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Carving a Buddha: Mitsuo Saikai carving a Buddha in Texas limestoneAs the harvest time of year is upon us, I would like to take a moment to reflect on another fantastic year at Suttle Lake. There are many new developments we learned in methods, and mediums. Also, inroads to personal growth, and reconnecting with what may now be, lifelong friends. These are some of the things I have heard and experienced this year at Suttle Lake. For this I am grateful to all of you that join together to make this happen.
Community Stone: Samia Imonen and MJ Anderson carving on the community stone
The week began with the presentation of the collective stone-carving project for Suttle Lake camp. Many thanks are in order to Mark Andrew for his hard efforts and patience bringing us together as a collective in this endeavor. As seen here, all walks of attendees are encouraged to participate (Samia Imonen and MJ Anderson). This project will continue each year until completed, and all are encouraged to spend time with this magnificent piece of marble.

The teachings of our newest friend Joseph Kincannon gave us a unique perspective towards the  Jesse Eaton and Joseph Kincannon methods used in the making of the cathedrals of old Europe. His slide show was mesmerizing and informative. Jesse his apprentice from years past also accompanied Joseph and folks enjoyed their energy towards the craft. Hopefully Joseph and/or Jesse will be joining us next year as well.
Mitsuo Saikai joined us again this year as an instructor with traditional Japanese carving methods at lightning speed. He also demonstrated using Japanese tools that are now available thru Kentaro Kojima, which can be a fantastic addition to any toolbox. Kentaro purchases these tools directly from the source in Japan and would be otherwise very difficult to obtain.
Uchida sensei was honored with a lifetime achievement award and Lee Imonen graciously accepted the Hammer Award without trying to escape just before receiving it. 
Hand with blister
We had a record number in our beginner’s tent this year with 8 new people. Our instructor Stephanie Robinson is great at exciting new people to work and achieving well beyond their own personal expectations. Not unlike Tom Sawyer, but for the sake of making art.

Deborah Wilson once again shared her expertise of jade carving with the assistance of our brother Steve Sandry for another exceptional program.
Kentaro and Carl
 Moving of the community stone with Mark Andrew
Seattle Solstice returned after 5 years and amazed the crowd once again with new technologies and an update on the progress of the 10,000 year clock.

Lisa Ponder and Rich Hestekind gave a very informative discussion on memorial work within the trade from a personal perspective to a larger commercial one, both very vital areas to consider within the stone carving community.

I remain committed to carving time for the attendees during the week and this year it showed. I added an additional ten display pedestals to our show, and we used every one of them this year. Our Stone Walk was a resounding success! We sold five pieces this year. It was the best public turnout yet, and I believe it is because we are no longer competing with the High Desert Show in Bend, which is their biggest event of the year, and is now the week after ours.

We received press in Bend and Sisters over and above what we solicited. We also are on the radar for a possible art project for the city of Sisters, Oregon. Next year’s Stone Walk should prove to be even better for all of you that participate.
Joseph Kincannon presentation
The Suttle Lake symposium raised funds for shore power at our annual auction, and now it is going to be a reality. I was just informed by the camp that they are hooking up power within the budget we raised for the camp and we will no longer need to rent and feed a generator for our symposium. NWSSA should see a direct savings after next year’s symposium, which also means our rates for our attendee’s, will remain affordable.
Finally, I would like to thank our support staff, Renee Roberts, Rich Hestekind, Dan Michael, and everyone I have not mentioned for your continued hard work. I would also like to thank our Board for their time and expertise. Without them, this community of “weirdos” would not be possible. And I want to thank each of you. Connected by the creative spirit, we support one another in this endeavor unlike any other. It is our love of this art form and each other where we are at our best.
2018 NWSSA Suttle Lake Group shotUntil then, keep the chips flying and your area dusty

Doug Wiltshire