The AAW, Detroit, and the Future

Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by C Edward Moore, Jul 1, 2008.

  1. Steve Worcester

    Steve Worcester Admin Emeritus

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    Smiley removed.
    What I am trying to figure out is who is %80, who is %20 and what they want.
     
  2. rjones

    rjones

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    With some of the items picked at the IG was like being in a ford car club and going to a ford gallery with the nice ford that you built and showing it and a chevy wins best of show. we need to call it something besides woodturning if 80 to 90% of the work is done off the lathe.
    Rjones
     
  3. George Guadiane

    George Guadiane

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    I understand and agree, to a great degree...
    However, when you leave your nest and enter the big world, you gotta deal with life on life's terms, we all do.
    I'm just saying that the solution for this is the same for you as listening to Rush and Hannity is for me... I listen till it gets too stupid and insulting (and my skin gets too thin), then change the station.
    Once you see something you don't like, you can look away, or you can spend a lot of time and energy making yourself and everyone around you angry.
    Seriously expecting others to comply to your standards in a free society like ours isn't going to get much traction (IMO humble or not).
     
  4. Ed_McDonnell

    Ed_McDonnell

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    George - You have to look at the big picture here. It's not about me. It's not about you. It's not about compliance, changing opinions or winning arguments. It's all about the controversy and the conflict.

    What's the point of the AAW embracing controversial art if it isn't going to generate significant controversy? Any good controversy (certainly any worthy of an organization of the stature of the AAW) requires strong display of emotions on all sides of the issue. The more irrational and heated the arguments the better. With any luck, actual physical confrontations will break out at the next IG and our standing within the art community will reach new highs!!!

    Each of us who have expressed strong opinions here have directly supported the AAW in it's quest to expand the awareness of (and respect for) the work of AAW members within the larger art community. Those who have tried to push the controversy under the rug (or to the back porch) have completely failed to understand the larger strategy at work here.

    I can barely contain my excitement.

    Ed
     
  5. George Guadiane

    George Guadiane

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    Now THIS is FUNNY!

    I would have liked to let yours be the last post, but it only seems fair to give you your due -
    You made me laugh out loud!:D:p:eek:
     
  6. Doug Thompson

    Doug Thompson

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    The artist statement was meant to stir the pot and he accomplish his goal. We elect a board to do the best job they can to keep the AAW going and they do it the best they can... period. Can we do better... probably not. This was a situation that hasn't been addressed in the past so the artist statement had to stay no matter how much it offended the public. Next year the board could adopt a policy that no artist statement is allowed in the IG, this would solve the problem we had this year. Next year there might be a different problem to deal with so they could handle it when it occurs.

    There is no big city that is safe after dark so why should Richmond be any different, no one got hurt so we did very good as a group to be safe. I'm sure the board has issues with every symposium that they need to deal with and do the best they can for what they have to work with.

    Up on a soap box.
    The war has affected all us, in our auto plant we have a list of kids as long as your arm who were lost in one day, it's a good daily reminder what these kids did because they believed in America. I don't know how Ford and GM ever got into this but they are American, if we can't support our own country one day the world will hand our fannies to us. I hope I never see the day when our troops go into battle in a Toyota because the company who made the Humvee went out of business.

    Off soapbox
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2008
  7. Max Taylor

    Max Taylor In Memoriam

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    the AAW, Detroit and the future

    You can criticize Detroit if you want to, but, if Americans werent buying the big cars back then, how long do you think they could produce them????? Just to add a little levity to the discussion.
     
  8. C Edward Moore

    C Edward Moore

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    Dustpan,

    How happy is Detroit now?

    A stated objective of the AAW Board is to have all chapters comprised of AAW members. This was discussed at the chapters meeting at the Symposium and was not well-received.

