This is another Craig who has also just recently joined NWSSA. He graciously agreed to shares how he felt about his first carving experience with us.
I arrived around noon and came upon a sun drenched, seemingly abandoned forest field filled with rain canopies, mounds of tools, and hunks of stone. I was soon greeted by a friendly soul named Kim, and following a brief exchange we joined other folks for lunch in the cafeteria. Kim introduced me to a twinkle-eyed chap named Lane. I shared that my motivation for joining the symposium was to rekindle my creative fire inspired by connecting with other artists. Lane soon inquired about my writing skills and influenced me to compose a brief article of my "first impressions" of the symposium.
I spent the afternoon and the following morning, meandering about capturing photos and conversations with a dozen carvers. Folks kindly indulged my inquiries and comments about materials, tools, textures and designs. Common to all, was a generosity of spirit and willingness to share a few reflective moments. This reception felt inclusive and resonated with a strong sense of community. I was impressed by the camaraderie and enjoyed the constructive discussions / recommendations freely shared. It was energizing to chat with so many creative, confident folks with healthy, yet balanced egos. Perhaps, stone sculptors enjoy a unique culture informed by the medium we choose to engage.
Structurally, I found this symposium well organized, educational and very supportive. The natural forest location was inspiring and the worksite layout seemed organic and smart. I liked the casual and informative "tool time" chat(s) and enjoyed the impressive evening presentation of Uchida's amazing art work (I believe it was Erik who did a great job translating!).
Although my attendance was brief, it yielded a strong and positive impression. I left feeling inspired and thankful. A special note of appreciation goes to Tom and Daniel for their assistance selecting tools and to MJ for nudging me to "go for" the Italian marble. Lastly, sincere appreciation to all for helping rekindle my fire. . .