Back from the Provo symposium


Mark Baker

Friday, May 31, 2013

My two weeks holiday was hectic to say the least. The Provo symposium was an absolute blast. As with all such events and trips there was so much to see and so much to do. Apparently, this 34th Provo symposium had one of the largest attendee rates on record. The instant gallery was a real treat. There was a display of attendee and demonstrator’s work as well as a special exhibit of some of the work in Dale Nish’s private collection. Not only a visual feast but an historical one, too. A feature on the symposium will appear in issue 257.

Dale"s passing on Saturday 25 May was a complete shock to everyone. My thoughts are with his family and friends at this time. I was still in Utah and stayed with Dale and his wife Sharon during my trip. The turning world has certainly lost a great ambassador. His passion for turning was such that he started off the Provo symposium so people could come and share and learn from each other, and this year"s seminar was the 34th. I believe this is the longest running turning symposium in the world.

Dale was a person who loved seeing what people were making and loved meeting new turners. He had, over the years, bought many turnings from many turners. I believe he lost count when he reached over 2,000 pieces. He said: “I never bought a piece of work I didn’t like and I really buy ‘people pieces’ to remember people by.” Dale was without doubt a people person and, as many people know, had a wickedly sharp and dry sense of humour. More than once he had me walk away from a conversation and about 20 minutes later I realised he had got me on something without me realising it. I always knew some comment or other was coming when he would drop his head, raise his eyebrows and look at me, or the person he was talking to, over the top of his glasses. That wit and impish sense of humour had me laughing so much that tears rolled down my eyes on many occasions. This is definitely something I remember Dale well for, but not only that, I also remember him for being a much valued and trusted friend who I know offered encouragement, support and sage words to many people and has done much to help thousands of turners over the years.


Images, from top to bottom:

1. A snapshot of some of the work on display at the 2013 Provo symposium

2. Dale in his workshop. He has collected some of the rarest woods with the most stunning figuring over the years - a real Alladin"s cave of wonders (PHOTOGRAPHS BY MARK BAKER)

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