Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Aug 10

Bergen Rocks 09
Grass roots symposium

Chien takes his turn cooking breakfast.

Bergen roots is a grassroots (created and produced by the artists themselves) event. Without the volunteers and sponsors neccesary to provide things like prepared breakfasts, laundry service, internet access etc. the sculptors are kicking in their help where needed. It has worked out great as everyone is taking turns making breakfast and even lunches and suppers some days. We are being treated to international quisine and having a lot of fun, sometimes there are dirty dishes in the sink and crumbs on the table when everybody gets to work after a meal but we get everything in order somehow before we sit down again.

Their love for art, the opportunity to work with sculptors from other countries, to promote art and arts events and to become familiar with other cultures are strong motivators for the participants. Bergen Rocks has become a unique way for us to achieve those things together. Visitors are coming from long distances to experience the creation of these sculptures, yesterday a couple who came up from Gem (near Brooks) made the day trip because they had read about it in a Calgary newspaper. Another couple told us that they decided to travel to Alberta this summer from San Diego because they wanted to see Bergen Rocks along with other Alberta attractions. They had a couple of other destinations in mind but neither one of them had a sculpture symposium going on......

All of the artists are great cooks! This is an egg dish that Chander prepared for supper last evening, first he boils the eggs then peels and fries them. Over rice and seasoned to taste with chili sauce it is delicious. We have been treated to other ethnic dishes from Ireland, Kenya, Viet Nam and Cuba.

Cleaning your work area is an important task though mundane. Here Chien is removing rubble from his work site, although the sculpture is on it's side it helps to "see" your work if keep your work area neat and tidy. We try to keep ahead of the need for the artists to do this work themselves but they make these chips so fast it is tough to do. Something to work toward in future events will be to provide a little more on site assistance for these kinds of jobs, allowing the artists to stay focused on their work when they get into the "creative zone"......everyone looks to be on schedule to complete on Thursday as planned and install the sculptures on Friday.

Monday morning a group of seniors came out from Red Deer. They enjoyed the tour that we give to groups when we are able. The artists took the time to meet and speak with them. We've had community buses come out from Red Deer, Olds, Didsbury and Sundre. The site is set up so that they can drive the bus right onto the work site so that people who aren't able to get out can see the sculpting action up close. Lots of great comments, we love having them come out. They enjoy seeing the work in progress, the gallery and the sculpture park. This group stayed about an hour, they were very nice people.

I am around this kind of thing quite a lot now and sometimes forget that many people in our area have never seen stones being sculpted. Although it is smaller than many other symposiums a similar atmosphere is created when the work starts, many visitors will stay for an hour watching as we prepare the big saw for a cut and then watch as the 3 foot diamond blade slices down into the stone. Mean while other artists may be turning their stones by hand or with the crane, drilling and cleaving, cutting and chiseling frets, grinding or polishing. It's great to see people come out and spend a couple of hours watching as the slow process of forming a stone into an artwork progresses.

Putting videos on takes a lot longer than still pictures so I haven't done any so far. Yesterday every artist was working and I happened to be on the site, so I took a video of the work and decided to make a point of getting it on here today. I think it is universal that people enjoy watching as these stones are slowly shaped into the beautiful forms that will remain in our area for thousands of years into the future.

Paul is chiseling to the surface of his cross while volunteer from Calgary, Steve Turner, uses a bushing tool to texture the feather lower down. Chander is creating patina on his bells using heat and water, the heat creates blues and yellows and greens, water rusts the steel. Chien is working with an angle grinder creating a surface on the back of "Spring". Gerard is polishing "Desire To Be" with a diamond impregnated disc and water for lubrication. Although I didn't catch Carlos in action he is also cutting with an angle grinder.

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