Turning Archive 2005

Louisville, Part 2

Keith Tompkins
>In response to Jim Shaver's comments on the last thread, I started a new thread. I'll paraphrase Jim's questions: If you attended a national symposium, what subjects would you like to see. Why?

Here's my take.....as noted, the demonstrations usually involve surface treatments, segmenting, carving, or other topics not neccessarily related to turning. I think part of this is due to the fact that prominent turners will draw a big crowd. The audience wants the demonstrator to show the techniques that brought them to the "top tier" in the first place.

My problem with this is: 1. Learning lots of techniques is always a good way to expand one's horizons, but they do NOT deal with a turner's underlying problems. As a result, we see lots of poorly executed forms that are scorched, textured, pierced, etc. A closer look may reveal torn grain, sanding marks, and little regard to form.(this does not apply to anyone on this site, just a personal observation)

2. I feel that applying many of these techniques to your work could be considered "derivative", stemming from someone else's ideas. Not a big deal, unless you are attempting to develop your own style. I have been asked why my forms are not pierced, for example. Simple...Why should I pierce a particular piece? Just because it's a popular thing to do? Just because turner "X" does? I see lots of pierced pieces, and in many cases, it detracts rather than adds to the overall effect. Kinda like being in a Beatles "cover" band; no matter how good you are, it doesn't really matter.....it's already been done.

This is why I started doing the form and design demos in the first place....as a way of developing design skills AND technical skill together. If a turner has a good foundation in both, they will progress at a much faster rate. On the other hand, if one set of skills is weak, its often a long, slow progression.

That is why I like "pure" forms, even though I tend to make elaborate pieces. Stripped of all of the fancy techniques, the form remains. A piece should succeed or fail based on the form.

What demos would I like to attend? Threading....lots of fun. Photography....you've seen my photos. ... Promoting your work...maybe I should GIVE that one. LOL!

Last,Jim asked: should AAW members have a say in who gives the demos, and the topics covered ? Ultimately, we probably do....a bad evaluation pretty much takes care of that....Your thoughts?

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