SARATOGA SPRINGS – For those stumped on what to do this weekend, look no further: The Northeastern Woodworkers Association will be returning to Saratoga Springs for its annual Showcase.
The event, held Saturday and Sunday, will be celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. It brings together regional amateur and professional woodworkers and woodturners to show off their craft and expertise. Several vendors will have booths at the show, such as Bad Dog Tools, The Macica Workshop and Lyle Jamieson Woodturning LLC.
“From its creation, it has and continues to be our opportunity to display hundreds of wooden items made by our members and guests for the sole purpose of sharing with the region our collective skills as woodworkers,” said showcase chairman Wally Carpenter.
The showcase also will include the woodturning-focused Totally Turning Symposium, a gallery exhibit and the opportunity to hear from several guest presenters and instructors, including the world-renowned Kuniaki Kishi from Japan, who specializes in Japanese joinery techniques, Andrew Hunter and Garrett Hack, who will be leading classes on detailing and practical design this weekend.
“I’d love to think that I’m going to be passing along my enthusiasm for the details and also for design, and impress upon them how important design is and how important it is to plan ahead,” said Hack, who has taught at the NWA Showcase several times before.
One of the primary goals of the NWA is to provide opportunities for children “to experience the joy of making something by hand,” according to Carpenter via email. As a result, the showcase will also feature a “Toy Factory,” where kids can learn how to make their very own wood pieces.
“I see it time and time again where the kids don’t want to leave,” Carpenter said about the Toy Factory, adding that there will be no limit on how many wood pieces a child can make. “We allow them to make as many pieces as they want because, for us, it’s really setting that memory in place where they can look at it two, three, four, five years later and say ‘I made this,’ and it hopefully gives them the motivation to pursue woodworking as a hobby later in their life.”
In fact, reaching the younger generations has been a growing concern for the woodworking and woodworking community, which is largely composed of older adults.
“Most of my students have gray hair,” Lyle Jamieson, the owner of Lyle Jamieson Woodturning LLC, said. “Whenever we find young people involved with it, we get excited about it because it’s not common.”
And while it is certainly easier and less time-consuming to go to a department store to pick up a wooden decorative or furniture piece, woodworkers and turners contend that making a craft by hand is an invaluable experience that cannot be found in an IKEA showroom.
“Turning is really fun — it’s got instant gratification, you’re seeing the shapes develop right before your eyes, you can do a project in an hour or two. It’s just a really fun thing to spend time at,” Jamieson said. “It’s also very therapeutic. While you’re in the shop working on a turning project, the whole world melts away.”
While the showcase and its co-located symposium will be filled with experts, those who have never even cut wood, let alone designed or built a wooden piece, are encouraged to attend.
“It’s a very open group, and you can come and not talk to anybody and just see what’s going on, see the show, see the booths,” Hack said.
The NWA Showcase and Totally Turning will take place on Saturday and Sunday at the Saratoga Springs City Center. The Showcase will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day, and the Symposium will run from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Those interested in attending can purchase tickets in advance at woodworker.org for $16.49 per day for the Showcase, and $150 for one day or $200 for both days, plus a registration fee, for the Symposium.
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