27th annual AAW International Symposium

Monday 9 July 2018

It was a whirlwind trip to Tampa, Florida that saw me at this year's AAW Symposium, which took place from 28-30 June. I flew in on the Wednesday and flew back to the UK on the Monday. What a trip! This event gives you the chance to meet people, share ideas and see what people are making, and with the large trade show, there is something for everyone. The AAW Symposium is, to my knowledge, the largest event of its kind in the world. The rotation schedule is vast and there is something for everyone to choose from. The Instant Gallery is a must-see and there were two special exhibitions: 'Currents' and 'Harmony'. It is a delight to see how people interpret a given theme and to say the work was diverse in style and interpretation is an understatement. I also like the fact that the AAW were offering special souvenir show booklets of each themed exhibition.

A huge amount of work is done by the committee members and the army of volunteers at each Symposium and without them, these events do not happen. Such people are unsung heroes in my book, no matter what the event. Logistically such events are a nightmare and hopefully all we see is a smoothly run event for us to enjoy. In the background, however, no doubt there is plenty for them to do and keep on top of.

There is a banquet for people to attend if they choose and an auction of work, the proceeds of which go to the Educational Opportunity Grants (EOG). A quote form the AAW website says: “100% of the proceeds from donated pieces goes directly to members and chapters … many members use lathes purchased by local chapters utilising EOG funds, and hundreds of AAW members have received individual grants from EOG funds.” The total money awarded for 2014 will depend on this year's auction proceeds. The money raised from the auctions this year was £16,211.

There was much to see and so much to do in what is a very short amount of time. I know how people feel when attending with the mass of information overload and while I am suffering from jet lag at the time of writing this, I have an amazing visual record of what was there and who I met, which is a real treasure.

Next year's Symposium will be taking place in Phoenix, Arizona from 13-5 June, 2014. We will bring you further details in due course.