Conover named NWA Fiske Award recipient

The Northeastern Woodworker Association has selected Ernie Conover of Parkman, Ohio, to receive its 2008 Fiske Award, a memorial award named for Dr. Milan Fiske, one of the eight founders of the upstate New York woodworking guild.

Conover, a furniture maker, turner, lathe designer, author and teacher, will receive the award, which is composed of an honorarium, lecture and plaque, at the NWA’s November meeting. Past winners have included Myra Nakashima, Michael Puryear, Garrett Hack, Hank Gilpin, Charlie Shackleton and John Reed Fox.

“I think Ernie has exemplified that range of both getting and learning the skills of doing various kinds of woodworking, and his devotion to the notion that it’s something that you really ought to enjoy and do things that might even be fanciful, but all with what I would consider a substantial measure of great skills without making the skills themselves the be-all and end-all,” says Herm Finkbeiner, a founding member of NWA. “He is an excellent teacher and, as a result, is an inspiration. Here’s a guy who has taken what many of us would consider an interest and made a life out of it.”

The award was started to honor Fiske’s memory and follow one of his particular interests — woodworking as a form of art. Along with the award, the Fiske Fund was started in 1996 to provide individual grants for the pursuit of woodworking programs that enhance and advance the understanding and application of woodworking techniques and principles.

To date, the NWA has provided more than $58,000 in financial assistance to woodworkers who want to improve their skill or understanding of the “art and craft” of woodworking. Grants run from $150 to a maximum of $1,000.