Monday, June 28, 2010

2010 AAW Symposium - 6/18/2010 - Friday, part 2

In addition to the teapots and spoons exhibits, the juried show for this year's symposium was Maple Medley. The focus, of course, was on maple as the wood for the various vessels and sculptural turnings. There were 44 pieces accepted into the exhibit. Unfortunately, only 43 made it there in one piece. Jerry Bennett's Maple Syrple broke in shipment - bummer!

Betty Scarpino - Canyon bridge.

Wall hangings with turned elements.

Keith Tompkins - The Dawn shall break

Michael Hampel - Upwelling

Andi Wolfe - Acer Embrace

Bill Luce - Curly Maple Bowl (deliciously understated title!)

Preston Christensen - Ebaneet e Slanovaya Kost (Ebony and Ivory)

David Marks - Alchemist vessel. This was the only piece in the exhibit that had a higher price than did mine. Both sold, too!

Jerry Kermode - Spalted Medley

Gerritt van Ness - Slender Threads and Yellow Ribbons.

Beth Ireland - From the Artifactory

Steve Worcester - Pop Fusion in Red

Art Liestman - Three Pillars of Correct Homophone Usage

Heidi Rupprecht - In the Spotlight

The Maple Medley Catalog is available online on the Upcoming Exhibits page of the AAW Gallery of Wood Art. I was tickled to see Acer Embrace as the postcard for the upcoming exhibits, and this one in particular.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

2010 AAW Symposium - 6/18/2010 - Friday, part I

Friday morning of the symposium started a bit late for me. I missed the opening ceremonies completely, and so I went directly to the exhibit galleries to check out the teapot exhibit, along with the Maple Medley show.

To go along with the teapot show, AAW arranged for the collection of spoon collector Norman D. Stevens to be on display. This exhibit was called a Gathering of Spoons.

I've always enjoyed carved spoons, and I'm building a collection of African ones.

I may have to start collecting others, too, after seeing all the interesting designs.

I might have to start making some of them, too. They just look so intriguing.

All shapes and sizes, so many decorative motifs. What a great exhibit!

I knew the teapot exhibit would be amazing, and I wasn't at all disappointed.

This one was done by Trent Bosch.

Bill Moore

David Ellsworth (an early piece).

Tania Radda - one of my favs!

Ray Feltz

Jason Schneider

Pascal Oudet

John Jordan

Wow - this delicate one by Malcolm Zander is pretty amazing.

My favorite of the exhibit - Lip Service, by Dixie Biggs.

The one I brought home after the auction - "Self Portrait" by Michael Hosaluk.

Binh Pho's teapot brought in the highest bid price at $10K.

You can see more images of teapots here or here.

Friday, June 25, 2010

2010 AAW Symposium - 6/17/2010 - Thursday

My symposium experience got off to a different kind of start this year. I flew into Hartford a day early so that I could spend some time with John Whelan the day before. He lives just over an hour south of Hartford, is a world-class Irish traditional musician (seven-time All Ireland Champion on button accordian, no less), and a relatively new turner.

I had visited John's house last year for his 50th birthday party, but didn't have time to spend with him in his shop. We found the time during this visit. After inspecting John's gouges and skew, we spent most of that time regrinding profiles and sharpening tools. Then we played a bit on turning a bottle stopper. From this bit of time, I had a better idea of what sessions to recommend to John for the AAW symposium.

The rest of the evening was open for a bit of practice on the sets I wanted to play for the Thursday evening entertainment. Less than three notes into my first tune, John stopped me and started a lesson. (Louise, his wife, told me that's what always happens ;-) when someone plays for John for the first time). This, for me, was the best part of the evening - a master class with a masterful traditional Irish musician. I learned so much in that short bit of time - thanks, John!

Thursday morning got off to a delicious start with John making omelets for breakfast.

Multi-tasking to the max! John was on the phone organizing some details for a future concert while he was preparing breakfast.

I summarized most of the day's events in my live-blogging from the symposium. You can read about it here:

2010 AAW Symposium - Thursday report

The "AAW's got talent - not!" show was a lot of fun, and the audience was enthusiastic. Here are some pics from the evening:

Terry Martin sang a song he composed for the occasion.

Terry Martin

John Whelan and Flynn Cohen backstage before their set.

Deborah Kermode danced the hulu to Jerry's folk songs.

Jerry Kermode

Woodturner's yoga - aka, stupid human tricks!

