West Coast Sculpture Association Annual Symposium
Every year, I volunteer a week of my time to mentor at a unique stone carving symposium on Vancouver Island, BC which is produced by the West Coast Stone Sculpture Association. This year’s event was a success, with 30 participants who came from as far away as Grand Prairie, AB and the weather cooperated with fairly dry, though mostly overcast skies. The photo is a montage of some of the participants.
This year, the organizers arranged for some very interesting specialty workshops. Gerda Lattey, a sculptor from Salt Spring Island, presented her expertise on carving basalt, particularly the columnar variety from the Columbia River basin in Washington State, USA. Deborah Wilson is a renowned jade carver from Vernon and she gave several lessons on working with nephrite jade. Deborah brought her portable diamond carving unit and showed us many tricks on how to carve and polish this very hard material, nicknamed the stone of heaven. Finally, Sandy Cline traveled all the way from Lakefield, ON to be with us and show the newcomers his extensive knowledge of carving soapstone.
As usual, the camaraderie was fantastic and the food and accommodations at Cowichan Lake Education Centre were terrific. This event is an inclusive one, as opposed to many other symposiums where competition and secrecy reign. There is no competitiveness here and egos are checked at the door. We gather as a group of people who all have a love of getting dusty while wanting to sculpt one of the most difficult of mediums – stone. We share ideas, techniques, tools, stone and supply sources, fears and successes. From beginners to professionals, the event is designed to foster learning more about stone sculpting.
If you are curious about stone carving and where to start, or if you are looking to improve your techniques, I highly recommend you check out next year’s symposium.