Friday, June 30, 2006

Recovering from two weeks of woodturning symposia

So, after the Utah and AAW symposia with their hectic schedule and lack of sleep, I stayed home one day and then headed off to the Pacific Northwest for our annual family trip. This year my oldest son, Michael, joined us for the first time in about 5 years time. He looks a bit different to my folks than he did last time he was here.

One of the nice things about vacation is that we do have time to spend time together as a family. My kids are growing up too fast with one of them already off on his own and away to university. Part of me screams, "Slow down! You're growing up too fast!" while the other part of me says "go, go, go!"

One of the things we like to do while in Oregon is to visit the coast. The Oregon coast is really wonderful with a lot of beautiful beaches to explore and some wonderful little waysides. We stopped at the Darlingtonia wayside to go take a look at these insectivorous pitcher plants.

Here's a sign to tell you all about them. Click on the image to get the larger view so you can read about them.

I'm also taking advantage of the relaxed pace of life for the next week and a half to do some more foliage and texture studies. This is the back side of a sisal leaf. I'm interested in the plants primarily because they serve as a host species to a parasitic plant I've studied in the past (Boschniakia). They do have interesting leaves, though.

These rocks litter the beaches in Oregon. They look igneous to me - some crystals in a basalt matrix. Wish I knew more about geology.

Here's where I found this interesting rock. The beach below Heceta Head Lighthouse. That bridge is for Hwy 101 - a windy, twisty road that follows the Oregon Coast. In the good ol' days, this road was a recipe for motion sickness. It's been worked over so much in the past three decades that it's rather tame to drive these days.

Here are my kids doing some beach combing at the same site. The rocks out there are covered in bird guano. One of the things we did on this day was to good birding and score a whole lot of new birds for our life lists. Birds at the coast we saw included: guillomot, western gull, common murre, Brandt's cormorant and Pelagic cormorant, brown pelicans, wilson's warblers, rufous hummingbirds, and a spotted towhee.

Rock collage on the beach.

We also visited the Newport Aquarium. This is a sea anenome anchored on the glass. The striations remind me of the vascular system in a ginkgo leaf.

This is a fiddler crab, I think. It was cooperating on the other side of the glass. It's how I feel after being cooped up in a car all day with my kids (as much as I love them!).

Here's my favorite bird at the aquarium - a tufted puffin in it's breeding plumage. This little guy sure put on a show for us. He popped into the water and did quite an elaborate display of splashing and preening right in front of me.

Monday, June 26, 2006

AAW Symposium - Saturday, 2006 Jun 24

I was very sleep deprived by the time Saturday rolled around. Too much fun in too short a time if you count the Utah Symposium of the previous week. Unfortunately, this translated into a two-day tension headache, which is very similar to a migraine. I'm feeling much better as of this posting - it helps to be home and away from big crowds. I also spent a few hours on Sunday doing some wood therapy - turning some bowls to take with me on vacation so that I can work on some demo pieces.

So, anyway, the last day of the symposium was pretty full, too.

I started the day by attending Giles Gilson's rotation on design. Giles did this as an excellent powerpoint presentation. I especially liked his use of a broom for a pointer. That lasted until someone donated a laser pointer for him to use.

The second rotation I went to was the instant gallery critique. This was held in a room, lecture style, which works much better than having everyone walk around the instant gallery. I'll take credit for planting this idea seed last year. It didn't work as well last year as this one, but there was still something not quite right about the critique this year. Maybe it had something to do with the way items were selected and discussed. Betty Scarpino, Hans Weissflog and Steve Loar were the presenters this year. Each was to select pieces to bring into the discussion. It seemed like Hans picked a lot of pieces he didn't care for and expected Betty and Steve to talk about them. Maybe I'm wrong, but that's the way it seemed to me. While I don't expect a critique to be a pat-on-the-back session for the artists, there is a way to do positive critiques that are critical without injecting negative comments such as, "the finish is too glossy," or, "I don't like it." I'll have to watch the proceedings DVD to see if I can determine what didn't seem right about this particular critique.

