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Beyond Containment
March 4 - May 24, 2012

An international roster of forty invited studio artists takes woodturning from its traditional roots in bowls, vessels and boxes into new territory.

This exhibit, the sixth in our very popular Professional Outreach Program invitational series, challenges turners to think beyond one of woodturnings most basic forms: the vessel. What is containment? What is beyond containment?

Catalogs from previous exhibits: Roots, The Teapot, The Spindle, The Sphere and Japanese Bowls can be viewed on the Past Exhibits page.

Beyond Containment will move to San Jose, California for display June 8-10, for the AAWs 26th Annual International Symposium, held at the McEnery Convention Center, 150 W San Carlos St, San Jose, CA 95110. Friday 9-7, Saturday 9-4:30, Sunday 9-11:30. Admission to the exhibition is free.



Cover Image
Bennett and Biggs
Blanc and Brolly
Burchard and Charpignon
Doughtie and Fennell
Gardner and Garrett
Gerton and Hanvey
Hibbert and Hosaluk
Jacobsen and LeVier
Liestman and Marcolongo
Martin and Mocho
Moore and Morris
Oudet and Pho
Radda and Raffan
Sanger and Schneider
Sfirri and Smuts
VanNess and Weidman
Weissflog and Weissflog
Wolfe and Yamaguchi
Sfirri back cover



Claret ash bowl by Richard Raffan Richard Raffan: 2012 Merit Award Artist

Richard Raffan has been a professional turner since the early 1970s. Well-known for his impeccable sense of shape and form, and his mastery of the craft of woodturning, he was inspired by the influence of the English Arts & Crafts movement. Although he has worked with what might be considered more ‘artistic’ forms, Raffan is best known for his functional work, and prefers to be referred to as a craftsman.
Perhaps one of the best known woodturners in the world, Richard Raffan has always had a strong sense of the legacy he will leave, and of the anonymous craftsmen who came before him. Around the time he started woodturning in the early 70s, all across the western world trade turners were laying down their tools. Raffan’s entry into turning coincided with this decline of turning as a trade, but it was just in time for him to learn from a turner who still had the old skills. As the last generation of production hand turners gave up the trade Richard was able to step into his role as guardian of a traditional craft and was able to hand on these skills to the rapidly growing numbers of new turners.

Born in Devon, England in 1943, Richard Raffan has lived and worked in Australia since 1982. He is the author of numerous books, articles and DVDs about woodturning.

The American Association of Woodturners Professional Outreach Program Merit Award is given to an artist or artists whose body of work has contributed significantly to the growth of woodturning as an art form.


Art From the Lathe
Selections from the AAW Permanent Collection

Art From the Lathe features work by noted wood artists working in a variety of styles. Designed to illustrate the range of artistic expression and techniques used by masters of the field, the exhibit includes works that are 'pure' - in other words created entirely on the lathe - and pieces that have been carved, burned, sandblasted, segmented and reconstructed.


Also on display: vintage lathes and reproductions of lathes from the Viking era to the late 1700s.

Recently ended:

November 13 - December 30, 2011

PIerced vessel by Binh PhoThe World Turns: AAW@25

This high-octane exhibit features work by several prominent artists who were also founders of the American Association of Woodturners in 1986, as well as younger artists whose work in wood was influenced and supported by their affiliation with the AAW. The AAW fosters an environment of open sharing and learning, and has been instrumental in advancing both the techniques and growing prominence of wood art in the world today.

Historical importance aside, this exhibition, curated by Kevin Wallace of the Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts, brings together an impressive array of works in wood. Don't miss it!

Left: Binh Pho, Sacred Journey


View exhibition catalog

A David Ellsworth Retrospective

Ellsworth figured ash vesselFor artist David Ellsworth, wood is "the most perfect imperfect material". Ellsworth, a pioneer in the field of wood art, is a master of form whose quietly powerful work has influenced three generations of wood artists. "To me, creating is collaboration between ideas, materials and process," says Ellsworth, who has been a professional artist since the early 70's. A student of sculpture and architecture, he also studied ceramics, and although that influence is clearly seen, there is no question but that these works are as much about the wood as the forms.
David Ellsworth's work is in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, among others. He is a former Pew Foundation and National Endowment for the Arts fellow.



A Gathering of Spoons II
Selected Spoons from the Collection of Norman Stevens

Frank WRight standing spoonAlthough his initial intention was to collect a few dozen examples of contemporary wooden spoons, for American fine craft collector Norman Stevens, that original plan soon expanded to creating a reference “treasury” of almost 300 spoons from all over the globe. Each spoon is carefully documented, and Stevens’ collection has become a valued resource for those studying this increasingly popular art form.
The spoons range from very traditional designs intended for daily use, to use-defying spoons created by contemporary sculptors like Doug Finkel and Kristin LeVier.
Although being explored anew by contemporary artist, spoons have long provided a canvas for artistic expression. “Love spoons,” carved in Northern Europe, Scandinavia and the British Isles were used for courtship for hundreds of years. A young man would put his heart (and competitive spirit) into carving a spoon that represented both his ardor and his abilities as a craftsman – an indicator of his potential for supporting a family. If the young woman accepted the spoon, they were considered betrothed.

A Gathering of Spoons II will be displayed through September 16th.

Standing Spoon by Frank Wright, Lanesboro, Minnesota


©2011 American Association of Woodturners

AAW Gallery of Wood Art | 222 Landmark Center | 75 5th St W | St. Paul, MN 55102 | 651.484.9094