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Suttle Lake

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.

Silver Falls 2014 - Review

Attendees enjoyed and learned a lot from this year's mix of hands-on carving, demos, and lectures.



Lee Imonen brought steel and a forge. He gave a hands on demonstration of how to make your own chisels for carving soft stone, gave everyone who wanted to, the opportunity to make their own chisels.

Lisa with her hand made tools in hand. 



ChieselsAndPneumatics-MattPointingToolDemo-MattMatt Auvinen's experience as a teacher and years of working as an artisan provided everyone with both the details of efficient carving techniques and a broad overview of where they fit into the history of  carving. His presentation on chisels and history on tools used in marble carving (especially the violina) was very good.

He also covered and demonstrated pointing and enlargement techniques. Getting pointing right is the prelude to accurate enlargement. The use of these techniques (and his love of them) in his art is very obvious.


Tracy Powell Beginning Class

Tracy Powell welcomed several beginning stone carvers. Introducing them to the various types of hand chisels and by the end of the week to power tools and pneumatics.




The evening presentations gave attendees the chance to see the variations in style, approach, and inspiration of the work of Uchida, Matt, Tracy, Ken, and Stewart. They were great sources of information and paring to learn from.

Art and Philosophy at Silver Falls

Art And Philosophy At Silver Falls

by Seth David Friedman

Silver Falls Stone Carving Symposium

To paraphrase Henry Moore, “art is not made out of despair, but a belief in the possibilities of life.” There can be no truer embodiment of this sentiment than Silver Falls Symposium, now in its 20th year.
Kimberly Oliver making a point to our AAC instructor Carole Murphy while Mark Andrew works on his cement kissers.
This was my second year attending, and to be honest, it started with my usual trepidation. Did I really want to leave the joyful solitude of my city-backyard-carving-space and go anywhere else? But Silver Falls is no ordinary place, as this example from 2010 hopes to illustrate.

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Silver Falls 2014

Silver Falls Stone Sculptors Symposium 
August 23rd - 28th, 2014 - Oregon


If you would like to join us next year, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to be added to our mailing list so you will receive notice about our next Silver Falls Symposium event!

Stone carvers are invited to convene at the Silver Falls State Park Conference center for 5 days of sculpting fun. Under the lush canopy of Douglas fir trees, this inclusive community sets up a circle of tents to carve, share, learn and be invigorated. From the beginner's tent to the professional's tool chest, there are ample ways to advance one's ideas, talents and learning. Please join us to connect with other artists.

Extensive carving sessions are interspersed with informative classes and stimulating sculpting lessons. Field instructors are always available to help noodle through your challenges. Bring your gear (if you are a beginner, we have tools you can use), connect to our power, water and air sources and peruse the tools and variety of stones being carved and available for purchase.

We provide meals and comfortable lodge rooms to relax in between activities. Our evenings bring professionals to show their images and expertise in a broad range of sculpture. Revel under the stars at the campfire before turning in for a well-deserved rest.

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15th Annual Silver Falls Symposium

Find out what we did in 2009 at Silver Falls!!
August 22-26, 2009

Special Guests: Brian Goldbloom  and  Collen Wilson

The Symposium is open to all levels, from beginners who have never carved stone to the experienced sculptor.  This year the symposium will include individualized field instruction by Laura Alpert, Rich Hestikind, Lee Imonen, David P. Miller and Tom Urban. Bring projects you've started, or buy stone on site and get one-on-one attention from the instructor of your choice.  On Tuesday Paul Buckner will be on site to give individualized instruction.  Evening slide presentations will feature work by Brian Goldbloom, Coleen Wilson and Rich Hestikind. The Silver Falls Symposium is a great place to make new friends, renew old friendships and learn more about stone carving in a relaxed, supportive environment.


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