Woodworking (in America)-Part II

Dateline: Covington Kentucky-Sept 30, Oct 1, Oct 2, 2011

I have a blog site but I do not do woodwork.  My husband enjoys woodworking as a hobby but does not have a blog site. He recently attended the Woodworking In America (WIA) conference in Covington, KY and we decided we’d blog about it.   

What: Once a year hand tool ‘galoots’ from all over flock to the WIA conference.  This year was the fourth annual get together.  Galoots is the term used to describe those who pursue the craft of woodworking solely with hand tools.   (Editor’s note: Beats me why someone would want to be called a galoot.)  Dedicated hobbyists, craftspeople (there were a very few women at WIA) gather for 2 1/2 days of seminars, demonstrations and to drool as they toured the 20,000 sq, ft, marketplace of exhibitors.

Lee Valley Tools Exhibit at WIA

Where: Covington, Kentucky (Covington is just across the river from Cincinnati, Ohio)

Northern Kentucky Convention Centre

Why: To learn from the who’s who in hand-tool woodworking-to be clear, this is not carpentry. It is the world of hand cut mortice and tenons and smooth planed surfaces, of inlaid wood and carved contours.  It’s an opportunity to meet craftspeople and tool makers that previously you would only have read about and chance to meet others who share the same passion.

WIA 2011 by the numbers:

  • 450-500: approximate number of attendees.  While most attendees were from the USA, there were some from Canada, South Africa, England and Australia
  • 75: number of seminars/lectures to choose from over the 2 1/2 day conference
  • 56: number of top-tier toolmakers and vendors demonstrating and selling their wares in the “marketplace”
  • 6: number of evening programs to choose from
  • 355 $US: cost of registration
  • priceless: the opportunity to attend-according to my husband

Let us know what you think about this joint (hah!) effort about joinery.  We will post one or more blogs to describe some of the classes and seminars.  Would you like to hear about anything in particular when we write the blogs?

Woodworking is Simply Quilting….with Wood-Part I

Drugs vs Joinery

I estimate I have gone to dozens and dozens of conferences and large meetings and symposiums (I wondered how to spell the plural of symposiums and this is what I found).  At first I thought I could say hundreds but that’s likely an exaggeration.  The topic of conferences has been largely the profession of pharmacy, the world of pharmaceuticals, the evidence to support their effectiveness and how they are used.  Add to that symposia about how we could better work together provincially, nationally and internationally and I am now thinking I should have kept a list.  I’d be up for some sort of badge-if they gave badges for this sort of thing.  I have given presentations (always telling a true story during the presentation), introduced speakers, chaired sessions and acted as a “discussant”.  I had to ask what that was…besides someone who discusses things.  For all those conferences, my husband and in years gone by, my daughter often attended and they did their own thing and joined me for various social functions during the conference.

This week for the second time in our 36 year marriage, the shoe was on the other foot and I rode shotgun while my husband attended the Woodworking in America (WIA) conference in Covington, Kentucky.  

Compare and Contrast

I walked over to the conference centre a couple of times and here’s my observations of the differences between conferences about drugs/pharmaceuticals, the profession of pharmacy and a conference about woodworking-or joinery as some call it.

  1. There is a great deal more facial hair at the WIA conference.
  2. There is more denim and plaid and vests worn….far more.
  3. You don’t hear much discussion about mortices and tenons at pharmacy conferences.
  4. You do hear about keeping things sharp at both conferences.
  5. Both fine woodworking (joinery) and the profession of pharmacy are at the crossroads.  I was intimately involved in the associations representing the profession of pharmacy for over 10 years and the profession was at the crossroads the whole time.  It still may be.  It’s a phrase I came to dislike…a great deal. 
  6. Passion is evident at each conference-and that’s a great thing.  People sharing the same interests and goals coming together-contacts and friendships made that will last well beyond the fleeting days of the conference.
  7. It’s great when your spouse indulges and supports your interest (I am so indebted it will never be an even split for us).
Do you have thoughts about attending conferences and are there difference and similarities across the board?  How would you spell the plural of symposium?