- Last Updated: Sunday, 05 August 2012 19:12
This is for those who haven't attended Camp Brotherhood, but wanted to or at least wondered about it. This year was my first. Take my word for it, it is big. A huge centrally-located compressor and four or five generators keep the ground throbbing during all working hours, but it quickly becomes a given and you mentally tum it off. There were 91 people. Some you never get to know beyond an exchanged smile and pleasantry. Maybe because there just isn't time, but possibly because your paths weren't meant to cross any more than that at this time. There are "cliques" in the sense of old-timers who know each other very, very well and will SEEM to be a closed society, but ask anyone of them questions and they eagerly and willingly focus on you. Look at it this way - you're broadening THEIR circle of friends by breaking through YOUR sense of awkwardness.
The stone vendors had more variety and bigger sizes than I was used to (witnessed by a forklift for moving and positioning some of them). This allowed you to see more types of stone worked at one time. The (to me) heretofore "lowly" limestone was present in quantity and worked in ways that were so inspiring I purchased my first piece. The check -in, scheduling and notices for classes, meetings, and even impromptu functions were organized, clear and hard to miss if you ate breakfast and dinner at the lodge. The lodge is an all-purpose building that truly sits "up the hill". The first time I wheezed up the hill, I thought I wouldn't survive ten days. Not so. By the end of the week, it was easy to go up and down several times a day and I still miss the exercise. I slept in a tent along the edge of the field instead of in the lodge for two reasons: 1) I NEVER pass up the chance to sleep outside, and 2) watching the sunrise slowly creep into the forest behind me each a.m. was too beautiful to pass up. I could also easily crash anytime of the day when I needed to, and did Because it's the middle of summer, it is hot and there are mosquitoes, but the days are so long, it's a tradeoff.
There were people who worked on work-in-progress and didn't finish; people who finished more than one piece; people who finished one large piece, etc. There were no rules and no pressure. When I asked Vic Picou what "Symposium" meant, he said " ... an exchange of ideas." I would say that it's an exchange of ideas AND energy. When I tried to explain to co-workers why I went to symposiums, I paraphrased a quote from Nancy Ackerman's The Natural History of the Senses, "It is the province of art to throw buckets of light into the dark and make life new again." I told them I was going to get "buckets of light." Everyone should try Camp Brotherhood or any of the other symposiums at least once. You can't possibly come away with less than you started. And if you're "afraid," then you have to try one. These places are the safest in the world to be afraid because of the love, support and energy from people who not only let you be yourself, but encourage you to do so.
Some of my highlights: little Ward Lynch moving huge stones with a come-along in his class (I promptly bought one - the hardest working tool you'll find for $30); the Montoya video watched one hot afternoon. I learned more, technically speaking, in one hour than I have in the last year. The stealthy, exciting growth of the outdoor "Gallery" as pieces were quietly added; an especially tender moment when a fellow sculptor attending for the first time admitted that just before he arrived, he was really :afraid:; Tracy Powell's gentle graciousness played off Meredith Earl's stream of comedianquality, self.<Jeprecating sarcasm; Amy Brier's "Ball Series" that had to be seen; the shocking. awesome evolution of Kathy Ellis's sculpture started at Silver Falls in May, quiet Dennis Joram's astounding portfolio; Gary Cox's progressious from hand tools three years ago when I first met him. to electric, to pnewnatic and hack to the peace and meditative quality of hand tools; Vic Picou's constant gentle admonishing to live the moment, look where you are, BE HERE; Michael Jacobsen's characterization of Shameless McArt and his ringing battle cry to "Sculpt Proud!" that still makes me laugh; and dancing off peot- up energy until 2 a.m. at the party during which Ken Barnes showed me the moves to the Village People's YMCA (Yes. that was me that finally turned off the stereo.)
Postscript: Typically when I drive home from these sort of things, my mind doesn't want to focus on reality and gives me a bit of trouble starting out This trip was no different First, I headed the wrong way, that is, north instead of south. When I realized something was wrong, I stopped two women on bicycles and found they didn't know where they were either. I fInally found the freeway and at Kent broke my rule of not pulling off for gas unless I could SEE the station from the highway. At the off-ramp stop sign, I was bumped hard by the kid behind me when I stopped for a fast truck. I didn't care that much about the car because the huge cup of tea between my legs slopped (you guessed it) into my crotch aud seat I pulled off aud sat there thinking there was NO WAY I was going to get out of the car when the kid who hit me drove offi Now you have to understand this sort of reintroduction to the so-called REAL WORLD after the bliss of symposiums is so normal to me. I expected it and just took down the license number.
At the gas station, the restroom was in front and required a key from inside (of course!), so I drove around back and wedged the car into a corner of the lot with my door against a building and slid out of the sopping seat aud nonchalantly (the only way to handle situations like this) pulled off my wet pauts/underpants, d"ed with the paut-Iegs and pulled on dry clothes. After carefully checking the car over. I decided to go in and get a cold drink aud let this all sort out aud did so. promptly locking my keys in the car in the process! Mind you, rm laughing because I've come to believe this is the way I pay for these times off to myself. Sitting on the curb in my dry pants. drinking my cold drink, wondering who to call fIrst (AAA to get the car keys OR the police for hit-run) I wondered if just maybe my husband had replaced my hide-a-key in the bmnper Sure enough. there it was. When my augel said, "Carole, just go home," I did.