Tuesday, 23 June 2009



My readers will recall that I stumbled accidently into this town and into the very heart of what would soon be a CREATIVITY VORTEX. I woke amid a hundred giant log sections like these--to be apportioned to an influx of carving artist from around the world--Japan, Australia, England, Germany, Canada and the USA. The action begins in a week---no problem--I'll wait--I am a master at amusing myself.

The big day arrives and I select this nice guy, Steven Higgins (posing here with baby brother) from Northport, Wa.(artbysandoval@yahoo.com) whose first day "quickcarve" I will document for you. Here are the rules: The artist must work alone. He has one hour and fifteen minutes to complete his piece. A loud horn starts and stops the action. The works are gathered into the event tent and auctioned off at 5:30 each day. The artist gets 25%---75% pays for the festival.
(there's more to the story---I'll reveal shortly)

Steven begins! Note he has an array of saws--all super sharp--to work with. He may also use any additional sanders, drills or woodworking tools he chooses. The big saw slices this western cedar like butter. All carvers and almost all festival goers wear earplugs or their equivalent.
First 15 minutes! He needed no picture for reference--measured nothing--just sawed away like a madman. Rarely have I seen such focus.
Second 15 minutes.
Third 15 minutes.
One hour!
Only seconds before the horn sounded.
This was the day's winner--carved by Steven's mentor, Mark Colp of Lakeport, Ca. It sold for $600. Steven's was second at $450. I hope you are as astonished as I am that anyone could do this masterwork in 75 minutes.
This eagle was third at several hundred dollars.
Now for the remainder of the rules: Each carver is given a log section to work on during the remainder of the 4 day festival--His "showpiece". This he or she (There was one lady carver) gets to keep or sell as they choose. Judges select the overall winner and eventually 10 carvers are selected nationwide for the grand carveoff in England---where the really big money is. Steven now 27 has been all over the world doing this. It is his career. Now I will show some of the three day carvings. (more than 25 altogether--this is a sampling of their creativity)
An Indian and a cowboy stalk each other.
Mountain man and friends!
Nude on a bearskin rug
This was my favorite!
Steven's three day piece--Bear in the middle of a waterfall during salmon run.
I think this was the best workmanship.
Just before the auction Sunday, this master carver showed what can be done in only 30 minutes with a block of ice--a lovely swan.
RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES: This is a fascinating and sizable subculture like hundreds of others such as motorcycling, horses, sex, gambling, boating, religion, RVing, etc. Each of us likely participates in several. (would you believe there is a mule group in Tucson, Az)

Finding and participating in a uniquely appropriate subculture is important to my happiness.
Like most humans I tended to DRIFT, sadly downward, into merely "convenient" subcultures where I "made do" and "got by." I trapped myself with groups that were not a good fit ---and thus "lead a life of quiet desperation." I drifted into religion--for 3 years--a bad fit. When I found my own--vagabonds, philosophers and Unitarians--My joy and creativity shot upward. Have you found "your people" yet?
And speaking of CREATIVITY, here's a succinct definition: CONCEPT TRANSFER. ( get it? Creativity is simply mixing ideas---e.g. blend ink, ball and tube and voila you've created the ball point pen. Everyone has a head full of ideas and is hence capable of creating something new) I think creativity is one leg of the three legged stool of fulfillment: 1. Responding to our fascinations. 2. Waking up our creativity. 3. Becoming fascinating. (inspiring someone)

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