Hans Weissflog was supposed to be a ringer in the audience, but he wasn't feeling well and so Jacques played the part. His imitation of Hans is pretty accurate, even down to the facial expressions.

Jerry Kermode, telling a joke.

The highlight for the evening was a set of traditional tunes by John Whelan and Flynn Cohen. I played a couple of tune sets with them at the beginning. I posted the YouTube video links in a prior post, so please go check those out.

John Whelan and Flynn Cohen

I can't say enough great things about these two musicians. It was a rare treat to hear them play in this kind of setting.

Please visit iTunes and buy their CD's! You can also look for mine via the links at the top right hand side of this blog page.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Music at AAW 2010 - Andi Wolfe, John Whelan, and Flynn Cohen

Thursday evening's entertainment for this year's AAW symposium was capped off with an amazing performance by John Whelan and Flynn Cohen. I joined them for the first two sets, and then again at the end. Here are the first two sets, and another one in the middle.

Jigs and a reel: Garden Castle (original tune by Andi Wolfe), Boys of Ballylochland, Cliffs of Mohr, Farewell to Ireland.

Polkas: Ger the Rigger, My Cuz, Cuz Teehan

Hornpipes and some fancy dancing by Terry Martin and Jacques Vesery

Monday, June 21, 2010


Jack-in-the-pulpit, originally uploaded by andiwolfe.

After all the excitement from the past weekend, I decided to post a restful picture. This is a Jack-in-the-pulpit I photographed in the Michigan Upper Peninsula.

I guess there was more excitement following my return home from the AAW symposium. It's just been announced that Mary Lacer, the executive director of AAW, retired as of today. That was a big surprise.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

2010 AAW symposium - Sunday report

Oh my - it's over! It's so hard to believe this symposium flew by so fast. Today, especially, went by in a whirlwind of activity.

This morning started for me in the instant gallery where I met Claude Lethiecq for a photo shoot of his "Tour de Force" turning exhibit. He had seven very amazing "Chinese ball" style of turnings that are the most complicated I have ever seen. I was assigned this subject by Betty Scarpino, editor of American Woodturning, for an upcoming issue of the journal. Claude and his good friend, Bob Rollings, met me just after 8 am to start the photo shoot. I'll show images in a later blog post, but I want to tell you now that these turnings are worth examining up close and personal. I did some video, also; interviewing Claude to get some information about the work. I'll post the link on YouTube when I have it edited a bit. Claude and Bob are very charming, and I thoroughly enjoyed talking with them and sharing a bit of wood turning fellowship with regards to this impressive body of work.

After this fun bit of photography, I did a walkabout in the trade show to take some more action photos. Then I packed up my instant gallery turnings and took them to my hotel room before sitting in on the instant gallery critique. Richard Hogue, Terry Martin, and Marilyn Campbell did the critique this year, and I think it was the best one I've ever experienced. The discussion of the pieces was very thoughtful, constructive, and insightful. Nice job, and kudos to them!

Immediately after the critique was the auction for the Teapot exhibit. I arrived too late to bid on Clay Foster's teapot, which really broke my heart. I would have run the bidding up on that one to win the bid. I'm so disappointed that I didn't get to bid on it. However, the action became very exciting shortly after I arrived. Partly that was due to me. I didn't hesitate to bid on pieces I wanted - at least up to my affordability level. There was a lot of action, especially from proxies for bidders. J. Paul Fennell was on the phone the entire auction with a bidder who collects teapots. This bidder bought more than 30 of the teapots in the exhibit. I however, did win the bid on the Michael Hosaluk one called, "Self Portrait." I was delighted to win the bid on this one. I would have been happy to have several more, if only I had an unlimited budget.

The two big bidding contests were for Binh Pho's and Dixie Bigg's teapots. I think there were a lot of unhappy bidders that didn't win the bids on their favorite ones in the exhibit, but that is the way it goes in this kind of competition. The bidder with the deepest pockets wins the day. I have a philosophy that if you have someone with unlimited funds, you should play the game and bid him/her up as much as you can - at least to your comfort zone. However, you must be willing to pay to play this kind of game. All the proceeds go to the AAW Professional Outreach Program, which is a very worthy cause as far as I'm concerned.

