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Bloomington Indiana Limestone Symposium helps artists learn to carve

Carving something in stone makes it more permament than other forms of media, something participants in the Indiana Limestone Symposium know well, since many travel to Ellettsville year after year to chip away at limestone to better learn the craft.

Bill Holladay, former president of the board for the symposium, said his first limestone carving was a birdbath with medallions on the corners and the Chinese characters for winter, spring, summer and fall.

Janey Westin, one of the youth teachers from Minnesota, taught Holladay how to carve the characters. Frank Young, current president for the symposium, said Westin is talented in letter carving on the stone. She even carved a sign for the symposium.

Westin carved the majority of a Bear & Bunny Bench now on display at the Edina Community Library in Minnesota, during the symposium in 2018 and finished it at home. She started with a clay model, a tiny replica of where 2 inches represented 1 foot.

Artist and youth teacher Janey Westin carved the Indiana Limestone Symposium sign.

Holladay attended Indiana University for graduate school and particularly loved the carvings on IU’s campus buildings made from limestone. Holladay took a six-week introduction to stone carving class through the Bloomington Area Arts Council that got him interested in the symposium, which he has been coming to for about 20 years.

“The personnel change,” he said, “but everybody still has the same sort of camaraderie.”

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