    My point has been that the "Art Uber Alles" group (AUA) has made decisions that send implicit messages to the membership along the lines of "Artistic embellishment is more important than turning skills." Richard Raffan, one of the most influential woodturners in the world was at the Symposium. Many members began turning because they were inspired by his books and videos/DVDs. His turning skills FAR EXCEED those of most in the AUA group. Were any of his pieces selected by the AAW? No, the AAW exalts those who can embellish and not necessarily those who can turn. This may be driven by the Collectors and $$.

    My contention is that 80% of the club members want to become better turners and they feel alienated because they think there is too much emphasis on embellishment. I think we need a better approach to increasing club membership than cramming it down people's throats. I think the AAW wins if it abandons the AUA approach and keeps the Main Thing the Main Thing.

    In the interest of full disclosure, I do dye some of my turnings, although I try to keep the grain visible. I am not against embellishment, but I oppose exalting pieces that are essentially unturned.
     
  9. MichaelMouse

    MichaelMouse

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    Seems to me that the organization grows by outsiders joining, not by creating AUA members out of insiders. The turning can be an end, as it is for all, especially when they begin, or the means to an end for those who consider it a canvas. You have to demonstrate proficiency in the basics before you can do the freestyle, just as in skating. Most people, myself included, joined to increase their basic skills, not imitate others'. The AUA attitude is why those members drop away.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2008
  10. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    Ed,

    I believe the AAW has a broad view of woodturning from the simplest cylinder to the elaborately embellished work. The variety of objects selected for awards bears witness to this. We endeavor to serve hobbiest as well as the professionals who make aliving selling their work

    Instant Gallery Awards were given to
    Irene Grafert, Dale Larson, Ed Kelle, John H. Williams, Ken Deaner, Derek Weidman, and Jon Sauer, as well as Benoit Averly.

    These pieces may be viewed at the bottom of:
    http://www.woodturner.org/sym/sym2008/photos/ig/index.htm

    The Instant gallery critique panel Albert LeCoff, Louise Hibbert, and Steve Keeble were the jurors and in my opinion selected a well rounded set of work for awards.

    Also from year to year we vary the focus of the AAW show. Turned for Use II was certainly for those members who prefer less embellished work.

    I believe we have room for all types of work.

    happy turning,
    Al
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2008
  11. C Edward Moore

    C Edward Moore

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    Thank you

    Al,

    I would be remiss if I didn't point out that you encouraged me to go forward with the Boxmakers SIN event and that you were cooperative at all phases of that interesting journey. When castigating the Board I should have added a disclaimer all along that you had treated me kindly and had a bigger view of things than some.

    So, thank you for your help in making the Boxmakers SIN a successful event.

    It is easier to select the most glamorous piece than it is to select the most skillfully turned piece.

    I truly believe that the AAW is in danger of losing its way. The IG was an interesting art show and the casual observer will forget that it is to be a woodturning exhibit. How many attendees did NOT put something in the IG because it is "just an art show" and "they look down on what I do"? Comments of this type were heard by several of us. If you make people feel unwelcome often enough they will go away. This latter point is exactly why many club members don't want to become AAW members. And the AUA Board members simply don't get it.

    I love the work of Stephen Hatcher and have a couple of his pieces that were turned and then embellished. I also have pieces by Ray Key, Bob Rosand, and Richard Raffan. I value the work of "The Masters". I should also mention Phil Brown, Mark St Leger, and Don Riggs.

    Thanks for your hard work, Al.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2008
  12. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    Ed,

    I disagree that AAW focuses only on the high end art.

    The pieces that received IG awards and the collection of work in the Turned for Use II provide abundant evidence that simple turned only work is given equal footing with work where turning is only a portion of the process.

    Consider implementing a rule that 50% of the work must be done on the lathe;
    from the get go we exclude: Segmented work, pens, pierced pieces, fluted pieces, spiral work, .......

    I believe that is too narrow a view of turning.


    Happy turning,
    Al
     
  13. C Edward Moore

    C Edward Moore

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    Al,

    Do Collectors go for work that isn't highly embellished? Why/ Why not? Was it Collectors who were ushered in ahead of the rest of us at the Banquet? Money matters. Are we trying to honor what we think Collectors will buy?

