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  • 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.