I didn't sit through the afternoon session, but did go around and snap some pictures. Here is Stuart Mortimer doing a presentation on his spiral work.

J. Paul Fennell showing how he does his texturing using a dremel tool. I felt sorry for Paul having lost his voice by the time this session came around. He was a trooper, though, and carried on as best he could.

One more trade show snapshot. Here are Christophe Nancey (L) and Pascal Oudet (R) from France. Christophe was a demonstrator this year. He does interesting wood and pewter sculptural pieces. I previously posted a picture of Pascal's pieces in the instant gallery. I enjoyed meeting Pascal in person, and Christophe for the first time. Pascal is an active member of the World of Woodturners group, so I know him from our online community.

The AAW usually sponsors a Dutch treat dinner on the last day of the symposium, but I attended a party hosted by Jan Peters of del Mano Gallery. Jan was assigned one of the hotel's apartments - an opportunity too good to waste. Thus, a party for artists and collectors ensued, which was a lot of fun. Harvey and Fiona Fein provided pizza, Pat Kramer and Jacques Vesery ordered beer, Eileen Duffy provided an appetizer tray, and the rest of us brought whatever libations we had to contribute to the well being of the attendees.

Here's the view from Jan's apartment - a nice balcony overlooking the river. Pretty swank, eh?

J. Paul Fennell chatting with Fiona. In the kitchen background (L to R): Nick Arnull, Pascal Oudet, and Gorst duPleissis.

L to R: a turner from Japan (I briefly met him on Sunday morning, but can't recall his name), Christophe Nancey, Neil Scobie and Harvey Fein.

L to R: Andi Wolfe, Jan Peters, Christophe Nancey.

L to R: Three Mikes in a row: Mike Hosaluk, Mike Jackofsky, Michael Mocho.

L to R: J. Paul Fennell, Judy Chernoff and Jeff Bernstein, Matthew's parents (the boy I helped in the youth program the previous day), and Hans Weissflog.

A Michael sandwich. L to R: Michael Hosaluk, Andi Wolfe, Michael Mocho.

Jan Peters holding court in the living room.

More friends.

Gorst duPleissis and Pat Kramer on the balcony.

The beginning of the stupid people tricks. Minda Vesery organized a series of activities that should show up on some home videos series that feature such types of games. Here is Jacques Vesery putting his trust in a bunch of ladies. That's Minda in the lower right saying, "Come on, Jacques, trust us!"

Jacques seems to be saying, "I have only one life to live. . ."

Going, going . . .

Gone. Jacques wanted to know who was pinching his buns.

He had a grin on his face, so it must of been good . . .

I'm not sure what this one was about, but everyone was sitting on their neighbor's knee.

Sharon Doughtie at the front of the line about to be picked up and passed to the back of the line. I have a video of this, but can't figure out how to post it as of yet.

Taking a breather out on the balcony to recover from the stupid people tricks.

What is Minda doing to Pat's hair????

A lovely sunset to end the day, the AAW symposium, and a nice evening with friends.

Thanks Jan, Harvey, Fiona, Pat, Jacques and Eileen for the refreshments. Thanks to everyone else for a wonderful evening.

Ok, one last picture that I snapped on the way home from the symposium. I drove home on Sunday morning and made it about 30 miles north of Louisville when the traffic on I-71 came to a screeching halt. At least I was near the front of this traffic jam, which must have been miles long by the time we started rolling again. I'm not sure what happened, but you can see the smoke up to the right. It was a car with a trailer that had caught on fire. It took about 30 minutes to get a lane cleared.

I'm sure glad to be home for a day before having to head out on another trip.

AAW Symposium - Friday, 2006 Jun 23

Friday morning breakfast was a bit better than Thursday. Art Liestman and I found a small Deli up a few blocks on Fourth Street after hearing about it from Harvey Fein. We shared a table out of doors with Mark Baker, Nick Agar and Sharon Doughtie. That was a nice way to start a hectic day.

