Last Updated: Sunday, 05 August 2012 19:12
The hosts of the 5th Annual Vancouver Island Stone Sculptor's Symposium on Thetis Island, B.C., served up another helping of great fall weather. This was the second year that the Symposium was held at Camp Columbia, right next door to organizers Simone and Peter Weber-Luckham. The sun shone warmly for the five day event, Sept. 14-19, 1999, and by all accounts, everyone had a great time.
The event kicked off Tuesday afternoon with a local radio interview of Simone Weber-Luckham, who did a fantastic job of promotion, and handled the interviewers questions with finesse. As the successive ferries landed, more and more sculptors arrived with excited greetings, and the creative energy rose.
This year the power tools were set up on the playing field, and the hand tool area was nestled in the woods, near the beach. Carol Way and Sandra Bilawich again held their popular diamond bench grinding workshop in the boathouse. Andrew Pothier came over to the Island in style on his yacht, and brought his wonderful candy store of carving supplies and tools. Jim Gill supplied raw stone, and Dan Cline introduced a newly discovered blue-hued marble now being quarried near the northern tip of Vancouver Island.
The many workshops held were well attended, and broadened everyone's experience. George Pratt and I shared a quiet smile as, yet again, some sculptors, adamant about hand tools on Wednesday, came creeping around to the power tool area by Friday, rubbing their weary arms, and having second thoughts over an air hammer. They were all greeted with a chance to try. Our scholarship fund allowed Tara Jackie, of Vancouver, and Andea Van Dyke of Ladysmith, B.C., to attend (this was Andrea's first introduction to stone carving - and she's a natural!). The farthest-from-home award goes to Yolanda Spinola Elias, who came from Seville, Spain. (I surrendered a treasured piece of Brain-Berman-delivered ribbon basalt to Yolanda, and she did it far more justice than I could ever have.) When we got too sore from carving, Carolyn Anderson's and Anastasia Miller's hands of wonder were able to get the kinks out.
On Saturday, we were visited by a large group of school children, who got a first hand look at the art of stone sculpting. The press was also in attendance, and articles appeared in the newspapers as a result, adding to stone sculpting's exposure. The fundraising auction that evening was again successful in adding to our scholarship fund. A thank you to all the generous donations, and to the generous bidders!
The food was good, made better by great conversation with friends new and old around the meal tables. Gulf Island life seems so idyllic, especially to a city boy. There is a palatable ambiance you can sense immediately upon arriving. And we all made the most of it. Afternoon swims in the ocean, canoeing, sunset boat cruises, campfire singalongs under the stars, fresh caught crab and cod made into scrumptious cakes, harvested oysters on the half shell, and a Saturday night performance art "happening". The phosphoresceots were in and six swimmers "painted" the dark waters off the camp dock for the enjoyment of a large audience. All part of what makes the Gulf Islands a special place.
Does it make you want to come next year?
Last Updated: Sunday, 05 August 2012 19:12
Kudos again for our gold medal educational booth designer and coordinator Nicky Oberholtzer! This year’s booth was such a success due to having doubled our space, and adding the much needed demonstration booth! Nicky requested not to have the curtains that surround each booth. This allowed an open air feeling that visually made the space larger, and more visible to the public from all sides.
But what made our booth get attention by TEN FOLD, was one of our members sitting at a steel cart, enclosed by Plexiglas, chiseling and filing a stone during exhibit hours. So, instead of just another booth with people walking by, maybe wondering what our booth was about, we had a working carver who got people to stop and watch, with fascination, the carving of stone!
It was thrilling to see people gather, ten or twenty at a time, to watch the demo. They would then carefully touch the sculptures around the perimeter, studying them. And eventually asking questions on what the demo person was doing, and what they were carving. Then they would stroll around to the exhibit area to see the other sculptures, to pick up brochures, and inquire about the association. After several years of participation in this show, I found myself, this year, thinking WOW! By the way, that was the word often blurted out by people just before saying something like, “I had no idea how difficult it was to create a stone sculpture!”
To encourage people to believe that “sculpture” is friendly, and, to see it in a setting other then on pedestals, in a gallery, Nicky designed a living room with a sofa, bookcase, coffee table, and side tables. This way, people could see that sculpture can go just about any where in their home. The most often heard comment at sculpture exhibits, and one reason for lack of sales, is, “I love it! But I have no idea where to put it.”
The other thing that I was thrilled to see was older adults watching and commenting that they would love to try sculpting, but felt that they were “too old.” Well, I would point over to our ageless, energized, seventy six year old, Nancy Green, or to her white alabaster owl in the roughing out stage, if she was not there, and proudly announce that one’s age should not dictate what we love, or what we might do. Thanks, Nancy, for your participation! You helped put the “WOW” on their lit up faces!
If people were really interested in trying some “hands on,” Nicky would put goggles on them, and let them chisel or file on the stone themselves. This show is a great opportunity to get new members and new symposium attendees: the new life to keep our association going. Even the Garden Master, Cisco, took the time to stop and talk to us with enthusiasm! And hey, we sold a few pieces.
Many, many thanks to all of you who brought sculptures, helped with the set up and take down, and sitting shifts. This could not have been such a success without your energy and commitment! I encourage any of you to get involved with an activity such as this to broaden your experience and to gain respect for what it takes to put such an event together. I hope that you got to see member Rich Hestekind’s designer garden on the main floor. It was beautiful Rich! Great job to all!