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Woodturning News: General News

PRESS RELEASE: Gigantic woodturning symposium to hit Pittsburgh June 25-28

Friday, June 19, 2015  
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Community invited to browse exhibitions, galleries, auctions, and tradeshow - admission is free.

(SAINT PAUL, Minn. – June 19) - The American Association of Woodturners (AAW), a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to advancing the art and craft of woodturning worldwide, will host its 29th Annual International Symposium, June  25-28, 2015, at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh.

The conference will bring together more than more than 1,200 turners from around the globe to learn, share and celebrate the art and craft of woodturning making it the largest woodturning event in the world.

Headlining the public events will be exhibitions and benefit auctions of exquisite sculptural and functional works in wood. Additionally, the community is invited to browse the huge trade show which features ongoing woodturning demonstrations and an Instant Gallery of attendee turned art. A schedule and descriptions of public events follow.


Open to the public, free admission


Visitors may peruse spectacular contemporary sculptural and functional works in wood by established and emerging artists from ten countries.

  • Opening reception: Thursday, June 25,  5:30-7:30 p.m. in rooms 301-303
  • Friday, June 26, 9:10 a.m.- 6:30 p.m. in rooms 301-303
  • Saturday, June 27, 9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. in rooms 301-303

Reflecting the confluence of a 3,000-year-old craft and modern approaches to design, narrative, and material, our 2015 exhibition, “Merging,” honors both the meeting point of Pittsburgh’s waterways and the essence of the AAW international symposium – a venue where turners of all levels and approaches meet. The exhibition, including both invited and juried artists, reflects the wide range of ideas, techniques, and approaches being developed by both our amateur and professional members. This year’s jurors were Stephen Keeble, former president of the Collectors of Wood Art; Michael McMillan, assistant curator, Fuller Craft Museum; and Derek Weidman, professional artist. There are two awards presented as part of this exhibition – the Masters’ Choice and the People’s Choice.

Creativity in Construction – A Collaboration of Materials
At its most straightforward, “a collaboration of materials” means using more than one material, but the definition also includes applied surface materials or unique combinations of a single base material. The theme, suggested by sculptor and former American Woodturner editor Betty Scarpino, provides a leaping off point for the 30+ participating artists, some of whom pushed their capabilities into new areas with unfamiliar materials or techniques.

Since 2007, AAW’s Professional Outreach Program (POP) has sponsored invitational exhibitions of small scale works. The annual show brings together works by professional studio turners from many countries. For 2015, the POP Committee opened its traditionally invitation-only annual exhibition to a limited number of juried pieces. Jurors for this exhibition were Kate Lydon, Center for Contemporary Craft, Pittsburgh; Rachel Delphia, The Alan G. and Jane A. Lehman Curator of Decorative Arts and Design at the Carnegie Art Museum, Pittsburgh; and Steve Loar, Director, Center for Turning and Furniture Design, Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Jacques Vesery: 2015 POP Merit Award

The exquisitely carved and painted trompe l’oeil work of Jacques Vesery is unmistakable, despite subject matter as disparate as baseballs and nautilus shells. The layered colors, small scale, and realistic detail entice viewers into a world seemingly inspired by nature and geometry, but with surprising shifts that are entirely the artist’s own invention. The POP Merit Award recognizes Jacques’ significant and enduring place as an artist in the woodturning field and his many contributions as a teacher, mentor, and leader both within the AAW and beyond. The POP Merit Award is given to an artist whose body of work and career have contributed significantly to the growth of woodturning as an art form. Previous recipients have been David Ellsworth, Clay Foster, Giles Gilson, Stephen Hogbin, Mark Lindquist, Richard Raffan, and Merryll Saylan.

Steve Loar “Then and Now”
Guest Artist - Educator, author, and artist Steve Loar uses themes and narratives – often drawn from popular rock songs – to guide him in creating evocative, layered compositions. “Then and Now” includes early and very fresh works, all reflecting Steve’s impeccable attention to story, detail, craftsmanship, and mastery of the fully-round composition. His collaborations with cast-off components from noted artists in the field bring an added dimension to the exhibition for the informed woodworker. Steve is the director of the Center for Turning and Furniture Design at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and is a working professional artist.



Guests may bid on museum-quality works in wood. Auction proceeds support the AAW’s grant, outreach, and educational woodturning programs. Preview live/online auction work and learn about charitable causes at http://tiny.cc/2015AAWAuctionCatalog.

Live & Online Benefit Auctions

  • EOG Live Auction
    Friday, June 26 - 7:30 p.m. to 9:15 p.m. EST, 3rd Floor Ballroom

  • POP Creativity in Construction Auction
    Saturday, June 27 - 3:15 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. EST, Rooms 301-303

  • Simultaneous Online Auctions
    Preview auction work, register and bid online at http://www.auction2015.woodturner.org  

  • Silent Benefit Auction
    Friday, June 26 - Opens 8:40 a.m. EST - Instant Gallery, Hall E
    Saturday, June 27 - Closes 8:30 p.m. EST - 3rd Floor Ballroom



Guests may observe ongoing woodturning demonstrations and browse state-of-the-art woodturning products, supplies, and more.

  • Friday, June 26 - 10:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. EST – Hall D
  • Saturday, June 27 - 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. EST – Hall D



Browse AAW's Instant Gallery-the largest display of turned wood objects under one roof! The open member show features more than 1,000 art works and crafts in wood by woodturners who attending the symposium. Many of the works are for sale. Buy handcrafted woodturned bowls for only $25, or pens for $15, to raise money for Variety the Children’s Charity of Pittsburgh. View the display of wooden boxes made and donated by AAW members for children coping with serious illness through the nonprofit Beads of Courage program.

  • Friday, June 26 - 8:40 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. EST – Hall E
  • Saturday, June 27 - 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. EST – Hall E



The American Association of Woodturners (AAW) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, headquartered in Saint Paul, Minnesota, dedicated to advancing the art and craft of woodturning worldwide by offering opportunities for education, information, inspiration, and community to those interested in turning wood. Established in 1986, AAW currently has more than 15,000 members and a network of over 350 local chapters globally representing professionals, amateurs, artists, hobbyists, gallery owners, collectors, and others. The AAW possesses the single largest collection of woodturning information anywhere and its journal, American Woodturner, is the foremost publication on the art and craft of woodturning in the world. To learn more, visit woodturner.org.


Woodturning is a unique form of woodworking that dates back to ancient Egypt. Historically, the woodturning process has involved a lathe, which is a device that holds and spins wood securely while it is shaped. Woodturning has traditionally been used to create functional objects like chair legs, candlesticks, and bowls. Today, lathe-turned work is also understood as an art form and vehicle for individual enrichment, creativity, and self-expression. It can be found in galleries and museums around the world. Pieces may be functional, ornamental, or even sculptural. With a modest learning curve, woodturning engages people from age 8 to 108, and the skills acquired last a lifetime.




Kim Rymer
Office 651-484-9094
Cell 612-267-7622 (During event)

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