Thread: AWTEx 2020
21st Nov 2019, 12:10 PM #1
I was very disappointed to hear the commttee of AWTEx has needed to POSTPONE the 2020 exhibition. This decision is a result of the very few that are prepared to volunteer for the committee and to help with the exhibition.
I think this is a great shame and am very disappointed that there are so few willing to help. Given the majority of turners are in the 'retired' stage of their lives how can it be we are killing off this event through apathy. Surely there should be a huge pool to draw from but this doesn't seem to be the case. I know it is a Melbourne based event so this does exclude a lot from helping but what about the rest of you!
AWTEx would have to be one of the key events on the woodturning callendar and without it we will be a lot poorer. The committee, as it was for the last few years have put in so much effort to ensure the ongoing success of the event and have done their bit. Surely they desrve a break but also deserve to have their hard work acknowledged by being able to hand over the reins to others. My fear is that 2019 will be the last AWTEx and we will only realize what we have lost once it has gone.
Or is this just a sign of the times? Is woodturning on a downwards slide to a point of irrelevance in our society?
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21st Nov 2019, 03:35 PM #2Senior Member
- Join Date
- May 2019
Having been in the tool industry for nearly forty years and exhibiting at many trade, wood shows, field days etc over that period and can honestly say that the returns for suppliers and exhibitors are diminishing whilst the costs are becoming prohibitive. Whilst very few exhibitors would get a return on the show many now feel they can see better results via other forms of marketing, on line sales, catalogues, in store promotions etc.
Also the demands on volunteers time, increasing costs, liability insurances, safety requirements etc are all taking their toll.
I cannot speak on behalf of the Melbourne show but for it to move forward with some success it may need to be a bi-annual event and co hosted with another event such as a home expo or craft and hobbies show.
Last edited by Potts; 21st Nov 2019 at 03:36 PM. Reason: Grammar
21st Nov 2019, 03:44 PM #3China
- Join Date
- Dec 2005
- South Australia
In my experience woodturning is as you say on the decline there was a big resurgence during the nineties, and has dropped back to being just another niche craft that is sold at the local farmers maket or the country town
craft store, I think this is the case for wood work in general, it is fast becoming the case if you can't produce it on a 3D printer then no body wants it.
21st Nov 2019, 04:11 PM #4
oooer! What a horrible thought.
Oddly enough, I thought the last AWTEX was the most polished presentation I've yet seen. (For AWTEX, that is.) In the Nunawading days, there was always an element of amateur club show present, whereas Soren managed to put together a very elegant face for it.
Along with incorporating the commercial side booths, I thought it was exactly what the show needed to bring it back on track.
But too late, I guess.
I very much hope that it continues on... there is nothing to even remotely approximate it in terms of showcasing Australian turner's skills. (or in my more self-centred case, new ideas and brains to pick. ) Local agricultural and craft shows rarely have any winning entries that I would call 'above mundane.'
- Andy Mc (AKA "Ghost who posts." )
23rd Nov 2019, 07:13 AM #5
I think the comments by Brendan in regard to apathy are accurate and I might add that the internal politics of some clubs leaves much to be desired and most likely only adds to the problem.
I would of thought that with all the baby boomers retiring etc that there would have been a potential for a lift in interest. The loss of a national contest doesn't bode well for the craft.
As a observation from a personal perspective I thought the general public interest was picking up. I say from the point of increased sales for what I make. So if we the exponents of the craft think so little of it as to not give it any support at this level. Then I expect we shall reap what we sew, sad but the writing's on the wall.
23rd Nov 2019, 07:20 AM #6
23rd Nov 2019, 04:57 PM #7GOLD MEMBER
- Join Date
- Jun 2003
I've been reading the comments raised and I feel that it's a shame that it has come to this.
The woodturning club scenes that I know of is having problems maintaining itself with lack of members offering up for committee positions and membership numbers as all are aging faster then new people joining so it's not surprising that there is lack of support to stand for an AWTEX committee position.
I, living in the area where AWTEX used to draw it's main support from, have more problems with keeping alive and wel, then worry about woodturning and I know quite a few more club members in a similar situation.
In the past I have been a great supporter of the competition but I knew that when the committee made the decision to move it from the centre of it's volunteer support base to Moorabbin that it would only last a few years.
The thing that surprises me is that there was no publicity about this. It was not on their website or their face book page and nothing of this forum.
24th Nov 2019, 04:07 PM #8
I agree with everyone who posted that we have a problem.
I experienced the decline in craft pottery four decades ago. I recognise the symptoms again of a declining craft in woodturning. Pottery is still about, but only just. It looks like woodturning is heading the same way.
I'm also observing a decline in voluntary contributions to community organisations. The current volunteers are getting older, fewer and experiencing more health issues. The younger generation that would have come through to replace them are remaining on in the workforce, hanging onto demanding jobs out of economic necessity.
So, what to do?
I don't have any insights to offer into how to change the declining commitment and availability of people to do voluntary work for community organisations. If I did I would have applied those to trying to slow down the decline in the number of volunteers in several community organisations with which I'm I'm involved.
Leaving aside the volunteer problem, I would like to suggest three ways in which we might be able to at least slow down the decline in woodturning as a craft here in Australia. It's a complex problem with many factors, but the following three areas might at least help arrest the rate of decline:
- Re-focus on young turners. When I look about at the participants in the occasional woodturning event I go to there is a sea of grey hair and rarely anyone under the age fifty. Unless we do something about that we are a dying craft. In the past we had apprentice woodturners and some exposure to woodturning in high schools and in some tertiary courses that were a source of new craft woodturners. These early woodturning opportunities either don't exist any more or are crowded out of curricula. We have to focus on giving young people more opportunity to try woodturning. If lawn bowls can do it surely we could do it in woodturning. https://www.bowls.com.au/wp-content/..._Sept_2009.pdf See third point on how we might fund that.
