Turning Archive 2005

AAW and symposium

John Lucas
>Why am I a member or the American Association of Woodturners and why do I go to syposiums? I have been a member of the AAW since 1990. I joined because at the time this was one of the few sources of education for woodturning. It is still a good source of education. One of the reasons we have so many new lathes and catalogs and videos and books is the rise of the number of turners. I think the AAW was largely responsible for this. Back when I joined it was difficult to find lathes and tools. Now we have a huge number of souces. I say the AAW but what I really mean is all the wonderful members who voluntarily teach others and share this knowledge. Remember American Woodturner is written by turners like you and I.

Does the AAW cater to "artists". I don't think so. I went through the last 5 issues of American Woodturner. There are at least 2 articles for basic woodturners in each issue. There are article for the "artist" and articles for the turning historian. They are articles on helping your club grow and of course lots of great photos to entice you to turn more interesting pieces. The tips pages are great(but then I'm biased). The tips are written by people just like you and that's why they are so successful. I urge you to submit articles for the journal and be a supportive member of the AAW because it's people just like you who make this organization work.

Symposiums are hard for me to afford. I go because you meet so many wonderful people, you get to see new tools, lathes and techniques and you might even see something you want to try on your own turnings. You do get to meet the "art" types. These are wonderful people. You can't find a nicer person than Binh Pho, Jacques Vessery, Al Stirt, Bonnie Klein, the list goes on and on. These people sell work for Thousands and are truely the cream of the crop when it comes to promoting the art of woodturning and wood art collecting. They are so approachable and will answer the simplest question. What a breath of fresh air.

Obviously you don't need to be a member of the AAW or go to symposium but you are missing a lot. I met several of my best friends by using the AAW directory. I take it with me when I travel and just call people who live near where I'm staying. We get to share techniques and learn from each other.

Obviously this view isn't shared by everyone but I think the AAW is actively trying to represent all turners. If they aren't then tell them. They are listening.

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