Category Archives: events

Speaker's Workshop

Strategically Speaking Workshop

On Friday, September 25, I’ll once again be part of a powerful workshop on upgrading your skills as a speaker. The lead presenter, Kymberlee Weil, does an amazing job focusing on the content and structure of your presentation, and I spend time working on the presentation itself, applying the concepts and lessons of improv when working with an audience.

Our previous workshop was a big success and all the attendees did very practical, hands on work building their talks and making presentations to an audience. I highly recommend it.

Check out more details at the workshop website.



Take a deep breath …


Well, here they are. The before and after pictures (please excuse the hairy back).

After much discussion and waffling, the big event occurred just minutes ago. The hair is gone (sort of – I kept the pony tail!), and I feel great. It was quick and easy, and yes I like it.

Harriet is still adapting to the new look. She says she likes it, but is trying to get used to this new guy in the house. The dogs (bless ’em) don’t notice a thing. I still have hands to pet and feed them.

I wish I had something more clever and profound to say about all this, but I don’t. So, I’ll keep this short and just show you the documentation to prove it (I’m not that good with photoshop).

img_4764-1.JPG img_4776-1.JPG

MacWorld 2008

img_5622.JPGMacWorld is probably the coolest of the geeky events I’ve attended so far this year. Harriet and I spent a day and a half (January 17 and 18) checking out how the (for me) other half (8% more precisely) lives.

We’re a mixed family: Harriet is an Apple disciple and I’m a member of the PC Priesthood. However, I admire the Mac’s style, I love my iTouch, and I envy every photo book my Mac-Ninja neighbors casually produce from iWhatever. So, it is with a distinct lack of snark (okay, maybe a little) that I visit MacWorld each year and anxiously await Steve Job’s BIG ANNOUNCEMENT.

img_5613.JPGBy now, most of you know that this year’s talisman was the MacBook Air. And yeah, it’s cool. It’s thin: really thin. And light. And surprisingly full featured with a comfortable keyboard and a great display. I’m not going to do a review of it here since there are a lot of good reviews available on the inter-tubes, and they include descriptions of the device’s limitations. But damn it’s cool. And they looked impressive on that wire, hanging like a mobile (we didn’t try the ones on on the wires since Apple had a lot of them set up on counters for us all to play with).

MacWorld has been getting a little bit smaller from year to year. But this year it was about the same size as last year, and it was laid out much better. It wasn’t just iPod World, and Harriet had a good time checking out the cool accessories, as well as sitting in on some Photoshop and InDesign tutorials.

Plus, there is a mighty fine dim sum restaurant right next to the Moscone Center.

We stayed at the best B&B in San Francisco. The Herzfeld has been recently renovated and now boasts the finest dining facilities in the city. And their fruit salad is to die for. Pretty reasonable rates, too: a bowl and a dreidel and they treat you like family (and yeah, this paragraph has a lot of inside references – sorry).

AAW 2007 Symposium, Day 4

img_2209.JPGThis was the last day of symposium, and I don’t really have many photos to throw at you all. This shot is of Alain Mailland demonstrating how he creates one of his amazing pod-like pieces.

On this final day, I bought a few more things at the trade show. During the symposium, a large conference room is set aside for vendors to tempt us all with bright and shiny tools, gorgeous pieces of exotic woods, and educational books and videos that will quickly and easily give us the skills to make everything we see in the galleries. And darn it, for me resistance is futile. I bring a separate bag to fill with lots of goodies. My excuse is that this event always falls near my birthday. Hah!

And I’m sorry, but there are no pictures of the trade show. I was too busy shopping.

The other special event on the last day is the Instant Gallery Critique. Each year a select committee chooses 20 or so items out of the Instant Gallery and gives a critique on each of them. It’s always really interesting. This year, the reviewers were Stephen Hogbin (who was the third artist receiving the first POP Merit Awards) and Michael Brolly.

The last day is always a mix of sadness and relief. I enjoy every aspect of the symposium and am sorry to see it all end. But, by the end my head is so full of ideas, inspiration, and influence that I can’t really stuff anything else into it. It takes a couple of weeks for me to process through all that I’ve seen. And I don’t know that I ever get the chance to try (let alone incorporate) it all.

So, that’s my view of the AAW 2007 Symposium in Portland, Oregon. I had a wonderful time, both at the symposium and Portland in general. Next year, the event will be in Richmond, Virginia. Maybe I’ll have a few things I feel are ready to put in the gallery. I say that every year.

