Monday, June 27, 2011

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.

No comments: