Feature Mondays – 2015 Utah and AAW Woodturning Symposiums

Monday 9 July 2018

I was fortunate enough to be able to visit two symposiums recently: the Utah Woodturning Symposium and the AAW's 29th Annual International Symposium. There are many reasons why people attend such events. Many think the demonstrations are important, but when talking to people, the fact that they can meet up with friends and get the chance to talk to those who they would not normally get to talk to is high on their list. Of course, the instant gallery display, the gala dinner and awards event, the ability to meet manufacturers and retailers, see new things and so much more, are reasons and each attendee knows what's important to them. There's no doubt that these two events are thriving and providing top-quality symposiums for people to attend. I have to comment that from an outsider looking in, organisationally, I think both do a fantastic job and the end result is a credit to all involved. I know they are a logistical nightmare to bring together.

Utah Woodturning Symposium

The Utah Symposium has the honour of being the oldest of any such events, and according to many people I have spoken to over the years, has a family-type feel to it where all are welcomed. The numbers attending are up to about 400 or so and at the gala dinner, I noted that many of the attendees have been to multiple events and some, all of them. Their event is held at the Utah Valley University Campus every year. In one of the many conversations I had, I heard someone comment that they wouldn’t miss the chance to attend because it was so much fun.

Utah Woodturning Symposium demonstrators

Alan Trout – USA

Art Liestman – Canada

Art Majerus – USA

Ashley Harwood – USA

Brent Ross – USA

Cindy Drozda – USA

Cindy Navarro – USA

Eric Lofstrom – USA

Guilio Marcolongo – Australia

Jay Brown – USA

Jason Breach – UK

Jason Schneider – USA

Jim Rogers – USA

Kip Christensen – USA

Kirk DeHeer – USA

Kurt Hertzog – USA

Mark Elmer – USA

Michael Blankenship – USA

Neil Turner – Australia

Rex Burningham – USA

Sally Ault – USA

Sam Angelo – USA

Mike Jackofsky – USA

Stan Record – USA

Special events

Instant Gallery

Banquet Dinner

Live Auction

Silent Auction

Vendor Showcase

Youth Hands-on Turning

Penturner's Rendezvous

Super Wednesday

Swap Meet

The Great Egg Cup Race

AAW 29th Annual International Symposium

The AAW has the honour of being the largest such event in the world and moves around the USA, and this year, it was held in Pittsburgh. It is a very friendly event but with over 1,500 people attending, you can see that this event, as one person said, is “a symposium on steroids.” The person who told me this said it was his first time at this symposium and was blown away by what was available for people to see, attend and be part of. He commented that never had he seen such a variety of work on display or seen so many turners together at one event. I have selected a few of the pieces that caught my eye here, but there were so many more! Jeffrey J. Schnell has some links to the photos he took of the items on display at the symposium and they are well worth a look.

Main demonstrators

Alain Mailland – France

Ashley Harwood – USA

Avelino Samuel – Virgin Islands

Barbara Dill – USA

Cindy Drozda – USA

Christian Burchard – USA

Craig Kirks – USA

David Ellsworth – USA

Dick Gerard – USA

Hubert Landri – France

Jack Brown – USA

Jacques Vesery – USA

Janice Levi – USA

Jason Clark – USA

Jason Swanson – USA

Jerry Bennett – USA

Jerry Kermode – USA

Joey Richardson – UK

JoHannes Michelsen – USA

Kip Christensen – USA

Lyle Jamieson – USA

Mark St. Leger – USA

Michael Brolly – USA

Molly Winton – USA

Neil Turner – Australia

Nick Cook – USA

Pascal Oudet – France

Richard Angus – USA

Stephen Hatcher – USA

Steven Kennard – Canada

Stuart Batty – USA

Ted Sokolowski – USA

Tim Yoder – USA

Panel discussions & lectures

Artist Show Case – How We Got There: Malcolm Zander, Helga Winter & Kristin LeVier

Chasing Professionalism: David Ellsworth & Jerry Kermode

How to Critique, Evolve and Learn from the Experience: Jacques Vesery

Signature, Branding and Marketing: Derek Weidman, Ashley Harwood & Cynthia Gibson

Significant Moments in Contemporary Woodturning: Steve Loar

What is Art Anyway? Jacques Vesery & Sharon Doughtie

Assumptions in Woodturning: Betty Scarpino, Dixie Biggs, Sharon Doughtie & Steve Loar

Woodturning with Disabilities: Andi Sullivan, Jeff Bennett, Bill Hayes & Dave Hinkelman

Diversity in Wood Art: Going Beyond Boundaries: John Beaver, Jeff Bernstein, Andy DiPietro & David Ellsworth

Iterations of Work – POP lecture: Sharon Doughtie

Iterations of Work – panel discussion: Sharon Doughtie & Betty Scarpino

Ornamental turning demos

Brad Davis

Charles Waggoner

David Window

Gary Miller

John Calver

Jon Spencer

Roy Lindley


Andi Sullivan

Barry Gross

Betty Scarpino

Binh Pho

Bob Behneke

Dixie Biggs

Helga Winter

Ken Nelson

Kristin LeVier

Larry Miller

Malcolm Zander

Sharon Doughtie

Steve Cook

Steve Loar

ReTURN to the Community

Empty Bowls: AAW members donate bowls, which are sold to raise money for a local non-profit. Large or small, each bowl costs only $25 and 100% of the proceeds benefit a local charity. This year, the proceeds went to Variety, the Children's Charity of Pittsburgh. Variety provides children with disabilities with adaptive and assistive technologies to allow them to gain the freedom to be as active, involved, accepted, and independent as possible.

Beads of Courage: AAW members donate handmade boxes to this nonprofit cause, which provides innovative, arts-in-medicine supportive care programmes to transform the treatment experience for children coping with serious illness. Through the Beads of Courage, children receive a unique bead to represent each procedure or treatment. For example, a red bead for each blood transfusion, a yellow bead for each night in the hospital, a star bead for surgery or a white bead for chemotherapy. Their collection of beads becomes a tangible record of their journey. Each woodturned box will be used to hold a sick child's precious beads.