The AAW, Detroit, and the Future

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

  1. charlie knighton

    charlie knighton

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    intimidated

    i was intimidated, but i did particpate and show 3 pieces

    that is the way i came, i hope to improve, the bar is pretty high but i saw some pretty stuff

    i did talk to Malcolm Tibbetts, RE Watts, Bill Collison, and Terry Mitchell in the IG. the quantity of quality in the IG and vendor area is what really sets the national symposium from the regional symposiums :cool2:IMHO

    as i was packing pieces up i saw Jim Christiansen talking to someone, i had attended his and Stevem Hatcher's rotation on the critque process, and my biggest regret was not asking him to look at my pieces
     
  2. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    Below photos of four pieces that received awards there were others.

    The one that began this thread is on the right.

    Whether you like it or not it is a very well done piece and one that requires considerable skill.

    Please consider the other three.
     

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  3. Keith T.

    Keith T.

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    Garmar, My reference to embellished turnings was not aimed at your comments, but towards the general tone of some of the posts that the highly embellished turnings somehow don't belong. I should have stated that more clearly.
     
  4. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    Ed,
    The purpose of the Banquette Auction is to raise funds for the EOG. Tables are RESERVED for Demonstrators, Board Members, and anyone who made significant purchases in the 2007 Auction.
    The whole purpose of the AAW is turning education.

    The Instant Gallery critique panel made the selections for the awards.
    All are well respected. I believe they honored what they felt were the best work.
    Are they pieces collectors would want? You betcha!


    I respect the jury process. But I also recognize that another jury panel of equally respected individuals would not have picked the same pieces.

    -Al

     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2008
  5. n7bsn

    n7bsn

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    Which I certainly agree is a fine idea. Recall that one item (in 2007) went for over $10K ($17K or so, as I recall). If someone is willing to pay that much, I think they should get special seating. Considering that the income the AAW gets from these items allows the AAW to fund the Grant Program, without this income, the members would have to fund everything

    Exactly, the club I am in got an AAW grant this year, for more then our (combined) membership dues. If it wasn't for AAW members willing to donate really great pieces, and collectors willing to buy them, these grants would be much smaller and fewer (if they existed at all).

    The entire point of this program, is to get people that aren't turners to help us fund our hobby

    IMO, a GREAT IDEA

    TTFN
    Ralph
     
  6. Clayton

    Clayton

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    Banquet...

    I was one of those who went in early. There were about 8 of us who were spotters for John Hill during the auction and we had a meeting before everyone came in so as to survey the room and chose where spotters needed to be once everything got started. There were others who were in charge of different aspect of the banquet who also had to be in the room early.

    As the spotter for the front area (where many of the "collectors" sat) I can tell you the people who occupied these tables came in with the rest of the attendees when the doors were opened as far as I saw.

    There were a few people who came in due to needing to be out of the crush of people due to handicap type issues. Crutches and wheelchairs. I see absolutely no issues with them getting away from getting hurt by the running of people coming in. I literally saw one individual almost knock one of the tables over trying to get ahead of others coming in.


    Clayton
     
  7. C Edward Moore

    C Edward Moore

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    Who's on first?

    Garmar,

    Thank you for reading my initial post with an eye towards understanding it, rather than just towards refuting it. Your last statement in your post (#60) was spot on. As a former mathematics professor, logical inconsistencies set me off. One of the stated goals of the AAW is to increase AAW membership among club members. I accept that as a reasonable goal. Examine the situation from the point of view of the club member who does NOT belong to the AAW. For them to decide to join the AAW they must see a positive reason for joining. A large number of these folks are interested in woodturning, but they don't care about embellishing. That is their choice. If the AAW mandates that they must join, then the clubs will lose members and there will be no increase in AAW membership.

