Wednesday, July 28, 2010

AAW proxy vote

A letter from David Ellsworth to all AAW Members:

David Ellsworth

AAW Member #00001

The AAW: 1986 – the future!

The Board of the AAW is embroiled in a major crisis and is asking for help from the membership.

I am the first member of the AAW. I was President for five of the six years that I was on the Board. I was part of a select group of trusted individuals that were elected to that Board by the initial membership of around 230 people. And among all the responsibilities we assumed, the most important was to protect the membership, protect the organization, and keep politics out of the legislative process.

So I am particularly distraught to see the current crisis surrounding Mary Lacer's termination as Executive Director of the AAW escalate to the point where a fence has been erected that was specifically designed to position each of us on one side or the other, whether we chose to be part of this dilemma or not. As expected, individuals from around the woodturning world who have formed lasting friendships over the past thirty+ years have now been placed in the awkward position of taking sides and as a result, some of those friendships have now terminated.

I have seen enough crisis situations within the AAW to realize the futility of name-calling and the inevitable problems that ensue when people depend on partial or biased and even blatantly false information. And like all situations of this nature, there have been 'right' and 'wrong' actions committed on both sides of the fence. So I am not looking for blame, but rather solutions.

Before the AAW had an Executive Director, we had a succession of administrators: Bob Rubel, Dennis Horman, Roy Bohrer, and finally, Mary Lacer. Each of these employees prior to Mary had strengths and weaknesses, and each was terminated by a Board decision when weaknesses in the execution of their responsibilities were discovered. With one exception, this situation is no different: an employee of the AAW has been terminated. The exception, of course, is that Mary Lacer carries a very strong emotional connection to the membership and the history of our group. And it is for this reason that the reaction to her termination has reached such volatile proportions.

No one is questioning Mary Lacer's history with this organization, specifically her ability to pull together the garbled remains of Bohrer's group (ASMI) in Texas and reconstruct a workable mailing list that allowed communication with our members to resume. With the oversight of our treasurer at that time, Dick Gerard, together they rebuilt the foundations of the financial needs of the organization. Her actions as an Administrator over the years have been exemplary and she has been well praised for that work.

However, the qualifications to become an Executive Director and the responsibilities that position carries are very different and far more complex than those of an Administrator. Without going into those details, like it or not, in a corporate world – and the AAW is a corporation – when mistakes are made, there is no room for personal history or popularity or favoritism or sentimentality on any level: you're simply out!

The Board knew that asking the ED to resign would not be a popular decision and that the repercussions would be intense. And how could they not be considering Mary's history with the organization? The Board also knew they had a fiduciary responsibility to the membership to discover the nature of the problems as they have been defined and then to act accordingly. And they did.

This group of board members comes to the AAW with a huge range of experiences from management to education to finance. We elected them to run the organization and when necessary, to make tough decisions. Asking the ED to resign was not an easy decision, nor was it popular. But in a review of the ED's performance over the past eighteen months, six of the eight board members deemed it was necessary.

As it currently stands, Mary Lacer has elected not to accept the Board's offer to resign. Instead, Malcolm Tibbetts, with the support of Mary and Alan Lacer and others, has publicly initiated a proxy that would require the signatures of only 5% of AAW members with the intention to unseat the board and replace it with individuals of their own choosing rather than being elected by the membership. This action, while legal as recorded in the AAWs bylaws, forces the Board to protect the interests of the organization and the membership by initiating its own proxy.

I am asking you, as a member of our organization, to support the current Board.

You can do this by immediately signing the Board's proxy (see link below) to help the Board resolve these issues and move forward.

Once this matter is settled, the Board will take immediate action to: (1) re-write the Bylaws that would include a democratic vote from the entire membership; (2) reconstruct the financial database so that all incoming and outgoing items are accountable and traceable; and (3) begin the search for a new ED.

The sooner we can put this issue behind us the sooner we can get back to the business of supporting our members, supporting our organization and leaving the politics out of woodturning.

Thank you and most sincerely,

David Ellsworth

July 25, 2010

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Tomorrow's Promises

Tomorrow's Promises, originally uploaded by andiwolfe.

Another evening prairie picture. This sunflower inflorescence was close to opening. I really liked the detail of the young bracts and ray flowers.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Portrait of a thistle

Portrait of a thistle, originally uploaded by andiwolfe.

