Women in Turning EXCHANGE

I'm on the AAW Women in Turning Committee as the newsletter editor. I put out a newsletter every quarter, and there are some very interesting and informative articles in each issue. You can find all the newsletters at the WIT Page on the AAW site.

One of the more important missions of the WIT Committee is to facilitate interaction among women turners, and to encourage women to help each other learn. A prime example of the kinds of interactions that foster this positive environment is the WIT EXCHANGE that takes place in September, at Arrowmont. We had our first, ever, EXCHANGE last fall. As a member of the committee, I was a facilitator for the event, the evening emcee, the IT resource person, and the event photographer. That was a lot of hats to wear, but I have to tell you, this was one of the most enjoyable woodturning events I've ever been part of.

There are articles about the experiences of the women who attended the inaugural WIT EXCHANGE. You can read about it in the September 2018 WIT Newsletter. Most of the women in attendance had never experienced an art collaboration before, and there was a bit of nervousness as they arrived to the site. However, it didn't take long for everyone to loosen up, take chances, and explore creative ideas with abandon.

The collaboration part of the exchange involved groups of three women who drew two words, one out of a bag containing a noun, and the other a descriptor. The two words together were to be the inspiration for designing a piece of art that included a turned element. For example, "Ultimate, Ingredient" was a collaboration by Lynne Yamaguchi, Laura Schinder, and Kim Wolfe. View the images below to see some of the other work that was produced over the three days we were at Arrowmont.

Ultimate Ingredent

Ultimate Ingredent

We started each day with a wonderful breakfast (Arrowmont's food is legendary), and then the rest of the day was used for making art. Each group of three recorded their activities during the day and provided some images for a slide show. After supper, we met in the auditorium to review the work that was made that day, and to share stories about the making of each work. The evenings were a highlight for me. It was really fun to hear what thought processes went into the making of these objects that were based on two words.

Actually, the big highlight for me was the day that Dixie Biggs came running into the surface enhancement studio out of breath, and knees covered in grass stains. I asked her what was going on, and she said, in her breathless condition, "There's a bear!" I asked, "Where?" and grabbed my camera. The bear was the unofficial mascot of the event...

Our group photo, including our favorite (photoshopped) bear…

Our group photo, including our favorite (photoshopped) bear…

We had 34 attendees at the first event, plus five committee members.

After our evening program, many of us hung out on the screened porch to enjoy some beverages and snacks, and to just have a great time. There was a lot of laughing going on into the late evening hours.

Our second WIT EXCHANGE will take place September 5–7, 2019, at Arrowmont again. We're more than halfway to our total of 45 available slots, so if you are a woman in turning who would be interested in joining the fun, you can sign up here.

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