I got back a few days ago from my annual trek to the Marble/marble symposium and the glow / memories are already starting to fade. The ten days went by very quickly, but were packed with adventure. I did start a new piece of gorgeous Yule marble (very consistent block of white marble with a blueish-green almost ice like appearance). I’m going for a minimalistic look this time – sort of an experiment. Stay tuned to see how that all works out once it shows up – along with a smallish piece of Andes blue onyx – next week?
So, they hadn’t had rain for 2-3 months in the Aspen / Carbondale / Marble valleys when I arrived at the airport. But, it was looking pretty imposing as I got off the plane. Unfortunately, I had a damaged [loaner] truck to deal with right off. The power steering pump turbo assist had blown out – literally – on the owner just before I arrived leaving the large vehicle without brakes or steering. I ended up triple A’ing it down to Carbondale for the night and hitched a ride up to Marble the next morning from one of the staff (Petro Hull).
Something I’ve realized in my six years of attendance is that you have to stay loose and go with the flow. So, I wasn’t too flustered by the initial set backs. I settled into my role as stand in for Myles Schachter as shop keep at the 2Sculpt vendor tent and in my free moments scurried around first picking a stone and then trying to set up my carving site.
That all went pretty well and by day three I started pitching and cutting off meat (large portions of unneeded stone). I was working from a small cut-off piece of ‘air-block’ (aka Aerated Autoclaved Concrete or AAC) as my model this year. This went pretty quickly so I decided to get to my chisels next. The main problem here was air.
Since I arrived late, dealing with the truck issues – I was running behind everyone by several days. By the time I got up to speed with my carving site, the session was nearly over and after everyone leaves (including most of the staff) the air compressors are on an as needed basis. Somewhere in the middle of all of this – we had a fire scare.
As I mentioned, it had been dry and getting drier each day before I arrived. The storm that came in with me had dropped some moisture, but was not sufficient to remove the entire threat. So, for the first time since M/m began 24 years ago – we smelled smoke down valley. At first, it was just a smell. And it took a few minutes to register because I sort of like the smell of a camp fire. But, when Kathy Caricof was walking around the area yelling for everyone to head up to the meeting point, it slowly dawned on me that we might be in serious trouble.
Someone from the volunteer fire dept. came through next and informed us that we needed to stay together and plan on bugging out. Past orientations with the local fire marshal mentioned that we’d head up to Crystal lake in the event of a forrest fire, but now we were being told that our eggres could be down valley, right into the smoke. Everyone sat around and tried to be cool, but several of us also started putting together an overnight bag just in case.
It turned out that the problem was a structure fire just a few miles from our carving sites and the Carbondale fire squad arrived and was able to get it ‘under control’ which meant that their concentration was on mitigating the spread of fire to the treas around the house. After they gave us the all clear, it started raining and rained -hard- almost every day after that. Unfortunately, the ‘structure’ burned to the ground.
The other significant news was that there was a mountain lion attack (probably 20 miles away). Someone told a few of us that a horse was killed and dragged into the woods down near the town of Redstone. No reports of bears yet this year, but everyone was thinking that one would probably show up during 2nd or 3rd session as usual.
On a more positive note, not only did the typical monsoonal rain showers begin right after my arrival, but due to all volunteer effort and donations my M/m alum (big thanks to Bob Sievers) – we now have permanent outdoor showers & bathrooms in camp. Life altering to be sure..