In 2020, Arrowmont celebrates 75 years as a school of arts and crafts. ARROWMONT: 75 YEARS OF CRAFT EDUCATION presents archival images and articles to recognize this milestone. Add your memories to the collection – click here to send us your pictures and stories!
The largest national woodturning community – the American Association of Woodturners – is a thriving organization dedicated to advancing the art and craft of woodturning worldwide through education. With more than 16,000 members and over 365 local chapters globally, AAW members include amateurs, hobbyists, professionals, gallery owners, collectors, tool and equipment suppliers, and others. The organization is 35 years old – and got its start at Arrowmont in 1985.
“Woodturning: Vision and Concept” – a national conference on woodturning brought international recognition to the school as over 250 people from all parts of the United States, Canada, England, Ireland, and Australia gathered to watch demonstrations by the country’s leading woodturners. Program for the three day conference was set up with five artists demonstrating in different locations concurrently, as conference participants were able to move from one studio to another to observe and ask questions. In addition to daily demonstrations, panel discussions and slide lectures on various forms of wood turning, design concepts, and the future of the art form were part of the agenda.
A trade exposition was in progress throughout the conference offering the latest in equipment and technology. Informal gathering areas were also set up for participants to compare their own work, tools, and exchange ideas.
In conjunction with the conference, the main gallery at Arrowmont featured a national juried and invitation exhibition of work of contemporary woodturners whose vision and conceptual developments have contributed to the national recognition of wood turned objects in the field of arts and crafts. Twenty-two pieces representing the work of 17 artists were selected by the jurors from over 70 entries in the competition. Invitational pieces included the work of 25 leading turners who were asked to show their work in the exhibition which was on display from October 9 through December 7, 1985. The gala gallery opening was coordinated with the conference opening, with many conference participants sending friends from home to Arrowmont after the conference to see this exceptional exhibition of wood pieces.
The conference came to a close Saturday evening with a barbecue picnic in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. As sounds of traditional bluegrass music filtered above the picnic area, conference participants enjoyed a feeling of camaraderie from having been part of this exciting learning experience where professional contacts, new friends, and long range organizational plans were made during the interaction among fellow artists and craftsmen.