Utah Woodturning Symposium
Thursday 14 August 2008
Mark Baker reports from the Utah Woodturning Symposium
The Utah Woodturning Symposium has gained a superb reputation as a quality, well-run and friendly event. This is due, I think, to Kip Christensen, Dale Nish (who started the event off) and Craft Supplies USA who have developed the event over 25 years to be more like an event for friends - and those friends are called woodturners - who share a like mind for learning, having fun and sharing experiences. So, in my mind this attitude means that the event is like a once yearly club where everyone is welcome.
At the opening ceremony Kip asks the question of the audience how many have been to every one. There are many who have so it must be good. I also like the fact that there are those that come for the first time and are immediately made to feel welcome as automatic members of the worldwide woodturning club. I think everyone involved should be justly proud that their efforts bear such fruit.
There is no trade show at this event. There is a special event the day before put on by Craft Supplies USA called Super Wednesday. Bargains galore are on offer in a special area and it is like bees to a honey pot. The hustle and bustle in there is intense for a few hours as people pore over the goodies. I partook of this and had great fun. I would have bought more were it not for the ever-restrictive airline baggage allowances.
The event runs from Thursday to Saturday and is held at the Brigham Young University. The venue is excellent, seating is tiered so you can see everything, there are also two screens relaying the close-up detail at any one time. The camera crews do a sterling job. The fact that they are turners helps, as they know what to look for when working.
There were 22 demonstrators in all from around the world, which meant that there was a diverse mix of subjects covered so there was something for everyone. I always get a lot from these seeing these techniques and hints - how that person works is always fun and sometimes challenging.
One of the parts of any symposia that always takes my breath away is the gallery. The gallery here was everything I expected and more. Someone quipped I was like a kid in a candy store. What you see in this article is a selection of images from the event that I hope you will enjoy. While this is just a small selection, more will feature in upcoming editions of Woodturning.