Gold Country

 Wood Turners      


Late in March 2005 several local turners, unbeknownst to each other, noticed an announcement in the Union from the Solinsky Gallery in Nevada City. The gallery was hosting an evening talk on April 6, 2005 by Sonoma County professional turner and teacher, Jerry Kermode, on turning natural edge redwood burl bowls.  Jerry gave an inspiring  presentation on his work, tools and techniques.  We each noticed that a specific few of us were  pestering him with a continuous stream of questions.  (Probably to the disruption of potential gallery customers.)  As a part of our interchange he suggested we collect names and consider forming an AAW chapter.  So we soon decided to meet informally, not as an AAW chapter, but to see each other's shops and exchange ideas.  We also drew some turners from the Welcome Wagon Woodworking group and a couple from searching the AAW registry for our area.

We held our first meeting in April 27, 2005 at Jerry Hall's shop, with Nadine Enderline, Don Lawson, Bud Renfro, Mike Weaver, Dana and Eva Ruben, Steve Thompson, Jack Johnson, Jon Borad, and Larry Lang notified. Most attended.  Paul Toth and Bill Kinney joined shortly later.  We were excited about finding kindred spirits and agreed to meet monthly, rotating among each others shops.  From the beginning we decided to stay small and informal. We wanted to get to know each other and learn about each other's shops and turning experiences.  So we met for several more months.

As we steadily grew in numbers we contemplated becoming an AAW chapter, but deferred that in favor of affiliating as members of the NorCal AAW chapter in Sacramento in early 2006.  We benefited from their demonstrations, meetings, mentors, woodcuts, glue purchases, and made many friends. We learned how a chapter was operated, and the pros and cons of larger AAW chapters.  We became concerned about insurance coverage as our meetings included demonstrations.  We also continued to grow, so we informally agreed we wanted to have a cap on membership, while still being as open as possible to anyone who wanted to be an active turner.  By this time we had 21 active members and several more friends who stayed in the loop and occasionally visited as non-members.  

In December 2006 we contacted the AAW New Chapter committee and found we could maintain our preferred philosophy as an AAW chapter and benefit from fuller insurance coverage.  The Nor-Cal president, Rollie Bowns, advised and supported us in our decision.  A poll of the 21 members unanimously authorized that direction and the requirement that we all join the AAW.   By-laws were developed and approved. We elected officers at our January meeting at Bob McClurg's shop.  We submitted our letter of application to the AAW the next day and are now an AAW Chapter certified as of January 24, 2007. We held our first meeting as an AAW Chapter on February 28, 2007 at Brad and Julia Peceimer-Glasse's shop.  We now had 28 members on the roster, up from the 11 at our first meeting in April 2005.

2012 saw the club enter a new phase.   37 members on the roster.  The shop teacher at Silver Springs Continuation High School in Grass Valley asked us to consider supporting his shop class in any way that we could.  A flurry of activity resulted in a working group putting together a rough plan, developing a target budget, and presenting that to the club as a whole in the October 2012 meeting.  The club approved increasing dues, levied a one time assessment on all members, agreed to apply for an AAW Grant (which unfortunately we did not receive) , accepted some additional donations from generous members and through all of that scraped together enough resources to purchase four midi lathes and all the associated tools and equipment to loan those four lathes to the school.   Jerry Hall took on the massive task of building a curriculum, recruiting teaching assistants, and leading a series of workshops for the Teaching Assistants to prepare them for working with the students.

2013 saw a lot of changes. In January we held the the first classes with students at Silver Springs H.S. Grass Valley,  and by June had had 8 students complete the turning program, as well as having provided extensive training to member teaching assistants in the process.  Our first Saturday workshop using our new lathes was held at the Silver Spring woodshop, and began steps to expand our educational efforts to support our members and community.  A closer relationship with Nor-Cal Woodturners resulted from President Bill Juhl serving also on the Board of Directors at Nor-Cal.  Many of our members accordingly have been allowed to participate in the professional demonstrator workshops that Nor-Cal has sponsored.

In July  we voted to move to evening meetings, and hold meetings at a fixed location each month, the Nevada County Fairgrounds, with Tall Pines Cottage being our primary meeting place.    The club members pitched in and had a caulking and painting party and refurbished the exterior of the building and spruced it up substantially. In August we again participated in the Nevada County Fair with turning on all days of the fair, and had success in recruiting new members. In September we substantially revised our By-Laws to reflect changes voted on, to lift the cap on membership, and to formally establish a governing Board of Directors in addition to the primary Officers of the club.  And our second all day club workshop was held at a members shop, with 9 lathes, and 25 members attending making square wing bowls in one session, and plates/platters in another.

2014.  Evening meetings continued at the county fairgrounds, and that opened the door to expanding membership.  By June we had approximately 44 members with average meeting attendance close to thirty other than on some bad weather days. We did a group purchase of peppermill mechanisms and wood peppermill blanks and did a couple of peppermill turning workshops in the spring. At the start of the year, we purchased a closed box trailer to store and transport our lathes.  Members rehabilitated it, built racks, customized the interior, and by July we had a fully transportable rolling woodturning workshop to use.   In June we held our first ever Summer Potluck Picnic and Frisbee Toss event and had 55 members, family and guests attending. In July we started doing mini-workshops at the fairgrounds in the afternoon before meetings, and the first two were Pen Turning for beginners (July) and a Tool Sharpening Workshop  in August.   We had a record number of members sign up to turn and do demonstrations at the county fair.

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