What a wonderful, fun long weekend in Tampa at the 2013 American Association of Woodturners Symposium. The annual Symposium shifts locations each year to make sure woodturners from all over the country get to go. This year it was in Tampa, which was great to the Turning Arts Group and the Northeast Florida Woodturners Association.
Actually, the process of preparing for the Symposium started some time ago for me. One thing the AAW is serious about is having high quality video display of the demonstrators for the attendees. There are generally between 1200-1800 attendees and even though there are thirteen simultaneous tracks of demonstrations, some rooms have to be big to accommodate everyone, so good video is a must. I was a videographer in 2011 at the 25th Anniversary Symposium in Minneapolis and was selected to be a videographer in Tampa. There is a pretty involved process of selecting who you want to video and developing a schedule that accommodates everyone as best as possible. I was lucky and got all the demonstrators in wanted to work with.
It really takes a lot of people to pull off a symposium like this, so our club really stepped up to help. TAG member Bob Hunt was in charge of all the videographers, getting all the equipment set up and tested and doing all the training and pretty much providing non-stop trouble shooting. We had other members from our club lead other responsibilities, but it was our friend, Rudy Lopez, who was the local liaison that took on the biggest role. All his hard work paid off with a very successful Symposium.
I drove down Thursday morning so that I could help with the video equipment set up. Last year the AAW had bought all new equipment, which included a framework to hold all the cameras, monitor, lights and switching equipment. That was all new to me, but as I started setting up the cameras and testing them, the configuration made sense and thought I could get the hang of things pretty quickly. I finally left about 7:00 PM, with dedicated Bob spending a few more hours finishing up.
I had to video three sessions on Friday, including the first rotation. I had selected Mike and Cynthia Gibson since I had heard from some friends that saw them at the Georgia Symposium that they were very good. They are a husband and with team.
Michael, for this demo, was turning Asian style footed bowls and Cynthia was doing delicate pyrography. They were great people and they knew they were presenting a bit of a challenge since Michael would be working on the lathe, while Cynthia would be working at an adjacent table, making the camera set up a bit tricky.
They were very nice people and it turned out I would revisit them on Sunday. It turned out that I was going to video them for both the fist and last sessions of the Symposium, doing the Then it was off to Steve Sinner to video his demo on deep hollowing. This was one of the few straightforward woodturning videos I did. Steve has his own line of tools for deep hollowforms.
Once done with Steve, I headed up to take some pictures of our Empty Bowls charity pieces. The club always takes great pride in donating to the AAW charity. This year the charity was Tampa Crossroads, a community effort to benefit Homeless Female Veterans and Veterans with Families. I was very proud of our club, donating a total of 77 bowls.
I talked to the volunteers the last day and they sold over 300 bowls, making it a $7500 donation to Tampa Crossroads.
We had also done a club Collaboration project this year. That effort was led but Turning Arts Group members Gene and Nancy O’Donnell. We had 24 club members join in the process of creating a fantasy beach scene.
Although we didn’t win, we all felt great about the effort and the fun we had making it.
I then had a chance to check out a gallery show and the Instant Gallery. The work, as usual was stupendous.
I love the work of Giles Gilson, with his wonderful lacquer finishes and very subtle airbrushing.
Haley Smith, who I had met at this year’s Florida Symposium was also represented in the collection.
I had only seen some of this work in pictures, so it was great to see the real work.
There was also other great work
Binh Pho –
and many more.
Although all four members of the Turnoing Arts Group were there, only Gene managed to bring some entries for the Instant Gallery. This is my favorite of the ones he brought.
There were other Instant Gallery items that really caught me eye and gave me some ideas for some of my future work.
Nick Agar’s Viking Sunset Bowls
I would end up spending a lot of time with Nick. I was his videographer for one session, but enjoyed the work he did so much that I ended up seeing all of his demonstrations.
I also loved this series from Avelino Samuel.
The pyrographed texture was just perfect and the spiral forms just made the pieces for me.
Original Turning Arts Group member, Keith Larrett also had his work in the Instant Gallery.
I think it was more of a teaser to show people the kind of work he would be doing for his demo.
We were all very proud of Keith and the excellent job he did demonstrating making, fitting and threading pewter collars for his hollowforms.
There were many other great pieces in the Instant Gallery, with well over 1000 entries, but I had to head back to my videographer chores. It was off to Steve Sinner to video his demo on deep hollowing. This was one of the few straightforward woodturning videos I did. Steve has his own line of tools for deep hollowforms. I then did the video for Nick Agar, doing airbrushing of leaves on a turned platter.
These were pretty simple techniques, but the results were great.
I started Saturday by doing the video of Tania Radda. She is a no-nonsense artist, less concerned about tools than she is achieving the desired results. She explained that she has used simple screw with the head cut off in her Dremel provide the texture on a dozen of her pieces.
Tania Is also well known for her use of compressed wood that allows her to bend wood into vines and natural looking leaves that add another dimension to her work.
Then it was off to Steve Sinner to video his demo on deep hollowing. This was one of the few straightforward woodturning videos I did. Steve has his own line of tools for deep hollowforms.
I had the rest of the day free to attend the AAW Chapters Meeting and catch a few other demos. I ended up spending most of the afternoon watching the remaining demos by Nick Agar. Of course, there was the big banquet that night. The AAW had reserved two tables for our club, but we actually needed a third. It was nice to have so many friends around. After dinner the auction started. They had 66 pieces to auction off and there was a lot of excitement in the room. Nancy O’Donnell loves the auction and generally walks away with a piece of two. However, this time the piece she wanted was the last one o be auctioned. People had burned out a bit by this time, so Nancy got a good deal. I’m assuming from the bidding I heard that the auction raised more that $50,000, which will be given out as Educational Outreach Grants.
Sunday, I again had to hit the ground running by videoing Stephen Hogbin, who was focused on the cross section. To give us examples he took pieces he had previously turned and cut them at different angles on a bandsaw and then showed us the profiles if they were glued back together in different configurations.
Pretty soon it was back to the Gibson’s to video my final demo. Since I had done this one before, it was pretty easy to anticipate what they were going to do, so I felt the video went very smoothly.
Some help with breakdown of the video equipment and then it was over. It was a great Symposium, probably the best AAW Symposium I have attended. Now I need to see if I can do some planning to attend next year’s Symposium in Phoenix, AX.