International Woodturning Symposium

AAW 33rd International Symposium, Raleigh, NC.

I had the privilege to be one of the demonstrators at this year AAW International symposium. Being from Hawaii, it was quite the trip, you could not go any farther in the USA. But it was well worth it! I got there the day before, July g10th 2019, and I took the opportunity of some free time to drive around to get to know the city and to take pictures.
The AAW booked me a room at the Downtown Sheraton; a mere 2 minutes walk to the Convention Center where the symposium was being held. 
Because of the time difference on Thursday the 11th, sign up day, was awake at 4:30 AM. Got up and went searching for more photo opportunities. North Carolina has an amazing Parks and Trails system, and they are everywhere. Check my facebook page if you are curious what some of those parks look like, nature oasis within driving distance for millions of people.
After some leisure time, I drove back and registered as a demonstrator with one of the many outstanding volunteers that help make the symposium a reality. 
After that, I went to vendors row to say hello to some old friends, Doug Thompson and his wife Tari owners of Thompson tools and Mike Hunter owner of Hunter tools. Of course, I saw many others. The annual symposium is like a family reunion, and you get to see friends from all over the world once a year. The social aspect of the biggest get together of woodturners in the world is a desirable factor for many that have attended for years. I talked to some that were attending their 24 consecutive symposia!
I had two demos back to back on Friday morning, July 12th. I started with The history of the Hawaiian Calabash and Hawaiian bowl repairs, I was surprised when the room filled, and some were standing up! 
After a short break, I followed with Boxes with hand chased threads. Again I had a full house! I'd be lying if I tell you I wasn't nervous! But once I got started, it was just like being in the shop, showing a friend how to do something. 
I finished the day by going out to dinner with friends, included Alan and Lauren Zenreich. Then back to the Sheraton bar to see who was there. Stuart Batty was there, and we catch up, he's coming back to Hawaii soon!

I had Saturday off, so I went to see some demos, walked the vendor's area, and marveled at the instant gallery. The work there is out of this world, truly inspiring. 
That night I was invited to attend the annual banquet. It was my first one. I truly enjoyed it. I was escorted to a table by none other than Greg Scharamek, President of the AAW. 
Sunday, the last day of the Symposium, I had my demo after the first rotation. Confidence was running high, except that peeking at some of the classes on the way to my room, I noticed very few people watching. Got a little nervous when a nice size crowd of eager turners ready to learn the ancient art of chasing threads filled up most of the room. I was happy to see the entire delegation of turners from Puerto Rico in the room; thank you for your support! I had already broken the ice, sort of speak, so I got to enjoy this last demo much more. 
I want to thank the AAW for such a great career inspiring opportunity. Especially to Andy Cole, my fellow Hawaiian turner and good friend, and Linda Ferber, the cause of all these great things happening in Maui and to me. She is the one that encouraged me to start the AAW Chapter club in Maui. 
If you have not yet attended one these life-changing Symposiums, you owe it to yourself to add it to your bucket list. You won't be disappointed it, I guaranteed it. 
Till next time, Aloha


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