Event Booking
Web Links
News Feeds
Search - K2

Symposia - General Info

2020 Stone Carving Symposium Status Update

Hi Stoners,

I hope everyone is staying safe and able to find a creative outlet in these difficult times.

The symposium managers, supported by the board of directors, worked to find a way to have safe symposiums this summer. However, it ultimately was not possible so we made the choice to cancel our events, including the Women's Hand Carving event in June, Pilgrim Firs in July and Suttle Lake in August. This was heartbreaking because we all want to get out of our homes and see our carving buddies, but it wasn't possible at this time. We will monitor the situation and may create a spontaneous short-term event towards fall, if it is safe.

In the meantime, we still have association business to be done at our July annual meeting, and plenty of carving to be done at our home studios. We will set up a Zoom association meeting where we can at least see some familiar faces. And we'll need to elect a new board of directors. If anyone wants to contribute to the good work of our group please contact me or one of the other board members to talk about what we do. The time commitment is not large and we do some really great things.

The CDC is investigating the idea that being fully covered in stone dust is protective against a wide range of viruses. Make dust and stay safe!

Ken - Prez

Covid-19 Common Questions & Resources Below is a select list of links to some great resources we found regarding Covid-19 information and resources (some especially for artists).

Read more ...

The Dojo

Instructor Tracy Powell Demonstrating how to carve limestone in the DojoBy Tamara Buchanan

At each NWSSA International Symposium our organization creates an area where persons who have never carved, or haven’t carved for a long time, have an opportunity to create a stone sculpture. A large tent is provided. Work tables and bankers are available. All manner and types of tools can be checked out to use. An experienced sculptor is present to make sure that anyone can get started on a project, learn about safety, tool use, stone selection, design and more.

This area has always been called “the beginner’s tent.” The term has never been a true fit for this special place. The area is so much more than a place for 1st time carvers. It is a “seed bed” for people who want to try something new, for carvers who haven’t touched a stone in years and want a refresher, for experienced carvers who want to try out a new tool, work out a design problem, or just need advice on a project. It’s really an on-field hub.

This year, as we set up the tent area, I expressed my exasperation of the term “beginner’s tent” to those who were helping ...but I had no alternative name. The next day, a work-study fellow, Grant, suggested “The Dojo.” I was familiar with the word as we have a Dojo on Lopez Island. It’s a peaceful building in the woods that is used by various groups as a place to exercise, sing, or meditate. The word for me meant a place that was inclusive, inviting, and open. It felt right to me, but was it just a little too “strange” for our group?Attendees going about their work in the welcoming space of the Dojo

Wikipedia says: “A dōjō (道場) is a hall or space for immersive learning or meditation. This is traditionally in the field of martial arts, but has been seen increasingly in other fields, such as meditation and software development. The term literally means "place of the Way" in Japanese. “

“Immersive learning” is certainly what we’re about in our Dojo. The learning often involves stone, or tools, or learning about’s all up to you. As the week progressed, the term The Dojo was embraced by many. Our Dojo was a place of great learning, much patience, and a good share of happiness.

Safety for Sculptors

Northwest Stone Sculptors Symposium at Camp Pilgrim Firs & Camp Suttle Lake
Eye, Ear & Resp Protection

WELCOME to our creative place where everyone is on the safety team and helps to ensure an enjoyable time for all, including our visitors. Be aware of the safe use of tools and considerate toward protection of the grounds and camp facilities. Drive slowly (15 mph) and watch for pedestrians and wildlife.

PERSONAL SAFETY is #1, Wear clothing and footwear that is safe to work in at camp. Safety gear for eyes, ears, and respiratory system is required. Be careful on uneven surfaces and use a light after dark. We want a safe and trusting time with other artists.

SAFE TOOLS & WORK AREA is your responsibility, so keep your workspace safe at all times, and secure it when you are not present. Unplug all power tools when you’re away. Electrical connections should be protected from moisture, particularly at night. Be mindful of your flying chips and the dust you create. Be prepared to add extra sides to your canopy for excessive dust, or to be asked to work in a different area. Inspect your power tools, hand tools, electrical cords, and all connections each day for proper working condition. Visitors may not use or handle your power or pneumatic tools.

