At the Camp Brotherhood Symposium in Jnly 1998, interviews were done by Becky Kosowski, Steve Sandry, Arliss Newcomb, and Nancy Green.
Becky Kosowski spoke to Vic Picou and Lee Gass, who attended the very first NWSSA Symposium in 1987.
"About 30 scnlptors from Canada and the US participated in the first symposium held at Rich Beyer's ranch in Pateros, WA. The accommodations were rustic, participants camped, ate outdoors, and bathed in the Methow River. An harmonic convergence occurring at the same time was cause for a mountain-top celebration for some people."
Vic and Lee remember working on two group pieces, one was a marble owl which was completed during the session, the other was a four-ton boulder that Rich tipped on end for everyone to carve on. For many, it was their first experience with a compressor.
Vic commented, "The first and subsequent symposia have a lot in common, with the educational events being more spontaneous at the first." To Vic, the most striking thing was the international flavor.
Lee said, "The only people who really knew what they were doing were Rich Beyer and George Pratt." At current symposia, "there are so many people who know what they're doing and, for any problem, there are four or five ways to solve it and they're all good. Our culture has grown up about how to do this. It's hard to· imagine this working well without a few rules."
At the end of each day, Lee remembers "crashing in my tent and dying, and then getting up the next day and doing it allover again."
Steve Sandry interviewed Jan Willing of Bellingham, WA. This was her first symposium.
SS: Jan, what was your main impression coming to Camp Brotherhood?
JW: This was a life-altering experience. It will take time to put into perspective. It was an intense experience, both creatively and logistically. It required me to stay in the present within myself and with the group.
SS: How did the symposium structure help you?
JW: It frustrates me! I felt torn between going to meaningful workshops and doing my work, but it was a rich experience."
SS: How did you do on your own sculpture?
SW: "The three pieces I worked on here had the theme of feeling safe and secure. This is what I was looking for. To know it was okay to work the way I do (with the spirit of the stone, direct carving). I got a lot of encouragement and appreciation. I appreciated Michael Jacobsen's advice. "Don't question your muse." This stopped my doubts about the piece I was sculpting. The major benefit to me was learning that I'm not alone in loving this work."
SS: Thanks, Jan. Hope to see you here again next year!
Arliss Newcomb interviewed our youngest attendee, nine-year-old Amber Adams. This was her third year at Camp Brotherhood.
AN: Amber, what are some of the most interesting things about coming to Camp Brotherhood?
AA: Lots of people work many different types of stone and carve many sculptures.
AN: How about the people you have met here?
AA: All the people at Camp Brotherhood have good personalities and they help me.
AN: Do you have plans for next year?
AA: Yes, I want to come again next year and carve and catch more butterflies.
Nancy Green interviewed David Cohen, a first-time attendee.
David didn't know what to expect at the symposium. He had had no experience carving. It wasn't clear to him beforehand that there was a beginner's workshop. He thought, from looking at the schednle, that workshops wonld be throughout the day and that one conld go to each at their leisure. He was looking forward to Ward Lynch's lifting workshop and planned his threeday stay for that, and was disappointed that the schedule changed.
He didn't realize that there would be so much free time to carve, so he asked people questions about carving. The people and the teachers were so willing to share, he was delighted. He never did any actual carving, but he bought hand tools and stone and is ready to carve at home.
Because he never attended a summer camp, he figured the symposium was a camping experience and he found it "extremely enjoyable." He had some concerns about the food to begin with (he is into organic), but he found it very good, especially the desserts.