Thursday, June 30, 2011

Thursday - 23 June 2011 AAW: Conversations with Wood: Selections from the Waterbury Exhibit

After the demonstrators' dinner, the Collectors of Wood Art organized for a charter bus to take us over to the Minneapolis Institute of Art to see Conversations with Wood: Selections from the Waterbury Collection.  The CWA had dinner over at the museum while the demonstrators were dining together.  While we were waiting for the bus, I did a bit of informal portrait photography.

Michael Hosaluk

Eli Avisera

John Jordan

Kevin Wallace thought the big yellow school bus was our charter to the museum.  I'm happy to report that he was incorrect.

Yes, this was much, much better than a school bus.

The Minneapolis Institute of Art is an excellent art museum.  I wish I had had a chance to visit the museum while I was in the area.  I think I'll have to come back some time.

The exhibit is beautifully set, deep in the museum.  The first case you come to is of Michael Hosaluk's work.

Here are the Waterburys next to the case with Michael Hosaluk's work.  L to R: Marcus, David and Ruth.  David and Ruth received the 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Collectors of Wood Art.

The first room of the exhibit has a case that includes my small piece, Imagine the Hidden World.  It's placed right next to a work by Michelle Holzapfel - I'm very honored to be in the same case with this work.

Imagine the Hidden World. Andi Wolfe, 2006

Ron Kent told me that this little bowl speaks to him, which was very nice of him to tell me.

Admirers of the collection:  Pat Kane (Yale University) on the left.

The excursion was a good opportunity for friends to visit.  L to R: John Hill, Harvey and Fiona Fein.

Albert and Tina LeCoff with work by Arthur Jones.

David Waterbury and Michael Mode. That's Michael's work in the case.

Another informal portrait:  Ray Leier; outside the museum.

Back on the bus - next stop: Crowne Plaza Hotel.

It was a grand evening and a nice way to kick off the AAW symposium.  Thanks, CWA, for such a lovely evening.  Thanks, also, to David and Ruth Waterbury for producing their book and lending the pieces on exhibit.  It was a lovely time.

For more pictures from Thursday, check by woodturning Facebook page.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

2011 AAW Symposium - Thursday afternoon and early evening; June 23

Thursday is a very busy day at the AAW symposium.  There are a lot of details to sort out prior to the start of registration, and there is a lot going on behind-the-scenes to set up the demonstration rooms, galleries, and trade show.  This blog post shows some of the stuff that most attendees are not aware of, which is as it should be for a well organized symposium.

The staff and volunteers work very hard to make things run smoothly, which means they do a lot of running around to meet the needs of different people.  Linda Ferber (in pink) was one of the primary "go to" people on Thursday.

Meanwhile, on the lower level of the convention center there is a lot of frantic activity to put booths in the proper location, move goods to the proper areas, and for setting up the trade show.

Each vendor has their own special needs to display their wares.  I found it pretty interesting to do a walkabout during this hectic phase of the setup.

Goods and equipment are scattered all across the eventual aisles as vendors organize their display areas.

There must be a pretty good system for keeping track of all the shipments that are sent ahead to be delivered to a specific area of the trade show. 

 Stuart Batty's booth was totally awesome.  High tech video, HD monitors, great sound, dedicated video and sound technicians.  I'm kicking myself that I didn't get a shot of the booth after it was set up and before the crowds of people arrived.  I have to tell you that this booth was the buzz of the trade show.  It was always packed, and there were demonstrations constantly going on throughout the day.

I talked to Stuart about this venture and he said that the business was about marketing his brand.  This includes his line of training videos, tools, etc.  Given all the excitement at the trade show, perhaps this will be the wave of the future.  I have to admit that I was suitably impressed.

Ruth Niles organized a co-op gallery as part of her space.  Unfortunately, Ruth could not be at the symposium due to a sudden illness.  We really missed having her around.  Somehow the trade show just isn't as cheerful when she's not there.

My part of the co-op gallery included lots of dangle earrings that I carved.  The parts are sterling silver and each pair is unique.  I sold quite a few pairs, and I've kept track of which kinds of dangles were most popular.

I also made four pendant/necklace and matching earring sets.   The lower three sets sold during the symposium.  I'll probably wear the top set.

Sometime I need to make some more - probably before October.  These are very fun to make, for sure.