My trip home was delightfully uneventfull. I’ve discovered that Sunday evening is great time to fly. There are no crowds, and everyone is really relaxed and friendly.

img_2210.JPGOne last picture, again from Alain Mailland’s demonstration. This is fairly far along in his work on the piece, and you get a pretty good sense of what the finished item will look like. What’s better than seeing the hands of a master craftsman in the middle of working on a piece of art?

AAW 2007 Symposium, Day 3

img_2201.JPGThis picture is from the banquet that took place this evening. I’ve had some wonderful meals in Portland (that would would probably earn me a tsk or two from Mikki), but the banquet meal was not one of them. Your basic chicken with starchy mashed potatoes and asparagus, and a salad that was probably sitting on those plates since the last banquet. Luckily the crowd was warm and friendly, and the action at the auction would make you forget eating rusty nails!

Before I launch into the amazing results from the auction, let me show you some more amazing artwork that came off of a lathe.

img_2141.JPGYesterday I had a picture of the work by David Nittmann, but I wasn’t happy with the view. Well, my camera has fresh batteries and here’s a better view showing off the colors and the patterns in this piece. With this view, you’re also looking into the narrow opening and seeing the colors inside of the vessel. Beautiful.

img_2155.JPGI didn’t write down the artist on this piece, but I wanted to show work created on a Rose Engine, and with this piece there’s no color or grain to take away from the textured patterns. The Rose Engine is a type of lathe that was originally developed in the Victorian era and used to add this sort of complex and detailed surface decoration to turned work, referred to as Ornamental Turning. Although there hasn’t been a lot of this type of work done recently, I’m starting to see more and more of it. It can be quite beautiful. The tops done by John Sauer (shown yesterday) are ornamental turnings.

img_2166.JPGThis bowl is by Molly Winton. The design is made with a burning tool; the horses formed by the unburned wood, and the black background is the burned part. She doesn’t color the piece. The light brown is the natural color of the wood and the black is charred wood. In the lower part of the bowl, there is a “basket weave” pattern that’s also burned into the wood. I had a chance to attend a couple of her demonstrations and see her technique. Interesting and lovely work.

img_2168.JPGI didn’t write down the name of the person who produced this piece, either. But, I thought it was a lovely kaleidoscope. The body lifts off the stand and the pattern you can see in the scope is a typical, colorful and changing kaleidoscope image. You don’t see very many kaleidoscopes in the Instant Gallery, but this was a fine example.

img_2170.JPGBen Carpenter makes these beautiful, organic looking objects that are carved from the original turned piece. He had several other objects, one of which looked like some fantastical creature with long, bird-like legs. Although that was the first item to grab your attention, I liked this piece a lot more. All of his creations have this biological, fantastical looking theme.

img_2178.JPGThis beautiful piece is by Sharon Doughtie and is another turned and then burned work. The ribbons are the natural color of the wood, and the colorful spots in the ribbons are knots in the wood. The black background is all charred wood. Her work is beautiful.

img_2180.JPGThis is a wonderful example of a natural edge bowl. Once again, I didn’t get the artist’s name on this piece, but I want to include an example of a vessel without surface decoration. It’s a beautiful piece of wood that has been turned by an expert’s hand.

img_2068.JPGOkay, I’ll end this by telling you a couple of results from tonight’s auction. First, this is the piece that was a collaborative effort from Bonnie Klein and Jacques Vesery. Nominally a box, it’s an amazing piece with a lot of surprises that you find by disassembling it. You unscrew the box to find other turned objects that unscrew to reveal even more turned objects. Each of the artists produces beautiful and very well received (meaning expensive) work on their own. Together, these two have a history of producing collaborative objects that blow through the price ceiling on turned wood art.

Well, by the time the auction on this ended, the bidding reached $20,000. Yes, it’s an amazing price. But, just wait …

img_2070.JPGThis is the collaborative piece by Frank Sudol and Binh Pho. Frank was an accomplished turner and well loved mentor who died last year. Binh was a student of his who is now one of the top turners in the world. This work is a beautiful synthesis of both their styles and is the only collaboration they ever made. So, with that background, the discussion I heard from collectors before the auction is that they expected it to sell for somewhere between $10,000 and $12,000.

When the bids topped $20,000, the crowd gasped. Every bid that bumped the price up by $1000 had the audience shifting with anticipation – and in stunned silence. The final bid that ended the auction came in at $30,000. The crowd leapt to its feet and cheered. I don’t know whether that’s the highest price paid for a piece of wood turned art, but it’s the highest price I’ve ever seen. It was an amazing way to end the night.