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Symposium Testimonials

Beginning Stone Carving

I’ve Never Carved a Stone!  What Can I Expect as a Beginner?
Impressions of Camp B  by Pat Barton, Irene Blomberg & Berta Geller  
Beginner Work Area: The beginner work area is set up at the edge of camp, thus allowing the teachers a semi-quiet space to teach.  Two large canopies house the work area, with tarps on the ground to catch stone chips and dust. The tents provide protection from both the sun and rain. Tables, benches and stools are provided to store tools and carve comfortably. The work area has electrical power, compressed air, and water. Students pick up and clean their work area at the end of each day. Ruth Mueseler, Beginning Instructor
"As one fairly new to stone sculpting, I found the beginner’s tent to be a place of great support and encouragement for exploring my creativity with stone." Irene Blomberg 
Full Time Instructors: Tamara Buchanan and Ruth Mueseler are both experienced stone sculptors. Tamara has been sculpting stone for over 25 years, and teaches at her studio on Lopez Island for the past 10 years. Ruth, from Bellingham, comes highly recommended by her former students for her thoughtful and respectful manner towards those wanting to learn stone. 
Do I need to bring a stone with me? 
No, An 8”x20”x4” (approx.) piece of Texas Limestone is given to each student to carve and keep. 
You may of course bring a stone of your own.  In addition, small pieces of a variety of stones are often available to try from instructors and other sculptors at camp.  Our on-site vendors do have a large selection of stone available for purchase - from softer stones like alabaster and limestone to harder stones including marble, granite and basalt. 
Do I need to bring tools? 
Free Use of Tools: Each beginning student may use NWSSA owned, and some of the instructors’ personal tools to work on their sculptures. These tools include both hand and power tools. 

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Guest Artists at NWSSA Symposiums

NWSSA Welcomes Internationally respected sculptors to our 2 annual stone carving symposiums each summer. Our members benefit from their experience and expertise. And we hope the visiting guest artists appreciate the warm, inclusive environment we try to foster.

James Horan, Guest Artist at 2017 Camp Pilgrim Firs Symposium
This July I was invited to Port Orchard, Washington to take part in and instruct at the North West Stone Sculpture Associations ( 30th sculpture symposium. Every year there are international invited guest instructors ensuring a vibrant and varied display of methods and styles. I was welcomed in Seattle airport by the president of the NWSSA Carl Nelson and made feel welcome at every step along the way.
Pilgrim Firs camp and conference center was a fantastic venue, beautiful setting, good food and kayaking and lots of coffee. On the first day I was overwhelmed by the size of the event, 80 people carving under gazebos in the sun! I set about carving a block of California Marble given to me by Carl. I decided to carve a reclining female figure, focusing on composition and negative space brought about through the process of direct carving. All around me people were carving  Alabaster,Basalt, Dunite, Granite, Jade, and Soapstone. Clouds of dust rose for the first few days as sculptures took shape. It was a fascinating site to see such variety of sculptures appear from the dust. As the week went on I learned as mush as I taught and developed and interest in Jade (by all accounts and addiction, to be continued). People would come and go, chatting briefly or asking advice. All good natured, all engulfed in stone carving.
Click here to read more of his blog regarding our Symposium.

Michael Binkley, Guest Artist at 2015 Suttle Lake Camp Symposium

I attended the Northwest Stone Sculptors Association’s Oregon symposium which was held at Camp Sisters on Suttle Lake situated on the east side of the Cascade Mountain range. The location was brand new for the Assoc. this year, having had to move from the Silver Falls location of two decades. The new location is lovely, with generous and attentive staff and a carving field among tall evergreens. Suttle Lake is just steps away, with swimming, canoeing and kayaking available.

I was invited to join this group of mostly Oregon stone carvers as a guest instructor. I gave an evening slide presentation, introducing myself and my work and acted as a mentor on the work field during the day. I am always impressed with the talent and enthusiasm of new stone carvers, and this group was no exception. As usual, once a new carver sees power tools in use, the hand tools are quickly dropped. But guiding new hands through the motions of electric and pneumatic tools is always a cautious process.

Click here to read more of Michael's Blog regarding our Symposium.

Impressions from a newcomer at Camp Brotherhood - Traci Cole

Traci ColeIn the late 1990’s I made a brief foray into stone carving via Meredith Earls. I was entranced by stone, but other priorities put carving on hold. This past winter I finally circled back, taking Sabah’s stone carving class at Pratt. Camp B seemed like a great way to continue that growth, to immerse myself in carving and see what might emerge. I signed up for the entire week without knowing a single soul or what to expect. What I found was an extended, welcoming family of supportive enablers, and an incredible array of learning opportunities. Without exception, people were warm, encouraging, and incredibly generous. Advice, tools, materials – all freely shared.

Every day was non-stop activity from nearly dawn to dusk. River walking before breakfast? Why yes, please. Lectures after lunch? But of course. Slideshows after dinner? Absolutely. The jade workshop was a phenomenal introduction to the stone and the tools to work it – all new to me. Deborah is a superb artist and teacher, and I was privileged to spend five days learning from her. Beyond the jade tent? Lectures, instruction, work time, demonstrations, visiting other artists at work, vendors... an amazing and never ending smorgasbord of riches. I came home with an extra stone or two (certainly more jade) than I had planned! I learned many new names, made new friends, was introduced to new tools and techniques, and returned home energized to create more art.

Traci Cole