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Camp Brotherhood

The Last Camp B (now at Pilgrim Firs)

HELLO, GOODBYE… HELLO. A WRAP OF THE 2016 CAMP B SYMPOSIUM

By Cyra Jane HobsonDeborah Wilson helping another student learn about jade carving.

So many thank yous to everyone who joined us for the stone carving symposium at Camp Brotherhood this July! As our final symposium at the Treacy Levine Center, we said goodbye with eight glorious days of inspired dust clouds and walked away with new ideas and tools and friendships and plenty of motivation. Our guest artists this year stimulated our creativity with a perfectly balanced mix of techniques and personalities. The consciousness-delving guru Georg Schmerholz dazzled us with his breathtaking sculptures and ingenious fitting techniques, and was so freely giving of his wealth of knowledge and invention he even led an impromptu workshop on creating custom fit Foredom handles. Georg had been a guest instructor at the very first Camp B symposium, too, and it was a delight to have him with us this year. 

Senden Blackwood demonstrates his technique for creating seamless curves in a dunite boulder. On the other end of the spectrum was the high energy awe-inspiring physical technique demonstrated on the field by Senden Blackwood from Australia. Senden took his inaugural leap into being an instructor this year at our symposium and managed to inspire by example as he carved an entire dunite boulder into a smooth abstract form in less than a week. Looking at him balanced atop the perfectly arced top of his piece in galoshes, jabbing a diamond chainsaw down around the edges with water flying everywhere, I was all like, “oh sure, I bet could do that!” I’d wager that was a common thought.

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2016 Camp Brotherhood Wrap-Up

29th Annual Stone Carving Symposium at Camp Brotherhood, Mount Vernon, WA
July 9 - 16th, 2016

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We had a wonderful week at Camp Brotherhood in Mount Vernon, WA with over 80 of our closest stone carving friends, celebrating camaraderie, knowledge and inspiration while working on a variety of stone; from jade pendants with Deborah Wilson to making custom tool grips and maquettes with Georg Schmerholz and watching Senden Blackwood transform a large Olivine boulder to a sleek and polished form. Instructors Tamara Buchanan and Ruth Mueseler mentored several beginning carvers in the "Tappers Tent" throughout the week.


We had an amazing group of scholarship/work study members who assisted with set up and breakdown under the guidance of the Field Crew led by Pat Barton and Rich Andler, our Scholarship Auction organizer Therese Dougherty, Auctioneer Al Mangold, our Symposium Director, Cyra Jane, party planners Therese Kingsbury and Oliver Harwood - plus Bruce Wickler photographer/Jade tent assistant - all of whom made the week flow effortlessly.

We celebrated with evenings on the deck outside Rogers Hall sipping wine to deep conversations around the campfire. And we invited the public to the field on Saturday for an Outdoor Sculpture Show - hundreds showed up and appreciated the effort and beauty of our creations.

Laughter, fun, creativity and lifelong friends made. We look forward to another full week of stone carving next year (whether at Camp B, becoming Camp Korey or another destination) and hope you will join us!!

Check out more photos from our event on our Facebook Page


Thank you Bruce Wickler for these photos!

Camp B Centerfold 2016

CAMP BROTHERHOOD JULY 9 THROUGH 17, 2016

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Early Morning RiverwalkIt's been hours, or days, or a lifetime. Time lost its ticking in the tiny landscape of stone in front of you, only evident in the growing pile of chips and dust around your feet, and the minutely drastic changes in the stone's current face. You're making progress! and the chitter of friends and the ringing of their tools fades in and out of your awareness as all your attention is on the next step.

Suddenly the whir of noise around you drastically mutes, laughter reaching in through the daze of workflow enough to pull your eyes up to the field as your ear muffs feel abruptly unnecessary. Your neighbor is mouthing and gesturing excitedly from their pop-up studio and the pull of a small exodus screams “Lunchtime!”

And so our eyes light up even more, and we undo our safety layers and stretch out our legs and stream together toward our communal mid-day meal. Sometime mid-week, this experience becomes something of an always has been and always will be. The immersive daily routine of open worktime punctuated with educational workshops, discussions of technique and theory, and inspiring presentations creates an unmatched environment for the stimulation and nurture of our stone-carving souls. In the late evenings, we share campfires and music and stories and never-ending opportunities to geek out about everything rock with our like - minded friends.

Gene Carlson carving chloriteThis is Camp B, more formally known as the International Stone Carving Symposium held at the pastoral Treacy Levine Center in Mt. Vernon, WA. If you have been to Camp B, then you know this experience described above. If you haven't been, this is partially why so many of us keep returning year after year; I say partially as even the allusion to the collection of individual experiences and memories and events is simply impossible to convey in text. Suffice to say that whether it's your first or your 29th year, it will be one to remember.

Georg Schmerholz and Senden Blackwood will be joining us as Guest Artists this year. Georg is an expert at blending multiple media and styles: figurative and abstract, stone and metal. He will be focusing on his school of thought around the interplay between consciousness and the creative sculptural process. Senden will be traveling from Australia to carve with us and explore the space where a sharp aesthetic eye and a dynamic physical process meet to produce striking abstract sculpture. Steve Sandry & MJ Anderson

Our Beginner's Stone Carving intensive is once again offered with plenty of tools and workspaces, and individual instruction and encouragement from the indelible team of Ruth Mueseler and Tamara Buchanan. The efforts of these women and the team who sets up the workspace coalesce to provide a solidly positive experience for anyone who wants to participate, regardless of their prior know-how. We are also pleased to again feature Deborah Wilson's week long jade workshop. Participants are welcome to work on dedicated jade-carving tools with focused instruction and support; most will finish at least one piece by the end of the week. Space is limited for this July 9 through 17 workshop, so be sure to sign up early!


You can find more information and register online at www.nwssa.org. Don't forget that we offer an early bird discount of $100 if you register before May 31st. Early Bird Discount Extended through June 14th! Additionally, we have discounted work study positions and scholarship funds available for those who need attendance assistance. Contact me (Cyra) at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 206.406.0711 to inquire.

See you on the field!

Ann Casey - A Newbie at Camp B

Ann CaseyI really had no clue what to expect. Sharli Silva, a friend who had gone to Cambria where she heard about Camp B from Gudrun Ongman, talked me into it with her rave reviews of Cambria and that Camp B was supposed to be even better!

I am new to art...this right brain, thing. And being so totally left brained my whole life, I am pretty insecure about my abilities. If I had realized the level of creativity that would be at Camp B, I would have been intimidated and might not have come. Thank goodness I did. I would have missed out on a great week and wonderful people - true artists that were there to share and help. I had great fun exploring the possibilities.

I learned a lot. I learned to "be gentle with the stone" from Knut. I learned “it’s all about light and shadow." I learned I really love bas relief and outdoor sculpture - which is sending me in a completely different direction than the path that I have been on. I learned that maybe I can sculpt on my own without my teacher. All this is leading to retirement becoming a reality, rather than just something to think about. So, trite as it may sound, Camp B was actually kind of life changing for me.

Ann Casey