Also behind the scenes are several meetings.  The AAW board meets for a couple of days earlier in the week and the Monday after the symposium.  The POP committee (shown here) meets on Thursday.  They do a lot of decision making with regards to the theme of future POP exhibits, the POP merit award nominees, and emerging artists for the next symposium demonstrations.

The other bit of hectic activity occurs in the Youth Turning room.  Dozens of Jet minilathes are set up to be ready for the first rotation of Friday morning.  This room is such an exciting place to visit, especially to watch the kids learn to turn.

Each station has the same gear: lathe, tools, face shield.  Some are set up with platforms for the shorter kids.

After a long day of work, the room is ready to go.  I would like to congratulate all the volunteers and demonstrators who make this happen.  We witness the future of turning in this room.

Another bunch of hard working volunteers are to be found at the registration area.  These ladies and gents are kept very, very busy as soon as registration opens at 3 pm.

There are three areas of registration - regular attendees, demonstrators, and vendors.  The AAW staff members are kept very busy sorting out all the details and tackling any challenges that arise.

Now that one has all the registration packets and info, it's time to decide on who to see demonstrate.  Sorting through the schedule seems pretty daunting at the beginning of the symposium.

During registration there is a "Learn to Turn" session.  This is a pretty active area and there is a lot to see and do.  The local chapters take on this activity.

One of the big fund raisers is a raffle for one or more lathes.  Tickets are $10 each, and the prize this year included a decorated Powermatic lathe (painted by Binh Pho), and a Jet mini lathe.

Here's a close-up of part of the lathe that was decorated with this year's theme artwork.  Binh Pho was very generous with his time and talent to help AAW with this fundraiser.  Thanks, Binh!

The opening reception for all of the symposium exhibits started at 4:30 or 5:00 pm - I can't remember the details.  There were three exhibits this year:  Turning 25, which featured entries from AAW chapters; an exhibit of work by David Ellsworth, this year's POP merit award recipient; and Roots, an invitational POP exhibit.  It was well attended and very crowded in there!

Demonstrators were whisked off to a Thursday evening dinner where we had a chance to visit with one another and to hear the final instructions from the board of directors.  I like this tradition - it's about the only time demonstrators have some time to see each other throughout the weekend.

For more photos see the album on my Facebook page.

Stuart Batty

Teaser for Thursday, June 23, 2011 - AAW trade show set-up.

Monday, June 27, 2011

2011 AAW Symposium - prelude

The Collectors of Wood Art (CWA) coordinated their annual meeting to coincide with the 25th Anniversary of the AAW symposium.  The first event was a reception at the home of Ruth and David Waterbury, which gave everyone a chance to see the Waterbury collection in its home setting.  The Waterburys have a lovely home that is absolutely the perfect setting for their collection of wood art - mostly turnings, but also featuring some beautiful sculptures.

I had scheduled a flight on Wednesday morning that should have put me in Minneapolis before noon, but, alas! the fates were not kind and my flight was canceled.  I was rerouted to Minneapolis via Atlanta (from Columbus, Ohio!).  Thus, I arrived in Minneapolis at about the time that the members of CWA were gathering for their reception.  By the time I had picked up my luggage, hailed a cab and rode over to the Waterburys, the party was already over with just a few stragglers still at the house.

That was rather disappointing, but I knew that would be the case.  However, I had previously been invited to have dinner with Dave and Ruth and their guests, Ron and Myra Kent, Michael Mode, Pat Kane, and Scott Braznell.  So, I arrived in plenty of time for dinner and Dave's wonderful margaritas.

L to R: Scott Braznell, Pat Kane, Myra and Ron Kent

The Waterburys just published a book about their collection (Conversations with Wood), and there is currently an exhibit at the Minneapolis Institute of Art that features about 80 pieces from the collection. These two events served as one of the focal points for the CWA meeting. All the artists that attended the CWA forum and AAW symposium who are in the collection signed the Waterburys' copy of the book. Michael Mode was signing his page in this image.

The Waterburys have three of my sculptural turnings in their collection.  One of them is currently on display in the museum exhibit.  The other two are displayed in one of their front rooms of the house.  Both are aging well, gaining lovely patinas that enhance the carved leaves.

Here is "Dylan's Song," which was acquired from the "Return to the land of Oz" exhibit in 2005

Here is how "Dylan's Song" is displayed.  Other artists featured in this case include Gianfranco Angelino, Christian Burchard, David Ellsworth, Virginia Dotson, Hans Weissflog, Ray Allen, Vaughn Richmond, Ron Kent, Ron Layport, and Michael Mode.  There are several other notables, too, but it's late at night as I'm posting and my memory is playing tricks on me.

