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2017 Turning to the Future Competition
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View/download/print Contest Rules and Information


Turning to the Future is sponsored by the American Association of Woodturners. The AAW’s youth programming  is intended to encourage and support students and instructors in reaching for and attaining the highest levels of skill in the use of the lathe. The contest is open to students in North America. There is no entry fee.




  • All high school students
  • Full-time, degree, diploma or certificate-seeking post-secondary students students, in an accredited woodworking, woodturning, art, or design  program (Post secondary schools include colleges and universities as well as trade, art and art schools.)
  • Part-time,degree or certificate seeking students who are transitioning into a career in woodworking or design.
  • Students must be at least 16 years of age by July 19, 2017.
  • All students, including those who have graduated, must have the support of their instructor and school where the work was completed.
  • Students who make their living (or substantial income) from woodworking careers are not eligible.



  • Entries are restricted to two (2) per student.
  • Project must have been built between May 2015 and April 2017.
  • All forms of turning are eligible, including but not limited to  traditional, multi-axis, segmented, and rose engine/ornamental.
  • Work must be no larger than 20” in diameter and 40” in height.
  • Project construction must be complete at the time of entry. The project may be lacking the finish coating, but student must specify in entry questions what finishing processed will be used. If selected as a finalist, the project must be completely finished before sending to the AWFS®Fair.
  • Students must disclose if they have used manufactured parts or if they have involved any other persons or companies in their process.
  • A student may submit a maximum of two (2) projects, but must complete a separate submission for each project.



The competition is divided between High School and Post-Secondary levels. The entry categories are as follows:

  • Functional - work created for use
  • Small Turnings - pens, small treen items, toys, small boxes, etc.
  • Open - creative, decorative, or conceptual pieces not meant for use



Judging is done by professional woodturners with extensive experience in the entry category they are evaluating.  All entries are reviewed by the judges prior to the AWFS®Fair to determine the finalists to be exhibited at the show.  Judges reserve the right to reassign an entry to a different category if they deem it appropriate.

The Judging Process:

  1. Judges receive anonymous online submission consisting of images and the students' responses to the online questions.
  2. Judges score projects on a scale of 1-5 for each of the 5 criteria listed below.
  3. Scores are tallied and projects with the highest scores within their category are selected as finalists.
  4. Finalist projects are further evaluated in person by AAW curator Tib Shaw and Program Director Linda Ferber at the AWFS® Fair. Winners are selected by the judges in consultation with onsite staff.
  5. Scores are tallied and projects with the highest scores within their category may be selected as winners as agreed upon by the judging panel.


Judging Criteria:

  1. Design innovation on original pieces; or quality of execution of a known style or variation.
  2. Craftsmanship of the piece including  quality of turning and construction, material choice and use, detailing, sanding quality, finishing quality.
  3. Functionality (if object is meant to be used)
  4. Appropriateness of the technique and design to the purpose of the object
  5. Aesthetics, scale, proportion, balance, rhythm, emphasis and unity.

**One additional point will be given during final judging if you include step-by-step documentation of your project. This can be uploaded as a PDF and will be displayed at the AWFS® Fair if your piece is selected.


High school and post secondary school entries are judged and awarded separately.

  • First Place (Per Category) $500
  • Second Place (Per Category) $100
  • Best of Show (one high school and one post-secondary) Midi-lathe
  • People’s Choice (selected by AWFS Fair attendees and exhibitors) $200
  • Judges reserve the right to skip an award level in any category if they so choose.

All finalists will receive a certificate of merit and are eligible to participate in the purchase guide and resume book for review by industry on-site.

Entry Instructions

Review entry steps below now to prepare for your entry. Registration period is March 1-May 1, 2017.


Schools/instructors must complete the Online School Registration Form before student entries will be accepted. Instructors may download/print the Contest Rules and Information (click here) for student distribution and Fresh Wood/Turning to the Future poster (click here).


Students must register online between March 1 and May 1, 2017. To be reminded when entry form is available, click here.


Create a User Profile. After a User Profile is created, log back into the Artcall website. Once you are logged in, click on the Add New Submission button. Here you will choose either High School or Post Secondary from the category drop-down menu. Next choose either Functional, Open or Small Turnings category from the Sub-Category drop-down menu. Type in the  name of your project in the title section. Type in the dimensions of your project in inches.


Students must answer the online questions. Do NOT include your name, your school’s name, your location, or any other information that may identify you, your teacher, or your woodworking program when  answering the online questions. (NOTE: We recommend typing your answers in Microsoft Word first, then copying  and pasting your answers into the online form.)

The questions are as follows:

  • What is your inspiration for this piece? (If the piece is a reproduction, explain whether your intent was to make an authentic reproduction or if you have intentionally changed some details.)
  • What are your project goals?  Did you use a unique process, design element, or construction method?
  • Did you experience any design, turning, or construction challenges? How did you solve them?
  • What type of wood(s) or material(s)did you use? Why? What type of finish did you use? (or intend to use if finish coat is not yet applied at time of entry)
  • Did you use of any special equipment, design software, jigs, or hardware? Were any of these new to you?
  • List any manufactured parts that were used, if any, or if and how any other persons or companies were involved in the process. This must be disclosed.

Photos: Upload four (4) photos of the completed project using the Add Attachment button on the Add Entry Attachments page of the submission. Three (3) from different views plus one (1) detail shot. Upload these photos as JPEG files. Note: Preliminary review by judges is heavily reliant on the photos. It is to your advantage to submit the best quality possible. (Many students hire a professional photographer or employ the services of their advisor or the photography department at their school for this task.)


Construction Photos/Documentation: Upload at least one (1) additional image showing the project during turning, or project plans, drawings, or working sketches. (Judges will not score based on the quality of construction documentation, but will use them as reference). If submitting photos, crop or remove people from the images.


View/download/print the Fresh Wood Student Release Form 2017
You, your parent or guardian (if you are under 18) and your instructor must sign this form to enter this contest. After you get all of the signatures, scan the Release Form and upload it as a JPEG or PDF on the Add Entry Attachments page.  

NOTE: You should have six (6) total attachments in your submission.


Only complete submissions will be accepted.  You may edit your answers and/or submission photos and documents at any time until the May 1, 2017 deadline. After the deadline no submissions or changes will be permitted.



May 1, 2017: Application Deadline
May 19, 2017: Finalists notified


June 7, 2017: Deadline for shipping work to Las Vegas Convention Center
July 17, 2017: Day to personally deliver furniture to Las Vegas Convention Center
July 18, 2017: Final on-site judging
July19-22, 2017: AWFS®Fair; Finalists’ projects on display during the Fair, winners selected and announced



Tib Shaw, tib@woodturner.org, 651-484-9094 or Linda Ferber, linda@woodturner.org, 651-444-1201

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