    The club members who don't belong to the AAW have occasionally been vocal on other forums. They are interested in woodturning, they are not necessarily interested in embellishing their work, but most importantly, they don't want to be bullied by the Art Uber Alles group and made to feel unwelcome and unworthy. They don't want their politics insulted and they see woodturning as relaxation and an escape from the ugliness of politics. It is my contention that the AAW was inconsistent if it wants to encourage the outsiders to join up. Selecting non-turned work for an award adds to this inconsistency. The turned work of the same individual was better than the piece selected.

    Keep the Main Thing the Main Thing.
     
  8. John Jordan

    John Jordan AAW Advisor

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    I feel compelled to make a few observations here, please forgive me as my intentions are good.

    I would point out that Dale Larson's bowl got an award, and year after year his simple bowls are recognized because there are, quite simply, as good as it gets. It might surprise some that the biggest fans of his work are those this thread might have you believe are against such things. Of those fopur pieces Al posted as examples, there are at least a couple I would have chosen differently-so what?

    I have been to all 23 annual gatherings, and have put three pieces in every one. I have given the formal critique at several, and often have given personal critiques/advice/encouragement, sometimes without being asked. I have walked through the IG every year, many times with others I respect, and I have attempted to see every piece. Some don't take me very long to look at to be sure, but I have NEVER heard anyone with any knowledge at all be disparaging of what may be simple work, purely turned work, or work of an obvious beginner. On the contrary, I feel, as do most of my fellow "professional" woodturners, that if you have put your time and good effort into it your piece(s), it belongs in the instant gallery (or your local club show and tell). If you don't put it out there, you deprive me, and others the chance to share in your joy at the experience.

    Who cares if it's embellished, or not? Hollow or not, painted or not? You should pursue what interest YOU. And none of us really needs to start drawing arbitrary lines to define OUR interest, and then expect others to conform to those lines. What a dull world that would be.

    There is not any comparable field where one can go and see and interact with many of the leading proponents of that field as they can with woodturning. Yes, I know the long history of woodturning, and it's not those turnings found in the pyramids, or the industial arts classes some of you had in high school that are responsible for the popularity of woodturning today. It is these very proponents. I guarantee if you went up to Dave Ellsworth or Richard or any of those folks and introduced yourself, or asked a question, you were treated with respect and friendliness.

    There is a lot of interest in beginner's topics, and there is aways plenty of that available at the symposium and in the Journal. But there also has to be things that are of interest to those of us that have been at this a long time. We like to learn and be stimulated, too. And what does that for some may not be of interest to many. Good, that's as it should be. The day everyone is enjoying and liking all aspects of what goes on within AAW is the time it has lost it's heart and soul.

    For what it's worth, I had a bunch of Richard Raffan's work on a table in our booth, to give him a hand trying to sell a few since he was busy demonstrating. Know what sold the best? The pieces that were completely covered with a copper mixture and patina-no wood showing at all-to other turners at thatl. Go figure. He makes good work when he loosens up a bit. :)

    Finally, I would point out that there seems to be some perception, or the promotion of a perception, that there is a group that benefits from some sort of art/collectors/art mystique thing within the AAW. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Those of us that have for many years made a living from "gallery" or "collector" work do so without much influence from AAW. We have and, do try to make the AAW MORE relevant to what we do. With small exceptions, the fact is the real gallery/museum/collector market has been, and still is largely outside any influence, or even any recognition of the AAW. That's one of the reasons the POP committee was formed. The same POP committee which by the way, was instrumental in the forming of the Special Interest Nights. POP recognized that there are MANY groups within AAW, and it was a way to provide some support and common ground for those groups.

    Also, these people have donated, over the last 23 years, work that has raised at auction, hundreds of thousands of dollars. Dollars that go to the scholarship fund for chapters and individuals. Scholarships that anyone reading this can apply for and stand a VERY good chance of getting it. Scholarships that by and large support the newer, and beginning turners. It pains me to point this out, as I know of no one (professional or casual) that has ever asked for any recognition for their contribution, however humble or grand. And don't believe any nonsense about how it advances the value of one's work/career etc. The AAW auction is not the real world, it's not Sothebys-it's a fundraiser. No one outside the banquet even knows about it.

