All in all, the 3rd Silver Falls Symposium May 22-26 was wonderful, somewhat spontaneous, and well done. Of course I have a biased opinion because I was one of the staff members. It was my third Silver Falls Symposium AND I only live 21 miles from the park. (You can see the logistics I'm working with.) The off-and-on rain could have made everyone irritable but it didn't. People alternated moving further under their tarps, going for a cup of tea or coffee, or going to their room for a nap. The mosquitoes and no-see-ums could have made everyone miserable when the weather warmed up but they didn't. We all used bug spray and commiserated while scratching.
The auction could have been ho-hum for "old-timers" and confusing for new people, but it wasn't. Maybe the free wine furnished by Sudha Acher helped, but it was a rollicking good time even for the old diehards who really dreaded it (you know who you are). To add to the fun, as a spotter I was supposed to nick anyone who moved at all , but everyone was rolling in their seats so much I gave that up immediately. Terry Kramer as auctioneer made the auction an absolute joy, with smooth support of Anastasia Miller, Jonas Blaut, Kathy Ellis, Penelope Crittenden, Kathy, me and all the volunteers who carried armloads of donations to the other building after dinner so we could set it up. $962 was raised and someone threw in the balance to round it up to $1,000 so we were all really pleased for a first auction. Everyone was ready to pack George Pratt into their car and take him home with them after the symposium. His eager, ego-less presence was felt by all. I had asked Thomas Miller to bring some obelisk-shaped"scraps" of white Colorado marble with him for me to purchase for a specific sculpture in mind. He bronght and quickly sold five 2-3 foot stones that had an average footprint of 5" x 5"! The stones were so sleek it was exciting to realize you had very little to remove to get a finished sculpture.
Back for a third Symposium, Duffy Stender from North Bend, Oregon, was so fascinated by one of the stones, he purchased it and, on the way back to his carving site, this SOAPSTONE carver realized he had no way to carve it! So he went tu John Pugh's truck and purchased a die grinder and "fell into the stone." It was a joy to listen to him marveling at the way the light moved through the stone and the exquisite shadows it cast. Kathy Ellis (another staff member and purchaser of one of the obelisks) and I wondered ifwe could get pictures of the five different resulting sculptures just tu see how different they all turn onto If we succeed, you'll see them io a future issue.
Instructor Bud Egger brought a figure in progress io limestone to show his process of transferring a workiog drawing onto stone. It was an inspiration to see the four tiny hand tools he uses to attack huge pieces of stone. (He doesn't use power.) He told Karla (the Symposinm registrar) her translucent white alabaster face was "gorgeous" and I honestly think the woman floated the rest of the day. (Funny, I had told her the same thing but it didn't have that effect.)
I saved the best for last - my massage with Carolyn Anderson the last morning when everyone else would be busy. She was set up in the lobby of her lodge. I really needed and was looking forward to my first experience under her infamous fmgers. Very scantily clad, I slid under the covering and fell under her spell when IN MARCHED THE CLEANING CREW!!! It seems checkout time was 11:00. They threw open the doors to the rooms, mice iocluded, with all my stuff still unpacked, and started cleaning. Karla (a registrar's work is NEVER done) piled my things on the lobby couch while Carolyn and I stoically pressed on, stobbornly oblivious to the noise and complete lack of privacy. Finally giviog up, I slid from under the covers, grabbed a handful of what I hoped were the right assortment of clothes and dashed to the bathroom to dress. Talk about an anticlimax!!
The drive home took me 25 minutes - a tough transition from TOTAL freedom to total reality. As I unpacked each of the treasures I'd bought, traded for, or been gifted with, I thought about the time I'd been given among people who make me feel normal, who speak this wordless language of sculpture, and who, just like me, peer into stones to see themselves.
NOTE: At Camp Brotherhood the following month, I was asked by many how Silver Falls "compared." The Silver Falls Symposium differs several ways: fresh, fluffY towels each day; your bed made everyday (every third day with fresh linen); incredibly delicions, nutritions meals that spoil everyone (including vegetarians) starting with breakfast at 7:00; clean modern lodges that sleep approximately 16 in each (two per bedroom) and have large bathrooms (one men's; one women's); lobbies in each one with comfortable couches! chairs and readiog lamps and stocked fireplaces; free bicycles and helmets provided for exercise; miles and miles of exquisite trails among old growth forests and streams (the nearest falls are 172 feet high with an easy trail goiog behind the falls for a spectacular view); and a wonderful calm that seems to come from the air itself. There was only one large compressor so the noise level isn't quite as "throbbing" and John Pugh from Steatite is usually the only stone vendor, though with a lare selection of stone and tools. The camaraderie, energy level and exchange of ideas are the same, but the fact there have been fewer people meant you get to know everyone. The weather is still relatively cool and it gets dark earlier, but this makes for nice gatherings in the meeting hall, lobbies or fire pit. The capital city of Salem with its historical attractions is only 23 miles away, but the "public" is curiously absent at the actual symposium site.