Ben KimuraThis sculpture is a large piece of Yule marble from Colorado. I began roughing it out in July at the Marble/Marble symposium before bringing it to Suttle Lake. It was important to me, with this piece, to do all of the finishing work by hand. So, after putting down the five-inch grinder, it was and is all hand tooling. I will probably go through way more sandpaper than I would like to admit.

    Some of the progress I have made stylistically has been making it a point to tell myself that there are no rules while carving. However, there is always knowledge that I can pick up from other artists.

    Ben Kimura, The TorsoI found NWSSA through an ad for the Flower and Garden Show at Volunteer Park in the Seattle Times and went there hoping someone would have advice about where to locate good stones to carve. That’s where I found out about the symposiums, and since then it has been an education, attending these get-togethers and acting as a sponge, trying to listen and learn as much technical know-how as I can, and applying that knowledge to future projects.

    The form of this piece emerged through a long discourse with the stone. It was an old stone and had probably been sitting untouched for a number of years. However, underneath the dirt and grime was a pure, very hard marble that lent itself to the forms that I like to carve.

    Even though the process in which I carve is a type of direct carving, it is punctuated by taking a step back and drawing the physical stone, over and over again. I believe that if you take time to draw the stone in front of you, whatever stage it is in, it will give you an idea of how you can work with the stone, where the high points in the rock are and where the forms you want to impose can lay.

    Being able to attend different symposia has stoked my enthusiasm for stone carving. It was truly incredible to set up at Suttle Lake and suddenly be transported into a different world that revolves around creativity and exploration. It is great to be in a space where everyone is doing, more or less, their own individual carving, however because of the electric energy that is radiating around the field, that individual energy becomes a source that one can tap into.

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    benkimura.com

    Craig Breitbach
    Craig Breitbach
    I had a great time at the symposium again this year. The main sculpture I was working on at Suttle Lake is a new piece for the Carillon Point Marina on Lake Washington in Kirkland. This will be a two-year installation (along with my “Whale of a Bench” which had previously been displayed at San Juan Island Sculpture Park). The new sculpture, “Spirited,” is a 7 foot, 3000-pound basalt column with two salmon and a water design. I have a tight timeframe for this piece. In fact, I was only able to go to the symposium thanks to the equipment and help from Carl and Ken which enabled me to work on it there! I have to admit I have tool envy for the crane truck.…)
    Craig Breitbach
    The inspiration for this piece was a past sculpture installed in Oregon City, “River Dance.” (I even stopped to visit it on the way down to the symposium.) This time I am emphasizing the motion of the water more with spiral splashes that surround the salmon.

    As always, I enjoy working in basalt because it has rough natural surfaces to contrast the polished and highly detailed images carved into them. But basalt is very hard, so I have to use an angle grinder, diamond grinding blades, and a Dremel for the detail work.

    I am finishing the piece at my studio in Fall City and hope to install it mid to late September.

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    craigbreitbach.com


    Larry Lawlor
    Larry Lawlor
    “To Dance the Tango” Texas limestone 19 1/2” W X 20 3/4” T X 4 1/2” D

    I tend to choose intimate moments for my relief carving. Here I have chosen the image of two Tango dancers in a dramatic pose, riveted on each other even though their eyes are closed. The challenge I’ve given myself is to render this image in a believable way. I wanted to create a strong composition that will keep the viewers' eyes traveling through the piece and come to center on the space between them. Finally and most importantly for me, I wanted to create the dramatic feeling and tension between the man and woman.
    To Dance the Tango by Larry Lawlor
    I’ve been carving for six years now. We moved to the Seattle area seven years ago following the grandkids and I happened on a StoneFest at Marenakos Rock Center with John Fisher as instructor. I’ve been hooked ever since.

    I have a background in the Arts. I was a scenic and lighting designer in theater and television and have done some painting in acrylics and soft pastels.

    More than half of my sculpture to date has been in deep relief carving. I like staying in the figurative mode and try to capture a moment and feeling.

    What is most likely behind my choosing these themes is the desire of an elder person to revisit that core tension and feeling that is universal between humans and animals and place it in stone, making it universal yet personal.

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     Mitsuo Saiki Mitsuo Saiki

    “It was my first time using limestone. It was so soft that I had to learn how to carve it as I was carving it. I found meaning in using a stone fromUSA to carve it. The Buddha statue reflects the one who sees it. So, it is my hope that I was able to convey that with this statue regardless of the faith of the one who sees it.”

    Born in 1975, Mitsuo Saiki is a Level 1 certified Stone Masonry Technician. After becoming a student of the now-deceased stone sculptor Ryo Kato at age 18 and serving five years as his apprentice, he returned to the Saiki family business. He uses traditional hand-carving techniques to create works ranging from stone Buddhas to monuments, while also displaying his works at a variety of exhibitions and art festivals and engaging in a diverse range of professional activities.
    "Jizuosama" by Mitsou Saiki
    In 2005, he embarked on an ambitious two-year project to repair and restore the 300-year-old Kannon statues enshrined on Nakanojo town's sacred mountain of Takeyama. In 2014, as part of a commemorative project celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Gunma Prefecture Stone Industry Association, he carved the stone statue of the Gunma prefectural mascot "Gunma-chan" that is displayed in front of the Gunma Prefectural Government Building. He served as the Executive Committee Chairman of the 2015 Nakanojo Biennale and is known to spend his free time listening to blues with a drink in hand.

    "As a stone sculptor, I try to trust my instincts as I search for the points and lines that tell me how to shape an object. However, I have come to understand that it is not the sculptor who decides how to sculpt the stone, but the stone that decides how it will be sculpted."

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    saikistone.com