JUNE 9, 2011

Michael being a goof ball

I have arrived in Philadelphia and am having a great time. I have spent nine months on the road going from school to school, club to club, art center to art center, driving every day. I have been alone a great deal of the time and have not felt deprived in any way. Now I am with four other people all the time and that feels great also. I am at the International Turning Exchange. It is a program sponsored by the Philadelphia Turning Center, which has just changed its name to The Center For Art in Wood. This program is wonderful. Five people have been chosen out of many applicants to work together for two months. It is a chance for my colleagues and I to step outside our normal work and collaborate, possibly working outside our comfort zones, or just have fun doing projects that have been in our sketchbooks. We will be a creative think- tank. The program starts by attending Echo Lake. Echo Lake is an event that happens every year at Bucks County Community College. Over forty artist and craftsman in different disciplines attend. Every body attending brings an offering for the resource table. This could be a half done project or a piece of glass, steel, metal, wood, or recycled manufactured parts. Participants work together very organically for three days and then all the pieces are auctioned off.   Imagine you arrive to meet the four strangers you will be living with for two months, personal items and work materials are unloaded into your dorm, (at The University of The Arts) and without a chance to do more than introductions you get into a van and drive an hour away to Bucks county Community College to learn the parameters of the next three days at Echo Lake.  My Colleagues are Kim Winkle, Michael De Forest, Daniel Hoffman and Carl Pitman. We started talking on our way to Echo Lake and one week later have not stopped. We are doing preliminary set up while we wait for materials to arrive. Yesterday we had a special day graciously hosted by Mark Sfiri. Mark is a well-known woodturning artist and a professor at Bucks County Community College. We drove to Marks house and got a tour of his shop and home, then off to Rago Auction House to see some contemporary craft that will be auctioned off this weekend. Back in the car and we were off to the studio of George Nakashima. His daughter has run the studio and grounds since his death. We got a private tour from Miriam Carpenter who works with the Nakashima family. Miriam was one of the artists we met at Echo Lake. Her personal knowledge and expertise provided for a relaxed informative visit. This afternoon we will be visiting the Philadelphia Art Museum. With all the inspiration the last week has provided we are chomping at the bit to get working.

Mark Sfiri in his studio

ITE participants

Part of Mark Sfiri's collection

About turningaroundamerica

Collaborative Team of Jenn Moller and Beth Ireland
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