I hope you're not tired of my photography by now. I've not had time to be in the shop much since the AAW symposium. I've actually turned a small bowl and a lidded vessel, but I've not done the follow-up work on surface enhancement. I probably won't get time for that until after the Dublin Irish Festival (first weekend of August).

So, this is a recent photo of a thistle that I processed in black and white using Silver Efex Pro. The color version is lovely, but the black and white portrait brings out detail that would be lost in color. I really like the dramatic presentation of the flower in this setting.

What do you think?

Friday, July 23, 2010


Pokeweed, originally uploaded by andiwolfe.

Photographed in Whetstone Park of Roses prairie. I don't usually see the flowers on this plant. We have plenty of these humongous weeds growing in our weed bed in the back yard. That's the price one pays for feeding the birds, I suppose.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Summer time in the prairie

Gray-headed coneflower, originally uploaded by andiwolfe.

Since I've not had time to be in the shop and have no new pics of work in progress, I'll continue posting some of my recent photos. This is Ratibida pinnata, or, Gray-headed coneflower. It's one of the dominant plants at most of the prairie remnants scattered throughout Ohio. This one was photographed at a restored prairie plot at Whetstone Park of Roses.

I love the bokeh and I specifically framed the flower to be surrounded by the yellow flowers in the background. I used f/5.6 and made sure the flower was well isolated from the background to bring out the soft bokeh that reminds me of a painting.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Beauty in simplicity

Clover, originally uploaded by andiwolfe.

The common clover is usually overlooked unless you happen to be walking through a lawn while barefoot and you step on a bee. The last time that happened to me was when I was in third grade. The resultant reaction led to me being tested for a bee sting allergy. Seven years of allergy shots later, I now only have a mild reaction, but I still carry an Epi-pen.

My mother was pretty shocked years ago when she found out that I regularly go nose-to-nose with bees while doing fieldwork. I figure they won't bother me if I'm not interfering with their foraging activities. That holds for most species of bees, but not all. I've been pretty fortunate thus far.

Saturday, July 17, 2010


Salmonberry, originally uploaded by andiwolfe.

This was one of my favorite photos from last week's west coast trip. The early morning sun caught little flowers or fruits in these amazing pockets of light. This salmonberry was one such capture.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Dicentra in the spotlight!

Dicentra, originally uploaded by andiwolfe.

A beautiful blossom of Dicentra (bleeding heart) highlighted by a shaft of sunlight. Seen last week in the Seattle area.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

An interesting afternoon

I spent some time at Studios on High this afternoon. I had no idea that there would be a floor show while visiting the gallery. Well, actually, the show was kind of rained out. We had a couple of inches of rain within an hour, which caused the Short North district to flood. I took some video of the flood.

Monday, July 12, 2010

California Poppy

California Poppy, originally uploaded by andiwolfe.

Another beautiful flower from Eugene, Oregon. This was photographed July 5, 2010.

Steve and I have been bouncing around the idea of doing a "365" - an exercise in photography. We're trying to decide what that means for us. It could simply be using the camera each day, or it could be a processing/posting exercise, or, perhaps, a combination of the two. I'm not sure I would actually have the time to do a daily post, but maybe I would have time to get the camera out each day for a few minutes.

Send me your thoughts - would you be interested in following something like this idea on my blog? If so, what aspect of a 365 would you be most interested in following?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Blackberry Blossom

Blackberry Blossom, originally uploaded by andiwolfe.

One of my childhood memories from the Pacific Northwest is from summertime - picking blackberries along the side of the road. I used to go for long walks in the summertime, and the extensive stands of blackberries always offered some high energy refreshment.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Index to 2010 AAW Symposium postings

Including this one, there are 14 entries to cover the 2010 AAW symposium. The first four are live reports that I did at the end of each day while at the symposium. The rest include photos or videos of the action from each day. Here they are in order:

2010 Thursday live report

2010 Friday live report

2010 Saturday live report

2010 Sunday live report

Music at 2010 AAW

2010 AAW Symposium - 6/17/10 - Thursday

2010 AAW Symposium - 6/18/10 - Friday, part 1

2010 AAW Symposium - 6/18/10 - Friday, part 2

2010 AAW Symposium - 6/18/10 - Friday, part 3

2010 AAW Symposium - 6/19/10 - Saturday, part 1

2010 AAW Symposium - 6/19/10 - Saturday, part 2

2010 AAW Symposium - 6/20/10 - Sunday

2010 AAW Symposium - informal portraits and people pics

Please feel free to leave a comment and let me know if you've enjoyed the blog postings. I'll put in a pitch to support the blog by purchasing a CD or making a donation to my PayPal account. Links to PayPal and CD Baby are in the right sidebar. Every little bit helps - thanks!

