Turning Archive 2006

Subject:
Handling work-kinda long

john lucas
>Steven Russell brings up a good point that I don't think we've ever discussed here. Handling other turners work and the public handling your work.

We all know instant galleries are great both locally and at symposiums. Everyone want's to handle the work. We probably should come up with a shared set of guidlines for this. I'll start the list

1st of course- ask the owner if possible. I know if I place something in an instant gallery I expect it to be handled unless I put a sign on it that says, Please don't touch. If it's in a turners home or some other place such as a gallery, ask the owner or leave it alone. I saw some people handle pieces at the AAW symposium that clearly had signs saying do not touch. One of them was the lace piece by Malcolm Zander. If you saw that piece you know how fragile it is. It had a sign saying do not touch. This thing was highly pierced, maybe 1/16" thick and clearly extremely fragile. I would have been nervous to pick it up if Malcolm had handed it to me, why in the world this guy thought he should be allowed to handle it was beyond me.

2nd. When you handle the work there are some guidlines that John Jordan taught us when handling his work at the local club meetings. Don't spin it on the table. This can scratch the bottom. If you must look at all sides, pick it up. If you pick it up try not to handle it any more than necessary. Remember, they may have spent many hours on the finish and really don't want grubby fingerprints all over it. If your hands are dirty, oily, or sweaty it would be best just to look and not touch. If it's reasonably thick put your fingers inside and rotate it with one hand underneath, that leaves the surface untouched.

3rd. Don't tap on the finish with your fingernail to see if it's tough or how thick the piece is. This will easily damage a softer finish.

I haven't done a lot of shows, certainly nothing like Stephen, Russ, Wally etc. I have done enough to know that people need to handle wood. I don't know whether it's something in our genes or what, but if you want to sell wood, get it in thier hands. People will buy some things untouched (probably in high end galleries) but at craft shows you will increase your sales if you can get it in thier hands. That's just been my experience, I look forward to hearing from other.

Even in this situation it would be great if we had more control. Pick up the piece and hand it to the customer. A lot of people handle my work to see how light or how fragile it feels. I hand it too them and say it's tougher than it looks but it can still be brocken if improperlly handled or dropped. They usually handle it quite carefully when I say this.

A booth needs to be a friendly place where people can walk up to each piece and look. It's hard to control traffic in this case so you simply put the fragile pieces up high away from kids or keep them close to the area you stand it. For really fragile pieces I put up a sign that says Fragile, Please ask the artist before handling, Thank you.

Ok give us your recommendations.

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