This is "Quercus rubra," which was acquired in 2006.  It's made from African sumac, and it has gained a lovely reddish brown patina - exactly as I had envisioned.  It was so great to see it in such beautiful coloring.

Here is how "Quercus rubra" is displayed.  Other artists featured in this case include Alan Stirt, Matthew Hill, Sharon Doughtie, Jack Straka, William Moore, David Ellsworth, Gael Montgomerie, Roger Bennett, and Ron Kent.  I probably missed someone (see above lame excuse).

Ruth explained to the other collectors some of the details of how they designed and installed their display cases. 

Here are a couple of views of the collection from different spots on the main floor of the house.

The setting for the collection is truly beautiful and it's obvious that Ruth and Dave enjoy living with their art.  They collect not only these beautiful objects, but the stories that go with them and the connections to artists who become life-long friends.  I had not yet had the opportunity to meet Ron Kent and Michael Mode and so this was truly a lovely evening, and a wonderful way to cap off a challenging travel day, not to mention a very nice start to the symposium weekend for me.  Thanks, Ruth and Dave!

Additional photos from this evening are posted on my Wood Turning Facebook Page.

Preliminary report from the AAW symposium

I just got home from the 25th AAW symposium in St. Paul, MN. I heard that it was the largest gathering we've yet had for the annual conference, and I do believe it after trying to walk through the banquet hall to take photos of the event. I would like to congratulate the conference organizers, the staff members at AAW headquarters, the Board of Directors, committee members, and the hundreds of volunteers it took to make this a successful event. Nicely done, AAW!

I sure got my exercise from running around the venue site to capture images of the happenings. My favorite photo ops always occur in the instant gallery and trade show, but I did get some interesting photos from some of the sessions as well. My Aperture library of the photos I took June 22 - 26 = 97 GB. Needless to say, I will be spending a lot of time combing through that vast amount of data to find the dozen or so gems for publication in The American Woodturner. Having a press pass helped me to get into some areas for photo angles that I would not otherwise have been able to do.  Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of details to report from the demonstrations since I was only in each one for a few minutes to do photography.  I'll have to manage that aspect a bit better next year.  I missed out on some excellent panel discussions that I would have thoroughly enjoyed, I'm sure.

Some quick highlights from the perspective of a street photographer and participant:  1) capturing the excitement of the registration area as everyone was picking up their packets and perusing the schedule to plan their weekend; 2) being part of a sensory exploration of tactile pieces shared with attendees who are blind; 3) involvement in the "intimate critique" session of surface enhancements with J. Paul Fennell.  We had eight participants gathered around a table to discuss the pieces they had brought to the instant gallery.  4) The Friday night book signing, which included a paper airplane war with Kevin Wallace, Art Liestman and myself.  What can I say? After an hour or so of sitting in one spot signing dozens and dozens of books, one needs to have a bit of entertainment.

Probably the biggest highlight for me, though, was being able to visit with Ruth and David Waterbury in their home and then at the Minneapolis Institute of Art to see "Conversations with Wood: selections from the Waterbury collection."  It was an absolute thrill to see my little piece, "Imagine the Hidden World," in an exhibit that includes so many fantastic and famous artists. 

It was wonderful to see so many friends and to make the acquaintance of new people.  I also became reacquainted with people I've had interaction with in the past via some of my demos and hands-on classes or other symposia.  I have a terrible time with recollection of names and faces, but most people seem to be pretty understanding.

I'll post images and more detailed reports over the coming weeks (after I've spent a bit of time combing through my image library), but I wanted to post a short report of my overall impressions while they were still fresh in my mind.

Seeing with One's Hands

Friday morning: Malcolm Zander organized a session for the blind. He invited Betty Scarpino, Bill Luce, Al Stirt and me to bring tactile pieces for the blind to explore with their hands. Four people from a blind organization participated.

It was the most amazing experience for me to watch how these individuals explored each piece with their hands. The work of Bill Luce is being examined in this photo and I was intrigued about how delicate a touch this person used to explore the surface.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Integument - view 1

Demonstration of blogging connection via twitter

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Friday, June 24, 2011

Flower predator

This caterpillar is well camouflaged against the flower head of the Mariposa Daisy. I don't know what insect it is, but I was fascinated by its behavior. It pokes its head into each individual flower and chomps the reproductive structures.