2010 AAW Symposium - informal portraits and people pics

One of the things I most look forward to at the AAW symposium is to reconnect with friends I've not seen in person for many months, sometimes since the last AAW symposium. I also very much enjoy meeting new people and making new friends. It's a natural extension for me to take pictures of friends during the times we spend time together, or to take some informal and candid images. I've been accused of having a camera growing out of my face, too. So, this posting is about people - mostly some of my dearest wood turning friends, but also people I've just met for the first time as well as the range in between those two extremes. Some of the pics are just snapshots that reflect a shared moment. Others are informal and candid portraits. I'm finding that I enjoy doing black and white processing for portraits, so you'll see a mix of color and black and white photos for this posting.

L to R: John Whelan and Flynn Cohen. These two gents were the headliners for the Thursday night talent show. I've known John for about the same amount of time I've been turning, but from the Irish music scene. We met through the Dublin Irish Festival and we've become friends through the years. Flynn and John regularly play gigs together and it was a great pleasure to have them on stage for the AAW.

Douglas Fisher. I've known Doug from his online postings and from his amazing work, but this was the first time we've met in person. In fact, this was the first time Doug had done any demonstrating, and he made his debut at an AAW symposium. I'm looking forward to having opportunities in the future to chat again at a symposium.

Sharon Doughtie and John Jordan - good friends and a lot of fun to be around.

L to R: David Ellsworth and Pascal Oudet. You could caption this, "the old and new generation of turners." David is a charter member of AAW, the first president, in fact, whereas Pascal was one of our featured Emerging Artists highlighted by the Professional Outreach Program.

L to R: Tucker Garrison and J. Paul Fennell. Tucker was one of the other emerging artists featured this year. When he did a hands-on class with me a few years ago I knew he would be making a splash in a very short period of time.

Bill Grumbine, demonstrating on the tradeshow floor for Robust Lathes. Bill and I met just a few years back, and we've had some interesting conversations about "brown and round" v. "artsy fartsy." I think we both enjoy these chats and can appreciate each others' point of view.

The caption of this picture is "The three amigos." I can't remember their names, but they're from Canada and I spent a bit of time chatting with them about carved turnings one evening in the bar.

Ray Leier, co-owner of del Mano Gallery. It was great to see Ray so relaxed and enjoying the moment.

Is Ray the next Marlborough Man?

Hmmmm, let's put a wooden cowboy hat on him and see how that looks, shall we?

Actually, I'm calling this series of images "From the Smokers' Corner." When I intercalated myself for a picture, someone handed me a cigarette, which Giles Gilson decided to smoke.

L to R: Giles Gilson, Andi Wolfe, Norm Rose and Ray Leier.

Arthur Mason and Ray Leier.

Arthur Mason, Ray Leier, and Norm Rose.

Arthur Mason and Ray Leier.

Clay Cochran and Norm Rose.

L to R: Elizabeth and James York with Binh Pho,

L to R: Deborah Kermode and Bonnie Klein.

L to R: Pascal Oudet, John and Vicki Jordan. I love this pic.

Pascal Oudet and Andi Wolfe

L to R: John Jordan, Andi Wolfe, and Pascal Oudet.

A yearly tradition - my pic with Mike Mahoney. I suppose that in 10 years I can post a retrospective of all the symposium pics we've had together. You'll be able to see us age in "real time" then.

Fred Klap from the Canadian contingency. I really like this informal portrait I captured of Fred.

My woodturning "bro" and me: Art Liestman and Andi Wolfe.

Two of my best friends in wood turning:
Art Liestman and J. Paul Fennell.

I don't know what we were joking about, but Paul's about to crack up here.