    I am not opposed to embellished pieces. And if four salad bowls had been selected I would have been equally puzzled. But if one looks at a piece and cannot answer "Was it turned on the lathe? Or was it simply carved?", then maybe that piece belongs in a different show. It certainly doesn't deserve a woodturning award or recognition.
     
  14. john lucas

    john lucas

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    Actually I believe collectors do both. I have seen photos of collectors houses and when you look around the rooms you will see all types of turnings, Just like you see in the instant gallery. Collectors are just like other people. They collect what they like and some like unadorned bowls and some like really fancy stuff.
    I do think the instant gallery is not representative of the average turner, but that is because the you would not bring average work to a national show, you would bring the best could produce. Even at club meetings people don't always bring everything they turn. There are always a few exceptional people in each club and even though we try to convince people to bring in their work they don't always because they don't want it sitting next to the really nice work. Lets face it, high end work is intimidating no matter who makes it. Because of this I think you will never see a lot of bowls in the symposium instant gallery because most people simply wouldn't bring them unless the wood was really spectacular.
     
  15. Mark Mandell

    Mark Mandell

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    Or

    Because the Instant Gallery is an "open class" "non-juried" display where the members, themselves, determine what is shown there! There are no themes, no requirements, no preconceived notions of what should or should not be there. The show is, and always has been "Bring your stuff to show us what you do, whatever that may be." As all artist-to-artist communications must be, the IG must be fully open, with the only criteria being that the exhibitors be AAW members. The IG is NOT the AAW, it is AAW members, individually. The AAW provides the opportunity, but it does not sanction the IG nor dictate, whether officially or otherwise, what goes on the tables. There's no "pro" table, or "newbie" section, or any rhyme or reason where stuff goes; everybody from Ellsworth, to Raffan, to Averly, to Mandell take their chances where their pieces go and whose stuff gets put next to them.

    "Only done on a lathe?" Gee, I remember seeing several pieces in the IG that I could opine should not have been done on a lathe and several that could have been done a whole lot better without getting near a lathe. Nobody raised a fuss about them.

    I'll submit that once the Board or any adhoc group starts to filter or restrict what can or can't be shown by individual members in the IG, it is then that the Instant Gallery will fail completely as a representative sample of what AAW members have been doing over the prior 12 months. Every year the AAW puts up a formal show; this year there were two. THAT is where any comments on the juries' choices should be directed.

    If someone wants a "bowls only" show, by all means push for a S.I.N. show-n-tell for whatever is nearest and dearest to your turning heart.

    But kindly keep yer mitts off the IG!! ;)
     
  16. Garmar

    Garmar

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    I think you missed the point Mr Mandell. Its all about being intimidated by work(s) being presented that are so superior(at least in my scope of ability) I/some wouldn't be comfortable displaying. Kudos to those who exibit, but its not for unskilled turners or newbies such as myself.
     
  17. Mark Mandell

    Mark Mandell

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    Actually, I got the point. I put myself last on my little list. I had some second thoughts about putting "my stuff" in the first National Symposium I ever went to. Me next to an Ellsworth or some such? I must be nuts. And there were many pieces in that first IG that I regarded as more advanced, better done, etc. than my beginner's effort. But guess what, my piece was picked for the critique! Yeah, me, the nobody from New Jersey, who had no interest in selling anything or competing for nice little ribbons or awards. Why did I do it? To get real feedback from those better than I, real comments and suggestions on how to improve in terms that I could relate to because they were based on my own piece, not some construct of what a turning "should" be.

