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Communities of any sort need, periodically, to acknowledge their members and to give them a chance to come together to give of themselves and to test how they are functioning as a whole. For these reasons, plus the educational opportunities of working side by side with others and the camaraderie involved that stone sculpture does not usually afford, I am a strong believer in the making of a group piece.  Using only hand tools (so communication is spontaneous and skill levels easily mixed) and giving the group a very tight time frame mean the people involved have to give that much more of themselves. Like any other giving experience it’s a good mirror to hold up to oneself after the completion. Was I willing to give? Did I have to control? Did I have to be “right”? Did I need to be scared? 

So how did we do with our group piece this year at Camp B? Great. From beginning to end people came together and set themselves aside, or brought themselves in, to create a gift for someone who has given so much to NWSSA. When Hank Nelson thought about Vic Picou’s retirement from the roles he has been filling for over 15 years as President, Board Member and Symposia Director, he knew we needed to do something special to acknowledge that tremendous commitment. Hank went to Michael Jacobsen and they got the ball rolling to do what sculptors do best, sculpt. Have the group make Vic a piece to symbolize his tireless commitment to making NWSSA an ongoing community.

Tracy Powell, Rich Hestekind and I were asked to help. Tracy came up with the idea that a hand should be made to represent all of the giving, support and nurturing that Vic has given to the group. Michael came up with the idea that the hand in the mudra position of Buddhist teachings was perfect because it tells of devotion, something Vic clearly has given to us for so many years. It was to hold a flower - an offering of growth, beauty, delicacy and love.

Georgia Peterson and her committee were totally supportive of the idea and, with the help of the Board, came up with the time and money for the piece to be created.  Irene Hewins donated the large, wonderful oolitic limestone for the hand, Anastasia Miller gave the special orange alabaster for the flower, and Arliss Newcomb found and donated the perfect river rock to serve as the hand’s base. We needed tools, and Dennis Joram cleaned and sharpened the ones the group already had, while Ken Barnes and Jim Tobin bought the group over $200 worth of new tools to be added to the community tool chest. Alexandra Morosco provided a discount on the tools.

Then there was the huge donation of time and effort. Michael and Tracy were tireless. Joanne Duby gave so much: designing and roughing out the flower. Many, many individuals gave of their precious symposium time to work on the hand, including six different people each completing a different petal on the blossom. Alfonso Rodriguez Medina, Sabah Al-Dhaher and Kazutaka Uchida were there whenever we needed them, and Carmen Chacon even came up on her day off just to work on the piece.

The community finished it in seven days. We presented it to Vic on the eighth, with acknowledgment, love and appreciation for all he has given to NWSSA and to all of us.