So… Here we are. It feels as though we’ve stepped through a portal into an alternate reality, or perhaps awoken washed up on the shores of Lilliput completely surrounded by tiny creatures who may or may not do us harm.
By the time you read this, you may have heard the news that the coronavirus pandemic has forced the cancellation of most planned NWSSA events in 2020. This includes the Kubota Garden Youth Carving Workshop, the Women’s Carving Workshop, the Volunteer Park pop-up exhibition, the Washington International Sculpture Symposium (at camp Pilgrim Firs), and the Oregon International Sculpture Symposium (at camp Suttle Lake). This brings new feelings of loss and sadness. It will be the first time in three decades that either of the symposiums have been cancelled. Through our events, we keep the stone sculpting art form alive and vibrant. Our members rely on these events to collaborate, and to inspire our studio practice through the rest of the year.
The question is, how do we choose to respond to this situation? Please, first and foremost, take care of your health. That includes giving yourself carving time! Apply your creative problem solving skills; in many ways we are better equipped than most to deal with this situation. Stay in contact. Call friends and see what projects they are working on. It will lift you up! Even though NWSSA activity will be limited, we are still here, and we will get through this. We had a great exhibit at the Northwest Flower & Garden show in February, for which we are grateful to Ed Salerno for taking up the mantle from Nicky Oberholtzer. Our new pilot project, the rotating public art exhibit at Marymoor Park in Redmond, WA, is still active and soon will be seeing lots of summertime visitors. Finally, every two months this journal will keep bringing images, stories, and articles on the art of stone sculpture direct to your home.
To all the members of the tribe, be blessed with good health and good fortune and know that you are not alone. Better days will be here soon; let’s get to work on creating them.
Ben, Maya, Kentaro, Ellie, Doug, Cyra, and Ken