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St. Paul Gathering

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Jul 24, 2008
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Montfort, Wisconsin
Being a new member of the AAW I'm wondering about going to the gathering in St. Paul this June.

I wonder if some of you more experienced turners would help me decide?

How would I benefit from attending? I'm estimating it would cost about $1,000 and wonder if my money would be better spent at a specific workshop with a master turner?

Thanks,

Dave F.
 

john lucas

AAW Forum Expert
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Wow that's tough. I suppose it would depend on your goals. Going to the AAW sympsium is mind blowing. You see so much fantastic work and you get so excited and enthused you can't wait to get home and try some of the things. You get to see all the latest equipment and there are usually some good deals on tools. Not to mention lot's of wood. It's also easy to ask the experts selling the tools questions that might help you out.
No matter how experienced you are you will learn something at the demos. The only downside is it can be fairly crowded and it's also hard to make decisions on who to see there are so many good choices.
However if your fairly new to turning you will learn so much from a good instructor that will make turning more fun and easier. there's nothing like spending a whole week at one of the Craft Schools like John C Campbell, Arrowmont, The Appalachian Center for Crafts, and more.
 
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If you're not careful, you could spend another $1000 for tools! I think everyone should go at least once, but if you are a beginner, I say spend your money somewhere else. The symposium will be overwhelming. The demos in the rooms will be standing room only. You will most probably only see the demo on the screen/tv they have in the room. You might get a question answered in there, but not likely. The vendor room is the best learning place. The experienced will be demoing in the there, and you can get pretty close. If you go in there during a rotation, there might only be 3 or 4 around that vendor demo. Then you get the info. The resturants will also be packed. Can you tell I don't like big crowds? I say your best education is at your local AAW Chapter in their mentor program. Next is an intensive course, third is a regional symposium. At the regional symposiums, there might be 50 in a room versus 150 at the national. I've been doing this since before local chapters and made my greatest learning discoveries at the old St. Louis Symposiums. The local chapters are the way to learn quickly now.
 

Bill Boehme

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Being a new member of the AAW I'm wondering about going to the gathering in St. Paul this June.

I wonder if some of you more experienced turners would help me decide?

How would I benefit from attending? I'm estimating it would cost about $1,000 and wonder if my money would be better spent at a specific workshop with a master turner?

Thanks,

Dave F.

Dave,

It depends on your level of experience on which would be the most beneficial. The symposium is like a candy store with its great variety of things. There are all sorts of programs and demonstrations plus vendors selling everything in the realm of woodturning.

However, it really won't help you to develop your turning skills if you are a beginner the way that personal instruction can. Many woodturning clubs host classes with nationally recognized turners for several days of hands-on instruction. The club that I belong to does this at least once per year. If you do not live close to a woodturning club, then consider John's suggestion at one of the arts and craft schools.
 
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Jan 19, 2007
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dave,

you don't say how long you have been a turner, or if you have been to any of the smaller (read less expensive) symposiums.

that said, if I had made a national symposium my first i feel i would have missed alot due to not understanding. I feel that if you don't have a good working understanding of basics, then pass on this one and spend the money on quality instuction.

if you do have the basics down, its an experience that should not be missed.

i have been turning for 7 years and went to my first regional symposium two years after starting turning. if it wasn't for a friend guiding me thru a few things. I would have been lost. Now i'm the one being the guide.

IAN
 
Joined
Apr 20, 2006
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Erie, PA
Dave,
If I were you I would not miss this event. Even if you came just for the instant gallery and the vendors area it would be worth your time. Not to mention seeing and meeting the biggest amount of turners in one place at one time. Yes some of the rotations will be standing room only but the way that the demo is projected on screens allows all to get a good view. The line up of demonstrators for this event is awesome. I believe that no matter where you are in your turning career that you will benefit from this event.
Bill
 

John Jordan

AAW Advisor
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Jun 24, 2008
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Cane Ridge (Nashville), TN
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It's the 25th Anniversary, and there was an effort to get as many of the Honorary Lifetime members, and early members, as demonstrators and panelists. Might be the last chance to see some of these folks.

You can talk to nearly anyone and ask questions, just catch them outside the demo.

John
 
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Sep 24, 2009
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Astoria, Oregon
Hi Dave,

The Albuquerque symposium was my first, local or national, and I came away from it with so much very usefull information, and a few tools that I still use (I was careful not to purchase much). I went in to it not knowing the rotations ahead of time, and blew opportunities that I regret to this day. Study the rotations and make hard decisions as to whom you want to see...the link is already posted on the website. I made many very valuable contacts there, and even more in Hartford, where I was very prepared for the rotation schedule. I have also attended the last two Florida symposiums, which have also been very helpful with my work. Yes, it is an expensive proposition, but I got out of it information and networking that was much more valuable to my career than I had ever imagined. Hope to see you there!

Smiles,
Rick
 
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Jan 20, 2006
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virginia
Dave,

you did not post where you are located

this year national symposium is in st paul, next year in california, year after in atlanta...... i am in virginia, i am going because of the 25th thing, i believe it is worth it, next one i am considering is atlanta, 8 hrs drive, i have to fly to st paul.....if you are scared you will miss something at st paul, i believe you are right....if you do go, understand you can not see everthing, just enjoy your time :D
 
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Mar 20, 2011
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Paragould, AR
Dave,
I too am a new member, and as luck would have it I learned of the TN symposium just in time to attend. The demos are so incredibly full of information, even when seen from the back of the room. :D I am happy with my choice to go. And because of the 25th anniversary, I am making plans to attend in MN, as are a few others from my chapter. I'm putting a workshop on my list for later this year, hopefully can find something close, if not, early next year. :) Not sure this is a helpful answer, but pretty sure you can choose either and be very happy.
 
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Aug 5, 2010
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Dallas, TX
Symposium Locations.

Dave,

this year national symposium is in st paul, next year in california, year after in atlanta...... i am in virginia, i am going because of the 25th thing, i believe it is worth it, next one i am considering is atlanta, 8 hrs drive,
Is Atlanta as far as they are scheduled out? Minnesota is too far north, California is too far West and Atlanta is too far East, They are getting closer. Looks like maybe 2014 will be just about right.

I feel like a bald Goldie Locks. :)
 
Joined
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virginia
look here, Cliff

http://www.woodturner.org/sym/all_symposia.htm

i have heard rumors, and if you look at map, it makes sense that something near you is in the works for 2014 - 2016 :D

your regional symposium are spoken highly of, something called SWAT, i believe they rotate around Texas, also i have heard of something to the west of you called the Roundup
 
Joined
Jun 28, 2010
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Hawi, Hawaii
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www.kellydunnwoodturner.com
You have been given great advice. Now how do you decide what to do? When I was pretty green I attended a symposium in a place called Provo Utah. Maybe 100 to 150 people were there. Knocked my newbie socks off.
But answer this to yourself. What would you like to learn? Have you zeroed in on a style that you want to pursue? If you have a solid answer to both of those pick the teacher who best teaches that and go for a class. If you are still searching go to the symposium. I can tell you to be prepared for mental overload. But my words wont mean squat till it happens. Then you will truly know what turners mental overload is. If you go please take a notebook to classes. They now do a kind of book. But when you hear or see an Ah Hah moment, if you dont write it down its gone. there is that much going on. Good luck with your choice. Oh? Is it worth the grand? Yes it is.
 
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