    Finally, finally, it was these very "Art Uber Alles" types that intially formed AAW, not to be exclusive, but INCLUSIVE of ALL types of woodturners-hobbiest, professional, artist, woodbutcher, architectural, and all the rest. Don't be too quick to wish them away, they might go. The same is true of the VOLUNTEER board members.

    Lighten up.

    With respect,

    John Jordan
    N OO BE it says so at the top.:D
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2008
  9. Ed Davidson

    Ed Davidson

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    Thank you, John. For those who are not familiar with POP, check it out.
     
  10. RussFairfield

    RussFairfield

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    Just a few observations after wading through all of this -

    It wasn't that many years ago that similar criticism was being leveled at the AAW because there was too much for the beginners. The only difference was that the Internet wasn't as universal as it is today.

    Nothing stops in time. What everyone here is calling the "unembellished" type of work was the stuff of the experts 20 years ago. I remember when the 1st natural edge bowl was the latest art form at the Symposium, and it got a lot of flack because it wasn't "pure woodturning". And it wasn't that many years ago that segmented turning wasn't considered woodturning by those who were the leaders of the AAW. I hope the AAW doesn't go back to that era.

    I must be missing something or not paying attention. I have never embellished a piece of turned wood, and probably never will, and I have never felt intimidated by those who do, nor looked down on because I don't.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2008
  11. Barbara Gill

    Barbara Gill

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    So very well said and I really think your message reflects the feelings of the majority of us.
    I didn't copy all of John's post but it is worth reading several times.
     
  12. Barbara Gill

    Barbara Gill

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    Also well said (I didn't know how to combine quotes). I think that most of us are not intimidated by viewing work better than ours. Quite frankly if someone is discouraged by reading a magazine full of marvelous turnings and challenging projects, maybe they should find another hobby. Also I think beginners who really like turning will find projects without being spoon fed.
     
  13. John Abt

    John Abt

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    As a relatively new turner, I want to thank John Jordan and Russ Fairfield for their words. I found them very encouraging. This was the first time I submitted anything to the IG and was very apprehensive about doing so.

    I realize that I may never be as good as most of the other turners in the gallery. Heck, I'm still thrilled when my bowl has a bottom.:)


    I joined the AAW to help me develop my skills as a hobby. I don't want to be a professional simply because I want to do this on my own schedule and not need to do marketing and the other things professionals have to do. I just want to enjoy myself.

    So, once again, thanks to John and Russ for their words and thanks to everyone that has helped me learn over these past two+ years.
     
  14. C Edward Moore

    C Edward Moore

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    If Newbies could just read!

    John (Jordan),

    Thank you for taking the time to put things in perspective. I feel however that you have attributed some things to me that were definitely not said by me. I have quite clearly said that I like embellishment - I referred specifically to the work of Stephen Hatcher as an example. So I did not say that embellishment is not welcome nor is it inappropriate. Nor did I say that any work, other than offensive work and political diatribes, should not be displayed. I did indicate that those who wish to exercise their right to free speech should do so on a wall outside of the IG.

    At no time did I say that any Board member should or should not be elected or re-elected. I personally was "given an attitude" and treated rudely by a Board member. A simple "Sorry Ed, there's nothing that can be done now.", would have sufficed, but I was given a rude answer. I specifically gave praise to Board member Al Hockenbery, who encouraged me to go forward with the Boxmakers SIN. I am told that we had at least 123 in attendance. Follow-up comments from panelists and attendees suggest that it was worthwhile.

    At no point did I denigrate any work. I DID indicate that the wrong work of the artist was selected for an award over his own better work. I did say that it is about woodturning and that the AAW should be about work that has been turned at some point. I specifically applauded the work of Ed Kelle, which was a piece that was turned and then carved to resemble coral. That piece was certainly embellished.