- Cultivate collector-patrons. Exhibitions and competitions serve an internal audience within the woodturning fraternity. But, without a healthy stream of new novice woodturners coming into the craft we are in a death spiral down; with fewer participants, standards drifting down, and a decreasing pool of competent judges and teacher-demonstrators. One untapped stimulus to keep the plates spinning is the collector-patron, but an entirely undeveloped resource here in Australia as far as I can see, although far more evident in Nth America and Europe. It would be nice if a few well resourced and zealous collector-patrons popped up here in Australia, but that is unlikely to happen and we can't afford to wait around on the off chance that spontaneous ignition might occur with that. So, what is needed is for every woodturner to also become a collector-patron. Let's not only compete with one another in exhibitions and competitions, but also with one another to collect the best pieces from our peers and to sponsor the development of our craft. I expect a non-turning collector-patron group will evolve out of that. More on that in last point.
- Levy the baby boomers. I recently attended a turning event and was struck by the affluence of the participants based on the wagons in the car park. Most of us baby boomers can financially afford to not only take but also to give back to the woodturning fraternity. I propose that this be done in two ways. An actual levy be added to all organised events, club fees, etc. and be set aside for the express purpose of promoting and supporting young turners, as argued for in point one. The organising group to work out how to best deploy those funds. The second component of the BB-Levy I have in mind is that we each should levy ourselves to spend as collector-patron. My own benchmark is 10% of my woodturning expenditure and I must say it is a most enjoyable activity to spend that money as a collector-patron.
Get some of that happening and I expect events like AWTEx could spring back into life.
PS- None of the above is a criticism of the AWTEx committee or its volunteers. They have been the stalwarts. And, their Student section and Stephen Hughes have also been doing more than pulling their weight with young turners. They just need more support.
PSS - This is also not a criticism of the business sponsors who support woodturning events. We can't leave it up to them. We collectively need to pull more weight.
[Getting down off my soapbox now]
Will I post this or not?Stay sharp and stay safe!
24th Nov 2019, 04:08 PM #9
24th Nov 2019, 06:39 PM #10
A very hearty and sincere thank you for the efforts of the committee that put the Exhibitions together, thank you.
I have been an active supporter of, and exhibitor at AWTEX since 2010. Unfortunately I live at the other end of the country, and find it impossible to help. But surely there is few people in the Melbourne are that can step up? As has been mentioned it is a wonderful opportunity to see some of the best pieces of wood turning in Australia and learn from them. It really will be a loss to the wood turning fraternity.
As for the future, the major hurdle is to get a new committee together, not the level of entrants or exhibits.
JimSometimes in the daily challenges that life gives us, we miss what is really important...
24th Nov 2019, 07:49 PM #11
I agree with Jims comments , maybe another club could take over some of the responsibility and help out or even take it over completely , what about sharing the exhibition between several clubs , thus easing the load on just one club to do all the work for this fantastic event , perhaps the event could be moved to Sydney or Brisbane there might be clubs there that would be interested ?
As woodturners we must look at all possibilities to keep this event alive , it would be a shame to think that all the hard work that has gone into this event in the past would be lost forever ,
I think there is plenty of interest in the AWTEX each year , with people through the doors and items exhibited , we just have to find the troops on the ground ,
I wish I could help out but unfortunately work makes it impossible for me to help out or attend , distance is also a factor
Lets hope we do not lose this very special event on the woodturners calender !Cheers smiife
28th Nov 2019, 02:43 PM #12Woodworker without a shed
- Join Date
- Nov 2007
- Narangba, QLD, Aust
The majority of woodworking and turning clubs have almost all of their events during the day, Monday to Friday. This excludes anybody who works. Not all amateur turners are retired. I can't support a club which I can't attend. If you want younger members you have to accommodate them. Don't complain about your membership dying out if your club is seemingly for old folk.
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3rd Dec 2019, 10:59 PM #13Senior Member
- Join Date
- Sep 2016
Thanky ou for the kind words.
The facts are
Its was not a secret that the exhibition will not happen next year emails were sent all woodworking clubs in the country asking for support.
At the presentation at the last 2 AWTEX
The present people were informed that the committee needed help.
We had one person join the committee last year.
I am one of the 4 remaining committee members
4th Dec 2019, 11:21 AM #14
I think the real crux of the issues facing the diminishing committee is the dwindling volunteer support to run AWTEX and making a longer term commitment to the committee.
To that end it would be helpful to know what help / assistance they require and what tasks can take some of the physical load of the core committee members. We live in a very connected world so some roles may not "need" to be Melbourne or indeed Vic based. Time for a rethink of how to run the event.
What roles can be undertaken by volunteers who are not based in the greater Melbourne area? i.e. collating entry nomination forms, preparing the catalogue; ….
Can some of the "arms and legs" current roles / tasks be undertaken by non-committee member volunteers "on the day?" or interstate visiting supporters i.e. receiving entries; judging setup; display setup; stewards; packing postal return entries; ……Mobyturns
In An Instant Your Life CanChange Forever
4th Dec 2019, 07:28 PM #15
get together and let the general woodies on the forum know what they need
us to do , something could be done to help out .....
Untill I read Brendons post I was unaware there was a problem ! I am sure I
would not be the only one .....
Aussie are very good at pulling together in a crisis , they just need to know
what the crisis is and how to help......
Like I said this is the first I knew about it , I think AWTEX is a great event in
the woodturners calendar and surely we can save this event and try to come
together and make It happen what ever it takes .......Cheers smiife
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