Friday, November 1, 2013

2015 Summer Symposium

The Visitor Center is proud to announce a call for applications for the 2nd annual Sustainable Practices Symposium, August 1-14th, 2015. We will gather to make art, share skills and ideas, build community, and examine sustainability in life and in artistic practice. People of all creative backgrounds, experience levels, and fields of practice are encouraged to apply.

We offer workshops in Local Clay and Metal Casting, and are accepting proposals for Independent Projects that embrace the Visitor Center's rugged setting and adventurous attitude. Independent proposals can include the use of a local sawmill where participants can see a project from tree to finished work.

The programming for the Sustainable Practices Symposium is intended for both personal and collective growth. We will share our skills and ideas with each other though lectures, discussions, and artist talks, work in groups to design and build the site's infrastructure development projects, and have plenty of individual time to create artwork.  

There will be opportunities for creative engagement with the community of Ewen throughout the residency including lectures, workshops, demonstrations, and an exhibition featuring Symposium participants and local artists in Ewen's Centennial Hall. Residents will also have the opportunity to present, perform, or demonstrate a skill at the Ewen Arts Festival.

Symposium participants will spend each morning working in teams to design and build infrastructural apparati for this summer and permanent site use. Focusing on the harmonizing of diverse skill-sets within small group creative problem-solving processes, we will exercise our design and construction skills and expand our understanding of sustainable wilderness living.

This summer we will:
  • Build additional work and picnic tables
  • Complete our sink and shower structure which will be supplied by a well
  • Build permanent shelters for our composting toilets 

Applicants with previous design or building experience OR exceptional enthusiasm in skill-building related to the design, technical aspects, or construction of any of these projects should include this in their application. Our goal is to facilitate skill-sharing between


Josh Hosterman and Mel will lead participants through use of the sawmill for independent projects.

METAL CASTING WORKSHOP  //  August 2-13, 2015

Liz Ensz and James Lentz will lead the 10-day Metal Casting Workshop with a focus on hot metal skill-building and sustainability through the use of recycled aluminum. This workshop is intended for all levels and emphasizes process and accessibility to a foundry practice possible in your own backyard. Participants will learn the fundamentals of mold-making and casting through practice and participation. All skills acquired during this course are transferable to other molten metal practices.

We use non-toxic resin-bonded sand for our molds and cast with recycled aluminum. Participants are welcome to bring small patterns they have made, or create them on site using their own tools.

During the workshop, participants will:
-Explore mold-making techniques for metal casting
-Make several castings in aluminum
-Participate in a public/community pour at The Ewen Arts Festival
-Learn about the world of hot metal arts, artists, and practices
-Have fun experimenting

facilities include: 

-Propane furnace with 15# crucible
-Wooden flasks for mold-making
-A sand-mixing station (mixed by hand)
-Limited power tools and hand tools

LOCAL CLAY WORKSHOP  //  August 2-13, 2015

Amy Joy Hosterman has been testing and working with this clay the past two years, and she will lead participants through the entire process from mining to firing.

The ground at the site of the Visitor Center is made up almost entirely of sedimentary clay that was deposited long ago by a slow-moving river and migrating glaciers. These deposits run at least 200 feet deep in some locations at the site.  It is a beautifully smooth low-fire red clay which can be used with minimal processing.

Participants will also have the opportunity to learn about clay testing and clay body formulation.  Amy Joy will lead a discussion on testing for properties such as shrinkage, absorbency, plasticity, and firing range, and will demonstrate what she has learned about this clay through testing and modification. She will also discuss with participants the steps to building your own simple kiln, and methods of firing and finishing without costly equipment.

This 10-day workshop is focused on exploration and experimentation, with an emphasis on simple, accessible processes. Due to the relatively short duration of this workshop, we will be employing fast-firing and unglazed firing techniques, therefore the work will not be food-safe, but will be sculptural or decorative in nature. Previous experience with clay is helpful but not required. Come with an open mind and a willingness to work hard, and you will leave with an increased understanding of ceramics materials and processes, as well as finished pieces made completely by hand.

During the workshop, participants will:

-Collect and process raw clay on site using simple methods with basic tools
-Create hand-built or wheel-thrown work
-Fire, glaze, and finish work using accessible techniques such as pit and raku-firing
-Assist in loading and unloading for firings
-Assist during a community workshop on hand-building with local clay
-Participate in a public raku-firing at The Ewen Arts Festival 

Ceramics facilities include: 

• Two treadle potter’s wheels
• Plaster clay-drying tables

• Fire pits for pit-firing
• Barrel for barrel-firing

• Propane-fueled kiln for raku firing
• Various throwing and sculpting tools available (but please bring your own favorites)
• All the clay you can dig/process.
• Glazes provided with workshop fee