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By Cyra Jane HobsonDeborah Wilson helping another student learn about jade carving.

So many thank yous to everyone who joined us for the stone carving symposium at Camp Brotherhood this July! As our final symposium at the Treacy Levine Center, we said goodbye with eight glorious days of inspired dust clouds and walked away with new ideas and tools and friendships and plenty of motivation. Our guest artists this year stimulated our creativity with a perfectly balanced mix of techniques and personalities. The consciousness-delving guru Georg Schmerholz dazzled us with his breathtaking sculptures and ingenious fitting techniques, and was so freely giving of his wealth of knowledge and invention he even led an impromptu workshop on creating custom fit Foredom handles. Georg had been a guest instructor at the very first Camp B symposium, too, and it was a delight to have him with us this year. 

Senden Blackwood demonstrates his technique for creating seamless curves in a dunite boulder. On the other end of the spectrum was the high energy awe-inspiring physical technique demonstrated on the field by Senden Blackwood from Australia. Senden took his inaugural leap into being an instructor this year at our symposium and managed to inspire by example as he carved an entire dunite boulder into a smooth abstract form in less than a week. Looking at him balanced atop the perfectly arced top of his piece in galoshes, jabbing a diamond chainsaw down around the edges with water flying everywhere, I was all like, “oh sure, I bet could do that!” I’d wager that was a common thought.

On the other end of the field, the indelible Deborah Wilson again graced us with her week-long jade carving workshop. Every time I walked by the tent it was buzzing, not only with the sounds of the machines, but with the excitement of the carvers carving away on their nephrite dreams with expert tools and advice right at their fingertips. Our jade enthusiasts were even more blessed to have a large collection of donated raw jade in the stone auction and a visit by a jade-specific vendor. The efforts of these guys (Nathaniel Cook, et al) along with our returning vendors (Neolithic Stone, Marenakos, Carolyn Anderson, & Bronzestone) and Rick Johnson, who provided pinning and sleeving services, are all highly appreciated for the confluence of materials, tools and guidance they bring. Al Mangold calling the Stone Auction

Let’s see… some other highlights included our beginner’s tent, vibrant and bustling again this year thanks to the wings of Ruth Mueseler and Tamara Buchanan. The combined Thursday live auction, silent auctions, and stone auction raised not only our spirits, but a total of over $13,800 toward our scholarship and work study fund. This fund helped bring in a team of sharp, inspired work studies who set up the field in something like half an hour… or more likely an awesomely quick but reasonable amount of time - I’ve forgotten. Our Friday night dance party was a blast, simultaneously held in three locations near the field, providing acoustic music jams, dance music, and campfire conversations we could ebb and flow between at will, which we did until the wee hours of the morning. The Saturday sculpture walk resulted in 9 sales for 7 different artists, totaling nearly $8,000 in total revenue. 80% of that went directly to the artists. 2 of those artists were work studies and first time attendees! I am so thrilled. Multiple times in conversation with carvers I heard tell that dreams had come true; I think some of mine did, too, in this place where all things are possible. I had a delightful time as director of the event, working with Pat Barton and Renee Roberts and everyone else who brought their energy and brilliance to Camp.

And so next year we will pick up this event and move it into Pilgrim Firs, a 120-acres-of-trees and cabins and fire pits and canoes-on-a-lake venue on the south end of the peninsula near Port Orchard, WA. 2017 will be the 30th year for this symposium and our 1st at this new place named Pilgrim Firs. I’ll have more information once organization gets underway regarding all the details, so watch for that early next year. I do already know that I look forward to seeing you there for what will be another stellar symposium. Carve well ‘til then!

Cyra Jane

Time has passed check out: Pilgrim Firs
2016 Camp Brotherhood Group