There was a subtext to the weekend that I didn’t understand at first. I was caught up in the idea of women carving together in a beautiful spot. But then I got it: This weekend of “Artists in Action” carefully orchestrated by Arliss Newcomb was the ultimate birthday celebration for her, a stone carver about to turn 80 (in October). Women came from all over for the chance to sculpt together and celebrate Arliss’ octogenarity (if there is such a thing).
The Women’s Stone Carving Weekend in early June coincided with a group show at the Old Alcohol Plant that included a large survey of Arliss’ sculptures and two local painters Gary Nisbet and Stephen Yates. Her small delicate works and large pieces filled the hotel lobby.
Over a dozen women stone sculptors set up canopies on the hotel lawn, overlooking the lovely marina. Our sculpture filled a small area nearby. The sounds of hammers and chisels, laughter, and soft conversations filled the air for three days. By the time the weekend was over, hundreds of visitors had walked the grounds, watching us work, asking questions, and buying the occasional piece. It was an opportunity to come together and as Arliss put it, “share our knowledge and expertise with each other and have fun.” We did that and more. The camaraderie and generosity of spirit everyone experienced will keep all of us motivated and energized going forward.
The event was considered a great success by all who participated. The hotel wants us back next year. All the women really liked the opportunity to sculpt together. So, anyone interested in facilitating the 2018 Women’s Stone Carver Weekend should contact Arliss for tips on creating an effective event.
And, by the way, Happy 80th birthday Arliss Newcomb!