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Byline: Sue Doyle, Staff Writer

THOUSAND OAKS - Terry Green took one look at the small gray rock before her and spotted its potential.

It could be a whale.

The Malibu woman smoothed off the top of the sandstone and grinded down some rough spots as part of a free stone carving workshop Sunday at the Satwiwa Native American Indian Culture Center in the western edge of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.

"You've got to be able to see it," Green said as she shaped the rock with a file, "otherwise you are just filing away."

What looked like nothing more than a pile of rocks on a picnic table had all the potential to be eagles, frogs and whales to the creative students who participated in the class.

Using slender, wood rasp tools, students filed, sawed and shaped soapstone and steatite rocks for this ancient and interpretive art form, led by stone carving instructor Ted Garcia.

"You have an idea in your head and you look for materials to do it," said Garcia, who hails from the Tatavian tribe of American Indians, whose ancestral village is where Six Flags Magic Mountain stands today.

"I look at the rock and say, 'Yeah, I see something here.' Then I start working on it and whatever will come, will come," he said.

Garcia, a retired U.S. Postal Service clerk, got into stone carving 15 years ago when a relative gave the Granada Hills man a dolphin carved from soapstone.

Intrigued, the 60-year-old embarked on his own stone carving journey. It took him eight weeks to produce his first piece - a whale, which he gave to his wife.

Garcia was hooked on the craft and pursued it. Now retired, he offers stone-carving workshops in schools and shows his work at exhibits around Los Angeles.

Karolyn Hirsch of Woodland Hills buffed the rough patches off a rock that she strived to shape into a palm-sized bird in the workshop.

"They said pick out a rock as it calls to you to free whatever is in the stone," said Hirsch as she turned the rock over in her hand and grinned.

Kathryn James of Beverly Hills dug into the sides of a stone with a tool to carve out wings on what she hoped would one day be an eagle.

"It's a calming hobby to carve like that," James said. "I'm going to buy some files and finish this at home."



4 photos


(1 -- 2 -- color) Above, instructor Ted Garcia carves a rock during a stone carving workshop at the Satwiwa Native American Indian Culture Center on Sunday. At top, a buffalo carving by Garcia, who got into stone carving 15 years ago.

(3 -- 4 -- color) At right, Terry Green of Malibu carves a whale out of stone at the Satwiwa Native American Indian Culture Center on Sunday during a free stone carving workshop. Above, Green shows off the whale.

David Crane Staff Photographer
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Nov 23, 2009
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