Upstate N.Y. expo focused on education

The "Butterfly Table," by William McTiernan of Schenectady, N.Y., took first place in the showcase's non-professional tables and beds category.
Each year, the Northeastern Woodworkers Association, the largest woodworking guild in New York, presents its “Woodworkers Showcase,” an exposition of fine woodworking featuring hundreds of pieces of furniture, carvings, turnings, toys, miniatures and sports equipment by the region’s finest woodworkers.


The 2008 Showcase was the 18th annual event and was held April 5-6 at the spacious Saratoga Springs (N.Y.) City Center. The total volunteer effort takes between 275 and 300 people to put on the show.

“Our exhibitors are amateurs and professionals, and our organization has both amateurs and professionals in it,” says Ken Evans, 2008 showcase chair. “There were roughly 400 items exhibited this year. It’s an educational event, and it’s just for the viewing pleasure of the public; the items are not for sale.”

The event includes a woodworkers’ competition with awards, a special theme display, exhibits by guest organizations, experts available to answer woodworking questions, continuous free lectures and demonstrations, and special exhibits and sale of products by national and area businesses of interest to woodworkers.

“[Northeastern Woodworkers Association] started in the capitol district [Albany, Schenectady, Troy] around 1991 with people from General Electric and, from that, it grew into about 800 members now,” Evans says. “We have three chapters: one in the capitol district, we have one in the mid-Hudson district in Kingston, and we have another chapter in Sacandaga Lake. We also have a number of special interest groups; ‘SIGs’ we call them, consisting of two turning groups, a carving group and a scroll-sawing group.”

The Best in Show award at the 2008 NWA Showcase was a Greene and Greene sideboard built by John Olenik of Ballston Spa, N.Y.

Each year there is a theme-based feature exhibit and this year it was Adirondack furniture. The showcase also provides woodworking education.“We had four lecture rooms running a different lecture every hour for the two days,” Evans says. “We hire four nationally known woodworkers, and the rest of our presenters are regional presenters, both from our club and other clubs. We use the nationally known woodworkers also as judges because some of the pieces that are entered are entered for judging. The judges were Pete Korn, Doug Stowe, Chris Schwarz and Wayne Barton.”

There was a vendors’ area with more than 75 booths where items are sold, but the exhibit area and the professional gallery are strictly for display.

We probably had 3,500 to 3,600 attendees, somewhere in that neighborhood,” Evans added. “Show [attendance] of this nature is down. We’re told it’s the biggest show in that facility attendance-wise.”

The 2009 showcase is scheduled for March 28-29 in Saratoga Springs.

Pioneers Museum exhibition
Registration information is now available for the 23rd annual Exhibition of Quilts and Fine Woodworking, to be held Aug. 30-Nov. 1 at the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum in Colorado Springs, Colo. The show is sponsored by the Friends of the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum and serves as a forum to promote high-quality woodworking.

Functional furniture pieces are solicited, but not intended to exclude musical instruments, sculptures and other items, according to a museum spokesman. Pieces submitted must be recent original works and employ wood as the primary material. Other materials may be incorporated where appropriate, such as embellishments.

This "Hall Chair with Mirror" by Earl Taylor of Porter Corners, N.Y., earned top honors in the charis, professional class.

Entries will be evaluated using the criteria of quality of craftsmanship and design. This show has traditionally emphasized fine, innovative and high-quality workmanship. There will be $500 in prize monies distributed by the jurors as they see fit. Awards will be presented at the opening reception Sept. 5. 

Pre-registration continues through Aug. 18; on-site registration will be accepted through Aug. 22. 

Western Design Conference
The Western Design Conference, a nationally recognized juried show featuring artisans and craftspeople working with wood, metal, leather, textiles, and more, takes place Sept. 4-6 at Snow King Conference Center in Jackson, Wyo. The exhibition of Western furniture, home accessories, fashion and jewelry features a wide range of artistic influences, including Cowboy, Adirondack, Rustic, Lodge, Asian, Southwestern, Hispanic, Native American and Modern. 

The event is hosted by Teton Home and Living magazine with a mission of helping nurture the evolution of design in the American West. The conference is part of the opening days of the Jackson Hole Fall Arts Festival, Sept. 4-21. The three-day exhibition and sale will be open to the public. 

Contacts
Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum, c/o David Ryan, Registrar, 215 S. Tejon St., Colorado Springs, CO 80903. Tel: 719-385-5639. www.cspm.org
Northeastern Woodworkers Association, PO Box 246, Rexford, NY 12148. www.woodworker.org
Western Design Conference. Tel: 307-690-9719. www.westerndesignconference.com