At the auction I found out that my Acer embrace piece in the Maple Medley exhibit had been purchased by Elizabeth York. WOW!!!! I'm very glad to have this piece in their wonderful and extensive collection, which will be donated to a museum collection. Elizabeth and Jim York have been such amazing patrons to the field of wood turning art, and I'm honored to have this culmination of my turned leaf carvings in the collection.

I hadn't yet had lunch by this time of day (2:30 pm), and so I headed to the hotel restaurant with Paul Fennell and John Wessels for a quick bite to eat. Afterwards I went to the Maple Medley exhibit area to help pack and tear down the exhibit. I arrived just in time to pack up Acer Embrace, which eased my anxiety quite a bit. The exhibit was pretty much packed up and ready for shipping within just a couple of hours after its closing. AAW has some great volunteers that will chip in to help where needed.

Dinner with a bunch of friends capped off the evening. Now I have to get packed and be ready for an early morning cab ride to the airport. I'll be processing photos over the next couple of weeks, so stay tuned for all the pretty pictures - same bat channel, same bat time. Oh dear, I think I'm showing my age . . . .

2010 AAW symposium - Saturday report

Another busy day of wood turning fun and fellowship today. Well, actually, it's early Sunday morning as I write this post, so you know I must be enjoying myself. Saturday went by in a huge blur, but there were some interesting sessions and conversations sprinkled through the day. I spent quite a lot of time looking through my camera viewfinder - mostly in "street photography" mode, trying to capture the action in the instant gallery and trade show.

The excellence and purchase awards were given out today. I can't remember all the different ones off the top of my head, but I do know that Peter Exton and Irene Graffert received purchase awards. Jon Sauer, Dewey Garrett, and Dixie Biggs received excellence awards. I'll have to review the pics I took to come up with the other three excellence award winners.

The session I attended in full today was called, "The case against the vessel," which was led by Peter Exton, Bill Luce and Marilyn Campbell. The focus was an article by the same title written by Peter Exton for Turning Points. In this article, Peter stated that we have not yet reached the potential of the lathe in terms of innovation; that we have reached a dead end with the vessel as the apex of our art form. The discussion following the statements by the panelists was very interesting. Some of the major points made were that we haven't yet explored all the potential of the vessel; wood turners do not have an educational foundation in design and the basics of art, which other artists working in glass or ceramics usually have, and similar other statements. I do hope that the panelists will contribute an article to the AAW journal to summarize some of the discussion from this session.

The banquet and auction took place during the evening. Awards for chapter newsletters and websites were given, as were the awards for the chapter collaborative challenges. I'm sorry to report that I don't know the details, because that was when I chose to excuse myself for a trip to the ladies room (TMI?). Next, however, were the Lifetime achievement awards - first to Giles Gilson as a belated award from last year. He wasn't able to attend last year, but we were glad to have him with us this year. The lifetime achievement award for this year was given to Mark Lindquist. Each of these awards was accompanied by a short video clip from a soon-to-be released DVD in the "Masters of Woodturning" series.

The auction was conducted by John Hill with Rob Wallace as a relief auctioneer. Bidding was rather subdued this year and winning bid amounts reflected this. My sphere piece did ok, but about $1000 under market value. Most of the the highest bids were in under market value and some of the pieces were bid embarrassingly low. The proceeds of this auction go to the Educational Opportunity Grants program. I wonder what impact this type of result will have on artists for future donations? I gave a piece this year because I haven't donated in a few years and I wanted to contribute something back to the community who supports me as an artist. I think most of the artists do it for the same reason, but when bid prices are so far below market value, it probably does have some impact on the perceived worth of an artists' work. It's something to think about, and I had a long conversation with a board member of the Collectors of Wood Art along these lines.

Friday, June 18, 2010

2010 AAW symposium - Friday report

What can one say about a symposium where there are more than a dozen simultaneous demonstrations going on at once, plus the gallery exhibits, trade show, instant gallery, emerging artist demonstrations, spouse activities, and tons of social interaction? There's simply too much going on to focus on only one thing or even the highlights.

Today I spent the morning taking in a few minutes here and there of just about every rotation. That was in conjunction with getting a lot of photographs of demonstrators in action as well as a walk through of the instant gallery and trade show. I also spent a bit of time in the tea pot exhibit and Maple Medley show. My piece, Acer embrace, is receiving a lot of attention based on the feedback I'm getting. I've met a lot of new people because they wanted to come and tell me how spectacular they thought it was. That's a good way to have a warm and fuzzy buzz from the day. Now, if it would just find the right home to adopt it. . . .