Hans Weissflog

Three other amigos, or, perhaps I should say, "The Glitterati."

L to R: Giles Gilson, Mark Lindquist, and David Ellsworth.

Stuart Batty and Ashley Harwood.

L to R: J. Paul Fennell, John Wessels, Gorst DuPlessis, and Bonnie Klein.

Claude Lethiecq from Quebec - a new friend as of this symposium.

L to R: Molly Winton and Ruth Niles.

L to R: Mark Lindquist and Giles Gilson

L to R: Richard Hogue, Marilyn Campbell and Terry Martin - the panelists for the instant gallery critique.

John Hill, auctioneer extrordinaire.

"Will you give me a thousand?"

"Andi, a camera flash is a bid!"

"Yes, I've got a thousand!"

"Who will give me eleven hundred?"

"Yes, I've got eleven hundred. Now, twelve hundred!"

Whew! Off the hook on that one . . .

John and Elizabeth York sharing a laugh at the teapot auction.

Dixie Biggs - watching the action during her teapot being auctioned.

Tib Shaw, the AAW gallery director and an extraordinary person who I've really enjoyed getting to know over the past few years,

Morning glory

Morning glory, originally uploaded by andiwolfe.

Sometimes even the mundane urban sights can reveal great beauty. I do my black and white processing using a Nik Software plug-in called Silver Efex Pro.

2010 AAW Symposium - 6/20/10 - Sunday

Sunday at the AAW symposium is always a mixed bag - last minute walk-throughs of the tradeshow, packing up ones instant gallery display, the instant gallery critique, and the PoP exhibit auction. All this is action-packed, but it goes by very fast.

The first thing I did on Sunday morning was a photo assignment for the American Woodturner. Claude Lethiecq had an intriguing display of Chinese ball turnings that had been under glass for the duration of the instant gallery.

I met Claude and Bob Rollings there to remove the glass case and to do some detail images of the turnings. I won't post those pics here until after the journal article is published, which may be much later in the year. This is the display, though, so you can imagine how interesting the individual images will be. These turnings are very photogenic and much, much more complicated than they appear at first glance. It was great to hear all about them and to visit with Claude and Bob.

Claude asked me to do a portrait of fellow-club member Jeffrey Greenwood's spiral, multi-axis turnings. Very nicely matched and well done.

My final walkabout of the trade show yielded some good "street photos." Nick Cook always had a big crowd around his lathe.

Rapt attention

Lyle Jamieson doing some 'splaining.

I attended the instant gallery critique, which featured all of the award winners and a nice selection of turnings spanning the range of diversity in terms of style and techniques.

Behind the scenes with the first turning to be featured - Peter Exton's AAW Purchase award piece.

L to R: Richard Hogue, Terry Martin, and Marilyn Campbell were the panelists doing the critique this year. I was impressed with how thoroughly prepared they were and the insights they gave on their selections.

L to R: Richard Hogue, Marilyn Campbell, Terry Martin.

Immediately following the instant gallery critique was the Teapot Exhibit auction. I missed the first couple of pieces on the auction block, but caught the action in full swing. There was a huge crowd and some intense bidding going on.

Being up front taking pictures does carry some risk. Everytime I used my flash, John called me a bidder. Unless one is willing to play the game, this is not a sight you want to see during an auction. I did bid on a lot of teapots, but the prices quickly escalated beyond my price point on nearly all of them.

A view of the crowd at the auction.

The bidder on the far right is J. Paul Fennell who was serving as a proxy for teapot collector Sonny Kamm. Sonny purchased more than 30 of the teapots from this exhibit.

Lust or longing - how would you interpret this expression?

"Please? I really, really want this one!"

Auctioned teapots awaiting their purchasers.

More of the same.

This one is mine! I won the bid on Michael Hosaluk's "Self Portrait."

Binh Pho brought out his teapot to display.

After the auction it was time to pack up the exhibits. I took charge of packing my "Acer Embrace" sculpture.

It takes a lot of work to break down these exhibits, but the work goes quickly when people pitch in to help. That's Bonnie Klein in the gray t-shirt.

Awaiting the truck.

Packing up all the plinths and pedestals.

Once again, the AAW symposium was totally amazing and I thoroughly enjoyed it.