The Place: A small ranch in a valley outside of Pateros, WA, north of Chelan. Owned by Rich and Margaret Beyer, there is a small cabin, a large field of very dead grass, a small burbling creek, a large table set up outside for meals and presentations, and one pit toilet.
The Event: The 1st NWSSA International Symposium
Little did we know that in this humble birthplace one of the most important contributions to the art of carving stone on the West Coast of the United States was about to take place. The Spirit of Support and the Passion of Carving Stone would continue to grow and evolve for decades.
The 1st Symposium was created by Meg Pettibone, Patricia Belyea, Claire McArdle, and Margaret Beyer. Approximately 30 people attended. The cost was $100 for 3 days. Instruction and guidance was provided by George Pratt, Rich Beyer, Lee Gass, Marie Carp, Everett DuPen and John Hoge. George also provided a large marble boulder for a group hand carving project. A generator was brought in to provide electricity and compressed air for Rich to demonstrate using air hammers on a large granite boulder on site. Lee Gass introduced his method of using diamond grinder bits to carve hard stone. George Pratt also introduced us to a relatively new tool, the angle grinder. An area was set to work on the group project or our own hand-carving in the cool, quiet next to the creek.
Included was lunch and dinner (cooked by Rich Beyer’s daughter), evening discussions, a few stones available for purchase, and your own space to tent camp (a few people chose to stay at a nearby B&B). Everything was held outdoors. Bathing demanded a short, dusty truck ride down to the Methow River.
The 2nd Symposium was held Aug 17-20, 1989 at the same location. Karen Murphy and Carol Way were the directors. Instructors were George Pratt, Marie Carp, Everett DuPen, Rich Baker, and Rich Beyer. Again, there were professional presentations, stimulating conversations, and a great sense of camaraderie. A unique opportunity was provided by Rich Beyer at his studio in nearby Pateros: we all got a hands-on lesson on carving granite use an oxy-acetylene torch with a water feed attached. It sounded like a jet engine and carved stone by blasting/melting it. Great fun!