Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Boston Chapter Inaugural Event - WoodExpo 2012

When woodworkers gather, fun ensues.

This past Saturday, the Boston chapter of the Modern Woodworkers Association held it's formal kick-off event to coincide with the WoodExpo2012 held at the Boston World Trade Center convention center, as part of the New England Home Show.

The Wood Expo showcased a few dozen furnituremakers of varying experience, from students from North Bennet Street School & self-taught business startups, to some of the best-know, well-respected artisans in the country.

Modern Woodworkers gathered inside the show to chat with the makers of all stripes, learn techniques, admire design, get to know one another, and generally talk about the passion we share.
After the show, we gathered at a local restaurant for dinner and drinks (16 of us, including visiting Long Island MWA chapter head Dyami Plotke and his wife, some of the presenters, including Chuck Bender and Tom McLaughlin, and some of the event's organizers: Scott Oja (@swedishiron), Justin DiPalma, Rick Waters, and Eli Cleveland, plus exhibitors from New Jersey, New York, and our own Boston members Rob Bois, Mike Morton, Mike McCoy, and me. (Sorry the photo is fuzzy, I was balanced on one foot on a wobbly chair hanging over the head of a mean-looking bouncer...oh yeah, did I mention, the place turns into a 20-something pick-up joint after 10 on Saturdays...who knew?)

Left to Right: Left Front Table: Eli Cleveland,  Justin DiPalma; Left Rear Table:  Mrs. Dyami Plotke, Mike Morton , Niels Cosman, Dyami Plotke; Right Rear Table: Mike McCoy, Rusty Burwell, Rob Bois; Right Front Table: Rick Waters, Tom McLaughlin, Chuck Bender, Scott Oja

As far as the Expo itself is concerned, I've written a perspective about it why YOU should be there on my own blog here.

Among the exhibitors, Modern Woodworkers were very well represented in Mike McCoy, Mike Morton, and Rob Bois:

Morton and Rob talk with master furnituremaker Glen Guarino
Morton Makes a Plane

Mike shows off his 'Sydney' lamp

Besides my personal objectives for the weekend (learning as much as I could absorb), my Modern Woodworkers goals (aside from having fun) were to hear about how social media and the internet is leveraged in the field today, from the masters, as well as the new generation of furnituremakers, and to invite as many of these talented people to the fold if they were interested in participating, sharing, networking, or just hanging out and talking wood with like-minded members.

I'm happy to say, on the latter, the Modern Woodworkers Association did very well, in that nearly every maker I spoke with expressed interest in knowing more about it, if not asked to be signed up on the spot.  I will be posting a separate entry to welcome these new members once I get the list updated, and many names will be recognizable  to many of you.

For the former goal, learning what place social networking and the internet play today, I'm afraid there is a drastic, perhaps generational divide.  Responses to one question posed to the first panel (Glen Guarino, