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Woodturning New Zealand Symposium 2012

By Ian Outshoorn on October 24th, 2012

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Well, spent the last four days at the NZ Symposium. Have returned home totally fizzing, completely amped to get back on the lathe. So many ideas, so little time. Boy does work get in the way of my hobby.

The South Auckland Woodturners Guild have done a wonderful job in organising this. It only took Dick Veitch and Terry Scott's team a year to pull off a terrific event. All of the local and overseas visitors commented on how "friendly" this Symposium was. A lot of sharing of knowledge between demonstrators and attendees was obvious.

The Vendor area was again full of goodies and a lot of turners walked away with bulging bags and empty wallets. I picked up a new toy, a NSK Presto dentist drill for piercing. Been on the wishlist for while now, sure beats a Dremel for the fine stuff. I organised the World of Woodturners (WOW) swap.

About 24 WOWies were at the Symposium from all around the world and NZ. The idea was to make something small and then swap it with another turner. The air of expectancy just before I made the draws was easily visible in the photo's. Just like Xmas for us all. I was fortunate to swap my Puriri pen with a lovely Peppermill from Ancient Kauri with Darryl Pointon. The peppergrinder has been promoted to our dinner table where my girls request the "special" pepper.

I was also able to further expand my collection of Turned Art with pieces by Alan Carter, Kelly Dunn and Liz Scobie. These pieces provide ongoing inspiration for me as I was present when the turners were showing us how they were made.

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Two of the demonstrators are a husband and wife team, Neil and Liz Scobie. I chose to see Liz in action this time after seeing Neil at Turnfest. Liz makes these terrific textures and adds a lot of colour to turnings by Neil. The final piece is greater than the parts. Look for some of my stuff to be brightened up with what I learnt from Liz.

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This was my second Symposium. The first was Turnfest 2012 at Seaworld in Brisbane. What struck me was the quality of the Instant Gallery in Auckland. Attendees were encouraged to bring a piece of their work and show it off. What was mentioned by many overseas demonstrators was that several top pieces from local turners would also be top pieces at the American Association of Woodturners (AAW) Instant Gallery. This is high praise indeed. What was also nice is that some of those pieces were purchased by overseas collectors. This shows the high calibre of our local turners.

I have been told some turners feel they wouldn't get anything from attending as they are not good enough as turners. My answer "Hogwash". What I've learnt is the Rock stars of the woodturning world and I are on the same journey. They are just a bit further along it (well some are way, way up ahead of the rest of us). Mingling with other turners in such an intensive period does wonders for your own creativity. You see how they see the world and this is a skill that we all can learn. Certainly opened my eyes up, expect to see the results soon. Indeed our Guild Show and Tell entrees are already reflecting what was witnessed at the Symposium. Count me in for the next one.

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