    When opinions are involved it is always dangerous to extrapolate and assume things outside of what has been stated, when in fact these things may not be true. In this case, evidence shows that they are not true.

    I did comment on N OO B posts. :D

    Shoot me for what I said, but not for what I didn't say. :D
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2008
  15. John Jordan

    John Jordan AAW Advisor

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    John,

    If you have sweated over it, then it ought to be out there for all to see. It encourages others to do the same. Mean spirited comments etc. are very rare in my experience.

    Just by putting it out there, you're way ahead of a lot of people -those who didn't.:)

    John
     
  16. John Jordan

    John Jordan AAW Advisor

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    I was replying to the tone of the thread, which I find to be extremely negative and opinionated. I didn't reply to you specifically, but I can, and didn't say anything about electing (or not) board members. You DID assert that 20% of AAW "looks down on" the other 80%. You then constructed a straw man-the AUA, and railed against all the things they are doing to the detriment of AAW. Who are these people? IS there a list? How do I join? Names, please. I am an active charter member, have been to many chapters around the country, and I find these assertions preposterous.

    I've bitched to the board plenty over the years (just ask them), but don't publicly do it. Instead of just complain, I joined and put a few years into the POP committee. There are opportunities to help for those that are so inclined.

    Obviously there are people that disagree that the "wrong" pieces were picked. If you had picked, or any of us had picked, it would be different. Thats how it works. So what? None of us has lost anything because of the judge's choices, and some folks got some nice recognition.

    As regards the piece that caused so much stir, much has been said about the "message". I find it curious that no one talked about the actual piece. It was not a particularly good piece, IMO, so I was not really interested in reading it, or about it. As my friend Clay Foster says, "A strong message requires strong work"

    Walk on by is an option.

    John- likely to remain a NOOB
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2008
  17. C Edward Moore

    C Edward Moore

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    John,

    Again you have misquoted/misinterpreted me. I said:
    "I have a pessimistic view of the future for woodturning and I predict the decline of the AAW. As the old geezers, myself included, die off the lack of shop in high school is generating a population that will not look to woodturning for recreation nor as a vocation. I can't predict when the decline will start but it can't be more than ten or fifteen years from now. Efforts to make AAW membership mandatory for all members of new clubs was apparently roundly booed by chapter representatives at the chapter meeting. This high-handed approach will not improve things. The AAW is riding the crest now, but the wave is coming ashore."

    I have predicted that the demographics will probably cause a decline in our numbers, but NOWHERE have I said that anyone will leave in a mass exodus, except due to natural causes as we age. I did suggest that we can't make rules and expect people to join. Implicitly I am suggesting that we must make people WANT to join and I don't think that we are going about it in a way which will lead to success.

    Shoot me for what I said, but not for what I didn't say. :D
     
  18. n7bsn

    n7bsn

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    Sorry John, you've passed NOOB, and I doubt anyone would mistake you for a NOOB anyplace.

    TTFN
    Ralph
     
  19. Harvey Mushman

    Harvey Mushman

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    My thoughts exactly! When a photo was finally posted of the work in question, I thought that it should have been firewood! Political message aside, if this would have been juried exhibit, this piece would not have come close to being included. Personally, I didn't care for this particular piece nor its politically charged statements.

    Now, look at all the fuss it has caused. It is like watching a train wreck. Whether you simply turn your work in a traditional fashion or embellish it in any way, it is still turning. Would a painter like to be limited to only a few colors of paint on his pallette?

    C'mon guys! Don't turn this into a Grumpy Old Men's Club!!!!!!
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2008
  20. Bill Grumbine

    Bill Grumbine

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    Hey, how did John get his thingie changed from NOOB to member!?! I had to post my way out of ignominy, and at some expense to my dignity from other members. :p Besides, how do we know it's really John Jordan? It might be another John Smith. :eek: :D
     

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