Quality shines at Northern Woods exhibit

Juried Minnesota show included 60 pieces built by amateur and professional woodworkers, and awards honoring their work

The 26th annual Northern Woods Exhibition, sponsored by the Minnesota Woodworkers Guild, was held April 23-26 at the Southdale Center in Edina, Minn. The juried show included 60 pieces built by amateur and professional woodworkers, and also provided an opportunity to present and discuss woodworking design and construction with fellow woodworkers and the general public.

“The work was on par as we have had in years past; it was pretty high overall,” says guild spokesman Tony Kubalak, who added that the show was comprised of about 80 percent amateurs.

During the show’s early years, the majority of work was presented by professional furniture makers. Now the show welcomes work by amateurs, which Kubalak says has opened the event up to more makers, many as talented as the professionals.

“There are a lot of people who have been working for 20 years, but have been doing it as a hobby,” he says. “Quite honestly, hobbyists can be more dedicated than professionals in the sense that the amateur does it for the love of the craft, in general, and the professional does it to get paid. I suspect that a professional may make a decision one way on cost and the amateur may go ‘No, I want this to be just so and spend a little more time.’ So I don’t know that being a professional means that the quality of work is higher. I think that the dedicated amateur is every bit as good technically and, I’d make an argument in a lot of cases, more.”

Tim Gorman of Minneapolis won the Best in Show and Peer awards for his “Serpentine Chair.” Gorman used cherry, ebony, nickel-plated aluminum, stainless-steel rods and nylon for the piece. Other winners included Joel Ficke, Cecilia Schiller, Jesse Theis, Rich Gotz, Peter Schultzetenberg, Burt Levy, Rutager West, Dick Schultz, Chuck Pitschka, Cindy Vargas, Mark Laub, Craig Jentz and Dennis Chilcote.

Spangler exhibits
The furniture of Robert Spangler is now on view at The Island Gallery in Bainbridge Island, Wash., Northwest Fine Woodworking in Seattle, and The Real Mother Goose in Portland, Ore. Spangler has been building custom furniture for more than 35 years, following an opportunity to work in Germany. His work reflects classical American furniture styles and an interest in Asian and European furniture, which are combined with a strong design background and his unique life experiences. Spangler believes that building and designing are inseparable — both processes inspire him, one feeding the other.
Currier Museum

“Turning Wood Into Art: The Jane and Arthur Mason Collection” opens July 3 at the Currier Museum in Manchester, N.H. The exhibition consists of 65 objects that have been selected from one of the world’s foremost collections of contemporary lathe-turned wood. It includes the work of well-known first-generation turners such as James Prestini, Bob Stocksdale, Ed Moulthrop and Mel Lindquist, and younger artists such as David Ellsworth, Mark Lindquist and Philip Moulthrop.

Pritam & Eames
“The Case for Carving” continues at Pritam & Eames through June 30. The show includes work by Andy Buck, John Eric Byers, Tom Calhoun, Michael Cullen, David Esterly, Duncan Gowdy, Janel Jacobsen, Kristina Madsen, Brian Newell, Randall Rosenthal and Howard Werner.

“Each of the invited woodworkers has committed the blade to material and created work that reflects exceptional skill and imagination,” says Bebe Johnson of Pritam & Eames. “Using wood and a few tools, these artist-craftsmen demonstrate how they can bring a flat board to life.”

Duane Reed Gallery
After nine years in the Clayton neighborhood of St. Louis, the Duane Reed Gallery has moved to 4729 McPherson in the Central West End next to Centro. The move, which coincides with the gallery’s 15th anniversary, allows the gallery significantly more space in a vibrant neighborhood with restaurants, galleries and other businesses.

Contacts
Currier Museum, 150 Ash St., Manchester, NH 03104. Tel: 603-669-6144. www.currier.org

Duane Reed Gallery, 4729 McPherson Ave., St. Louis, MO 63108. Tel: 314-361-4100. www.duanereedgallery.com

Minnesota Woodworkers Guild. www.mnwwg.org

Pritam & Eames, 27-29 Race Lane, East Hampton, NY 11937. Tel: 631-324-7111. www.pritameames.com

Robert Spangler Furniture, 8495 Oddfellows Road, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110. Tel: 206-780-5457. www.rspangler.com

This article originally appeared in the July 2009 issue.