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This Year at Silver Falls - Nov/Dec 2000

I guess if I weren’t a stone sculptor I would have to become one just to be a part of the Silver Falls Symposium. Of course since I live to carve, it is a double joy. This year I got to spend time in the beautiful Oregon forest with some of the friendliest, most helpful people anywhere.

On top of that, when I did have a question about stone, tools, design and working as an artist, these same great folks were able to give first hand guidance and encouragement. This year, as last, Mark Andrew, David Miller, Tom Urban, and Rich Hestekind were on hand at Silver Falls. What a treat.

With Mark coordinating the events, all the friction and worry vanishes and everyone is free to learn and carve and eat obscene portions of bacon and eggs (and other wonderful food). David is the hammer and chisel guru who has invaluable knowledge of how to work without a cloud of dust. If you like to carve and listen to opera or breathe without a respirator, then David is indispensable.

On the other hand, if you want to know anything and everything about power gear, Tom Urban has inexhaustible knowledge. Rich has an inspiring way of talking about large pieces of stone and the water features he designs and builds. These four r eturnees are uncommonly unselfish and talented.

Stuart Jacobson, a former Silver Falls coordinator and a granite and basalt sculptor, was on hand to demonstrate some of the techniques he uses on the elegant pieces he makes. Stu guided a group effort that produced a granite water basin that he generously donated to the auction.

A new face this year was Alexandra Morosco, who came all the way from Ventura, CA, with an awesome array of hard to find specialty tools. I found some great Italian mounted burrs. It was a revelation to talk to Alexandra since she is a fellow artist with an ability to find the perfect tool for the job.

To all my friends from last year and the people I met this summer: Thanks for a making Silver Falls fun and immensely useful. See you next year.

My Favorite Things About the Symposium at Camp Brotherhood - Nov/Dec 2000

Quotes overheard at Camp B 2000

“I couldn’t believe how open these sculptors were with anything I wanted to know. Everyone was very forthcoming with techniques that have worked for them. Hand tools, power tools, air tools — whatever tips that they had figured out through the years — they told me about them. It didn’t matter if I had been carving only a short time and they were at it for 20 questions mattered.”

“The campfire time in the evenings was a great time to get to know people in a slower paced way; to get to know people beyond the context of sculpting.”

“I wonder what would happen if it were possible to get a hundred sculptors to come together to live in a village-like setting for a couple of weeks, give them enough stone and tools to carve their hearts out. It’s not only possible: IT HAPPENS EVERY YEAR!”

“ I f ell in love with a stone.”

“Participating in the hands-on large public workshop with Michael Jacobson and Rich Hestekind was definitely my favorite thing of the symposium. It gave me the experience of working with a team of people on the real life issues that would arise in a large pr oject — the interpersonal and political. Of course it’s a mock situation but — what an excellent exercise for a large sculpture commission project!

“As a newcomer I wasn’t sure what to expect. Much to my surprise, after this year, I don’t feel like a “new” person. I remember someone walking up to me and asking, “How are you doing? Where do you want to set up your work area?” I had no idea, so we talked and figured out I wanted to work with power tools but not pneumatics, so we found a spot for me to set up my canopy workspace. I even had two people help me raise my canopy. The teamwork of this place really made me feel welcome!”

“I was blown away by the slides of peoples’ work. The caliber of artists who are there is astounding. It’s great to hear each of the artists say a few things about their work — little comments like “pushing the edge of what the stone can do.” Hearing about how much they can make the stone do what they want, and all the humbling experiences that the stone has taught them, is inspiring.

“I was really surprised to see all the women stone sculptors here. I thought I was more or less going to be out there on my own. What a great surprise to see about half of the people attending are women, from all walks of life and experience. It was so encouraging and affirming.”

“I’m a shy person when it comes to social situations, so going to the campfire at night was something I was anxious about. As it turned out, I felt welcomed and included in whatever level I wanted to participate. I could just sit back and enjoy the drumming or dancing.”

“I didn’t know what to expect, I had only learned about this symposium just before I went. I was really looking forward to meeting a few other stone sculptors. Well, my god, there were so many sculptors, and a great selection of rock available to buy. Getting to know some other sculptors really recharged my batteries. I f eel like I can work for at least a year on the juice from this thing. At least until the next symposium.”

Verena Schwippert Wins a Commission - July/Aug 2001


On January 24, 2000, NWSSA member Verena Schwippert was awarded a sculpture commission for the Everett Transit Station by Sound Transit. The amount set aside for this project is $60,000.

The sculpture will be made of approximately 20 tons of Cascade granite. There will be five large, naturally rounded boulders of three to four and a half tons each. Two of these will remain nearly uncarved, while three will be carved into relaxed fists or gently closed hands, all retaining their boulder shape.

The distribution of the sculptures will be as if naturally strewn, three of them in a cluster and two a short distance away.

An important aspect of the work is that people are invited to interact with it, to sit on it and to touch the stone. Because an espresso shop is nearby, this will most likely occur.

The Art Advisory Committee of Sound Transit chose the hands to indicate and to symbolize the historical manufacturing background of the City of Everett.

The project is currently in its second phase, which means that the information gathering and conceptual presentation steps are completed.

It will take Verena about nine months to carve the rocks. Installation is planned for early summer 2002.

Our warmest congratulation to Verena!