    Truth be known, I actually disliked the giving of awards this year. Not that the selected pieces weren't meritorius, it's that the idea of singling them out for recognition tends to turn the IG into just another competition with a few winners and, by implication, a bunch of losers. That concept will, indeed, inhibit the sharing and learning that is the foundation of the IG, and will relegate the gallery to a place to go see stuff "I-will-never-be-able-to-do-and-so-redeem-myself-before-the-woodturning-gods'-eyes"

    Mr. Garmar, if you let yourself be intimidated by what others do, then any public display will seem closed to you. The IG always has some spectacular work, but it also always has some lesser lights, its share of ho-hum stuff, and although I haven't seen any burn-pit fugitives, a few pieces open to the "why" question. That's actually (in my view) how it should be.

    YMMV :)
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2008
  18. George Guadiane

    George Guadiane

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    In turning (in my personal experience), everyone gets respect, no matter what level. Besides, "art" is subjective - I have seen numerous pieces of "art" that had obviously taken a lot of time and energy, that I didn't think were very good, and simple things that were elegant in that simplicity. Take a shot.:D
    I absolutely agree! I would like to add that I show my work wherever I can, many of the top turners in my area Paul Petrie, Keith Tompkins, Steve Sherman (actually a pretty long list when I think about it) have been happy to take the time to examine my work and make observations and suggestions.
    In my case, I fell like I have learned more from what needs improvement than from the pats on the back when I get it right. I don't always LIKE to hear it, but I know I NEED to hear it, so I put myself out there... In my case (and I can only speak for myself), I get more enjoyment out of my turning when I get pointers that take me closer to my objectives.
    Generally, turners are extremely generous, and when it comes to turning are kind and helpful. That was the biggest draw for me when I decided to try turning.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2008
  19. Keith T.

    Keith T.

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    Hey Garmar, I think it's important to remember that we ALL started in the same place, and we have all suffered through the same learning curve. I urge anyone to display their work; one of the best learning opportunities in the entire symposium is to show your pieces to the established turners for their advice and suggestion. Most, if not all, would be glad to take the time to help...just be aware many of them may be on a tight schedule with demos, etc.

    To play devil's advocate for a minute, how do you ask a turner NOT to display what they feel is their very best work at a national symposium? Do we REALLY want those who carve, blast, pierce, or otherwise embellish their work to go somewhere else? Do we REALLY want to discourage highly talented artists interested in turning from becoming AAW members as well?

    I strongly suggest that before anyone takes sides on the pure turning/embellished turning topic, they thoroughly explore the work done by generations of turners who went before us...you will discover the very best turnings were almost invariably carved as well as turned. You will discover turnings that were spiral carved, gilded, fluted and reeded ... and (gasp) painted, centuries ago! . Consider just one maker; would you dare ask Thomas Chippendale NOT to carve his masterpieces?

    I sincerely hope we can get past the politics that can easily divide us. I suggest rather that focusing on the differences between us, we should embrace the thing that draws us together...the love of working with wood.
     
  20. Garmar

    Garmar

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    Mark; Keith, I understand your point(s). I will try to restate my observation about this thread. If you look at the first post by Mr Moore, the first sentence speaks volumes and explains exactly the message of this entire thread, or at least it should in my opinion. There appears to be a great deal of concern(my feeling) about the direction of the AAW, good or bad, as regards the beginner turner, novice turner. The message is (again my feeling) that one should be in good standing by paying dues and maybe be a silent member and not to quick to make suggestions. Example: I have on more than a few occasions opined(I like that word) about getting our journal protected in some manner against the USPS. I haven't received a single journal out of the last 4 that hasn't had some damage. If that is going to happen then fantastic. If not, why?
    I've gained a tremendous amount of information through this organization and eagerly await the next and the next, ect. journal. But, it isn't the only place I can buy the information. Its like every thing in life, one tolerates until it becomes intolerable.
    Keith, I'm kind of confused as to why you mentioned embellished turnings, but I like them alot and plan in the future to try my hand. But, one thing for sure, anyone will still be able to recognize it as being a TURNED object.
    I took the original post by Mr Moore as a plea to the Association to wake up, and consider the majority of its members feelings about direction. I could be wrong but I don't think I am.
     

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