VEHICLES Drive slowly!!! Drivers must keep an eye out for people and equipment while driving on the work field and camp areas. If the driver is unsure or backing up, the driver must ask for someone to guide and spot them.
Group Demonstration
DRUG & ALCOHOL POLICY Consumption or possession of alcohol by any guest under 21 on Camp property is strictly prohibited. Consumption is not allowed on the field while power tools are in use.
The use or possession of illegal substances/drugs on Camp property is strictly prohibited.

SMOKING The Camp enforces a no smoking policy in all of their facilities. You may smoke outdoors. You must carefully extinguish all cigarettes to reduce the risk of fire and appropriately dispose of cigarette butts.

DEMONSTRATIONS Please remember to wear safety protection while attending instructor demonstrations.

PERSONAL PROPERTY is your responsibility: tools, equipment and your sculptures on exhibit.

VISITORS Visitors are welcome and should check in with staff upon arrival. Eye, hearing and respiratory protection should be worn while observing work in the carving area.

Thank you, and Carve Proud!

Northwest Stone Sculptors Symposium

What to Bring to the Jade Carving Workshop

Jade Carving Workshop

Deborah Wilson recommends that if you have the following items, you should bring them for the Jade Carving Workshop Jade Carving Workshop at Suttle Lake

• Respirator (3M has a good silicone rubber one)
• Waterproof Apron… if you have one
• Rubber boots, again only if you have a pair
• Ear plugs!! Very important (she recommends the foam disposable ones) and bring a small case to put them in.
• Safety glasses or visor
Bandana - keeps the dust out if your hair
• Rubber gloves, optional
• Sketch pad and pencils etc.
• Plasticine for making maquettes. She usually brings some with her as well.
• Thumb drive to download jade tooling and carving information

Keep in mind, there is an additional materials fee, depending upon the size and quality of jade you select for your project. 

About NWSSA Symposia

NWSSA is adapting to the pandemic!  In August of 2020, we held our first ever Virtual Sculpture Symposium.  This is new territory for a group of people that are intrinsically tactile learners, but it was a big success.  We next held a 3-day Winter Virtual Sculpture Symposium from January 16-18, 2021.  Three days packed with engaging talks, and a wildly entertaining round of Geopardy!

Typically, NWSSA hosts two major events per year: the Washington State International Sculpture Symposium (for over 32 years), currently held at the Pilgrim Firs Camp & Conference Center in Port Orchard, WA, and the Oregon State International Sculpture Symposium (for over 25 years), currently held at the Suttle Lake Campground in Sisters, OR.

In 2021, we are remaining sensitive to public health circumstances and making our decisions based on the information, recommendations, and requirements set forth by federal, state, and local governments.  We want our members to be safe and healthy!  Based on the current information, we believe that the WA symposium will be able to be held this year, and are exploring the potential for the OR symposium and also the Women's Carving Workshop.  Please be patient with us and with each other as we do our best to navigate these stressful and unusual circumstances.

Save the Dates:
WA International Sculpture Symposium (Port Orchard, WA): 7/10/21-7/18/21 [registration expected to open 6/1/21]
OR International Sculpture Symposium (Sisters, OR): 8/8/21-8/15/21
Women's Carving Workshop (Port Hadlock, WA): TBD

Symposia offer enrichment for attendees from all backgrounds, regardless of previous experience. Master sculptors are often rejuvenated by the event and leave bursting with new ideas to fuel the rest of their year, while beginners and intermediate carvers will also learn new tools, techniques, and styles while they develop their creative voice within a supportive environment.

Stone and tools are available for purchase from knowledgeable vendors at reasonable prices. The teachers vary from year to year to celebrate the diversity of artists working in what has become a niche art form. 

For those who attend, it is an immersive getaway with others who speak your language (stone), surrounded by every resource you need to transform into a stone sculptor. Evenings are spent by the fire swapping stories, making new friends, and catching up with connections made from past symposiums.

For more information on how to become a member click here.