I enjoyed the PoP panel discussion on the tea pot exhibit. This was done by Art Liestman, Tania Radda and Jacques Vesery. After each of them gave a bit of a talk and slide show, they invited participants in the exhibit who were in attendance to discuss their entries for the show. That was very insightful as to inspirations and trepidations about doing a themed piece. Some of the makers embraced the challenge with great enthusiasm while others were a bit intimidated at first by taking on such an unusual genre.

The rotation just after lunch was when J. Paul Fennell and I did a PoP panel discussion called "All about wood." I started off with an overview of the the biology and anatomy of wood as it relates to grain and figure. Paul finished off with a slide show on environmental responsibility. We then had about half an hour for discussion, which became lively at times.

After dinner there were several different sessions for special interest groups. I attended the Collectors of Wood Art discussion. One of the major themes was that we, as a group of wood artists, need to stop apologizing for the use of the lathe in our medium. Defining wood turning as an art form would be more conducive to elevating our endeavors into the fine art realm. The discussion then focused on the role of AAW and CWA to facilitate this transition.

I'm sure I'll be getting more sleep tonight than I did last night, but it's always fun to review the day and think about the discussions and exchange of ideas from the day. I'll have to be disciplined so that I don't keep my mind awake while my body is screaming for sleep.

BTW - many of the entries in the instant gallery are pretty impressive this year. The chapter collaborative challenge also has a lot of variety and I think I can predict the "best of show" winner already.

2010 AAW symposium - Thursday report

I arrived in Hartford Wednesday afternoon. As soon as I had my gear from baggage claim, John Wheland picked me up in his work van for the trip to Milford, CT. I spent the evening with his family and had a chance to visit with John in his workshop and then to do a bit of practicing on the sets we would play for the Thursday evening entertainment.

We drove up from Milford about mid-day and spent the afternoon doing a lot of typical first day things. I introduced John to everyone I ran into, and it was so great to see everyone again after so many months apart. Amidst all the reunions, I put my pieces into the instant gallery and checked to see if my "Acer Embrace" piece actually arrived in good condition. I'm very happy to report that it survived shipping without a glitch. Not so for Jerry Bennett's "Maple Syrple" piece, which was in a dozen or more pieces. That delivered a gut punch when I saw the damage. I'm sure it's repairable, but it still hurts to think about it. Jerry - you have my complete sympathy!

I attended the demonstrator's dinner with John and enjoyed visiting with my friends J. Paul Fennell and Bonnie Klein as well as Tania Radda during the meal. It was actually a very nice meal. John and I had set up the sound system just before dinner and had time to get cleaned up a bit before the dinner which was a good thing since we had no time to spare between then and the "AAW's got talent - or not" event. This was organized by Jacques Vesery and Terry Martin and featured Jerry and Deborah Kermode - Jerry singing while Deborah danced the hula; Terry Martin with a clever song he had written, Sharon Doughtie and Jacques Vesery doing "stupid human tricks" (very clever!), Gorst duPlessis telling a joke or two, Barbara Crockett playing her flute, and a few acts I missed.

John Whelan, Flynn Cohen and I finished the evening's entertainment. The first two sets were tunes I could play on fiddle, and then John and Flynn did their magic. A display of virtuosity, which was so much fun to listen to and to see how the audience reacted. Thanks, John! I came back on stage to play some bodhran for the last tune.

I don't think I'll get much sleep tonight. Opening ceremonies are at 8 am. . .

Monday, June 14, 2010

Ebony Jewelwing Damsel Fly

Ebony Jewelwing Damsel Fly, originally uploaded by andiwolfe.

Yesterday, Steve and I joined Mike for a photowalk at Bigelow Cemetery State Nature Preserve. The flowers are still a few weeks away from prime time, but I enjoyed chasing insects with my macro lens. There were a couple of species of damselflies flitting about. I'll post some other insects in this post after I have a chance to process some more of my images.

Lady beetle

This is an Asian multicolored lady beetle. It seems as if this insect has been victimized by a parasite, also, given the small white protrusions on the wing coverts.


This beetle was sure active, but I finally was able to capture an image that was mostly in focus. It's a swamp milkweed beetle, Labidomera clivicollis.

Another beautiful milkweed beetle, Tetraopes tetrophthalmus.

And another beetle, Photinus pyralis, aka the firefly. They were putting on a spectacular show for us on our drive home that evening.