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Tri State Sculptors Association

Promoting public awareness and appreciation for sculpture in the VA, NC, and SC areas

2019: Radford, VA

Radford University and SELU Nature Conservancy

Oct. 3-5

TSS members and sculpture enthusiasts converged in Radford, VA to participate in the 41st Annual Tri-State Sculpture Conference hosted by Radford University, a 204-acre American classical campus. Located in the beautiful New River Valley of Southwest Virginia, famed for its the beautiful mountains and its extensive outdoor recreational opportunities.  The theme for this year's conference was "Inspired by Nature", and the locations of RU and SELU offered the perfect backdrop for an amazing conference.

Friday's schedule consisted mostly of technical demonstrations, and educational presentations on the campus of RU.  Some highlights of the demos were a master blacksmith demonstrating how to forge large scale repouss√© relief sculptures. There was also a local community group of stone carvers showcasing some of their finished work, as well as demonstrating their skills on in-process works.  A leatherworker educated us on various ways to form, stitch, carve, and stamp leather to produce decorative and sculptural effects.  In addition, an art dept faculty from RU showed step-by-step forming and fabrications processes for her intricate and luscious precious metal sculptures.  Friday afternoon wrapped up with an optional trip to Virginia Tech for a casting demonstration, and a tour of the campus sculpture dept.

All of Saturday's activities were held on the grounds of SELU, Radford University’s unique, 300+ acre old farmstead conservancy along the scenic New River.  The day started with morning hikes to view some local individual and collaborative environmental artworks.  The hike led attendees along some beautiful wooded terrain filled with autumn splashes of color and a beautiful outlook over a bend in the river.  The afternoon gave folks an opportunity to participate in a couple communal activities which consisted of pasting woodblock-printed images of endangered bird species onto trees to create a large-scale seek and find opportunity for hikers.  Another activity focused on inoculating mushroom spores into locally cut logs and spreading them throughout the landscape for future discovery and harvest.

Virginia Tech videographer and owner of Bliss Bus Media, Chris Valluzo, was the opening keynote speaker on Thursday evening.  He is currently working on a pilot TV show blending the arts, science, and Appalachian culture.  On Friday evening, sculptor Charlie Brouwer, best known for his ladder installations, presented on his many outdoor sculptures and community-building projects.  This year we were also very honored to share the whole weekend with internationally-acclaimed ceramic artist Michael Sherrill (and his son)!  Michael was invited to give a keynote presentation on his career and developments leading to his most current works on Saturday evening.   He is currently exhibiting a retrospective show at the Mint Museum in Charlotte.

Click here to see beautiful aerial footage of the SELU campus and the ladder raising event with Charlie Brouwer.

31 photo(s) Updated on: 7 Jan 2020

Tristate Sculptors Education Association is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. 

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