The first rotation I attended was called, "The Hans and Jacques Show." And, it was, indeed, a show. Minda, Jacques' wife, was in the back of the room adding comments where needed, which was a lot of fun, too.

I also attended Clay Foster's demo on "Figurative Art and the Turned Object." Clay did an excellent slide show presentation and talked about design inspirations.

During the first afternoon rotation I volunteered to help with the Youth Turning Program. Nick Cook led this session on making honey dippers. The room was set up with 25 mini lathes along with all the tools and gear needed for hands-on classes.

Nick started with an overview of woodturning, and then demonstrated how to make a honey dipper. After that brief intro, the kids got started at a lathe with help from the adult assistants. I helped a boy named Matthew, and it was a fun experience for both of us. Matthew was an eager learner and was good at following directions.

Here we are after his project was complete. He made a very nice honey dipper.

Matthew and his brother took a couple of different classes, and I understand from his parents that they are now the proud owners of a mini lathe. It will be fun to see what they bring to the instant gallery of next year's symposium.

I went to J. Paul Fennell's session on "Personal Creative Expression" for the last rotation of the day. This was a really good presentation on how artists explore a theme and bring an idea to fruition with a personal narrative.

Here are some more images from the instant gallery:

Pascal Oudet (from France) brought these gems. The vessel in the upper left has been sand-blasted to the point of disintegration of the grain lines. It was really neat to see. The piece in the foreground is patterned after Mike Hosaluk's cut and reassemble techniques. This one had a lot of character - as if two individuals were having a discussion (or checking one another out in a singles bar?).

One of Binh Pho's vessels.

Mike Mahoney's canister set along with other items for the kitchen.

Robert Cutler's resin inlay work. I don't usually like a high gloss finish, but it really works for this body of work.

Stuart Mortimer's spiral work.

The AAW banquet was held in the convention center. How would you like to have dinner with 2400 of your "closest" friends. This event was a logistical challenge, to put it kindly. One couldn't hear anything from the podium, and the pre-dinner mixer was a recipe for disaster. I nearly had a panic attack from being pressed into a small area with so many people surrounding me.

The good news is that the auction raised $85K.

Here's Stuart Mortimer having a good time posing for pics with me.

I don't think Art Liestman had quite the same effect on him. . .

AAW Symposium - Thursday, 2006 Jun 22

This year's symposium was on an odd schedule (Thursday - Saturday). Usually it's Friday to Sunday. I started the day by trying to find a place to eat breakfast away from the hotel. With 2000 registrants and most of them staying at the hotel, it seemed a good plan to go away from there for meals. Art Liestman and I were going to go to Luigi's for breakfast pizza, but that fizzled out when they weren't open for breakfast. We did manage to find a small deli that served coffee and bad breakfast muffins. Wasn't great, but it served the purpose.

I found Steve Loar on the trade show floor about 8 am and found out where he had put my package of turnings. He brought back two pieces for me from the "Our Turn Now - Artists Speak out in Wood" show that had just finished at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. I put those into the instant gallery along with the two pieces I brought with me.

The IG opened just as I was finishing my set-up so I was able to get around and take pictures before it got too crowded in there. Here are some of the turnings that caught my eye in the instant gallery:

Two large platters by Harvey Fein. These are really interesting pieces that are constructed on the lathe with a router set-up that Harvey designed. He puts a lot of thought into the design process.

Mark Kauder with his vessels. He was giving them a final dusting before the gallery opened.

Michael Hosaluk vessel. Michael is very creative, and I always enjoy seeing where his imagination has taken him with his work.

Three carved hollow forms by Dixie Biggs.

A carved vessel by Peter Madsen. This reminds me of an artichoke or something similar in the sunflower family. The detail work on this was nicely done.

Exquisite work by Hans Weissflog.

Collaboration between Jack and Linda Fifield. Linda does the beading on these vessels, and they're wonderfully made.

Molly Winton's caveman art vessel.

Collaboration between Molly Winton and Dave Bowers.

Fred Klap's contributions to the instant gallery. I love the finials on these boxes.

Work by Pam Reilly. I have one of Pam's holly and bloodwood boxes. She's doing some very nice work this year.

Carved platters by Betty Scarpino. I like the progression of this series from bottom to top.

Carved vessels by Avelino Samuel.

Nick Arnull's hollow forms.

John Jordan hollow forms.

I don't know what this is called, but Elvie Jackson made it. Elvie is an ex-submariner, and there's some statement behind this piece. It's humongous.

One of Gerritt van Ness's tin man series. This one is called, "Getting to First Base."

Sculptures by Trent Bosch.

John Lucas made this platter using an inside-out construction technique. It's very interesting to see in person.

A three-way collaboration between Binh Pho, Julie Heryet and Nick Arnull.

Keith Tompkins rose and fish sculpture.

Pat Kramer's Norfolk Island Pine vessels.

Interesting segmented work by Bill Smith. I especially like the fluted bowl.

Suspended boxes by Gary Saunders.

Art Liestman's new work. I like the movement captured in the dancing figures.

Hollow forms by master turner David Ellsowrth.

Here are my four pieces in the instant gallery. I had the two on the right in Provo last week. The other two just came off exhibit (January - June).

I'm happy to report that the two on the right have new homes.

David and Ruth Waterbury with David Ellsworth. David and Ruth added "Hidden world" to their collection. David had just given me a critique, which was very helpful.

David and Ruth with their new collection

A happy artist (even if a bit sleep-deprived at this point in time).

I went to some interesting rotations on Thursday. The first one was by Clay Foster.

Here I am with Clay who is sporting a new hairstyle this year. I've always known Clay with long hair in a pony tail. I hardly recognized him the first time he said hello to me on Wednesday.

Clay was demonstrating how he makes a hollow form in two sections. He had a map of Texas on the wall to show where his hometown, Krum, is located. I love Clay's sense of humor and the zingers he throws out in his deadpan delivery. Here's what he said about his home town:

"Krum is so small that our fire fighting equipment is a big brown dog."

I also went to Giles Gilson's panel discussion on inspiration from prior art. David Ellsworth and Kevin Wallace also were on the panel. This didn't end up quite as I expected since some of the artists actually sent in slides of their inspirations that weren't from prior art. It was still good, but not what I had expected.

J. Paul Fennell led a panel discussion on cultural appropriation, which included Clay Foster, Binh Pho, Graeme Priddle and Curt Theobold. The best quote of this one was again from Clay Foster who was talking about the use of symbols that one may not fully understand.

"Merely having the Chinese symbols of "beef with broccoli" tattooed above your butt crack doesn't make you spiritual." Graeme Priddle jumped in there and added, "No, but it does make you 'sexy.'"

Carl Voss sitting at Butch and Pat Titus' desk. The sign is cute.

I finally met Merryll Saylan! She was checking out the Cryosteel Engineering Technology display. Merryll is one of my personal heroes in woodturning, so it was a real pleasure to have a chance to meet her and talk to her about her work. She's very nice.

Thursday was capped off with a dinner for members of the "World of Woodturning" web forum. This was started by Herm deVries a few years ago. Herm wasn't able to be there with us in Louisville, but Art Liestman and I took care of the gift exchange. You can see more pictures posted here.

We met at a restaurant called, "RAW," which is supposed to be a good sushi place. They had a challenge in handling the 120 or so WoWies that showed up. The highlight of the evening was a turner's exchange.

I sat with the Canadian group, including Joe Houpt from Toronto and Art Liestman from Vancouver, BC. Art had just been making "moose antlers" while the picture taking was going on.

After the WoW dinner, Bonnie Klein and I had a small gathering in our room at the Galt House. We had a nice set-up with a living room area separated from the bedroom and bath areas. I forgot to take pictures - sorry! We did have a nice time, though.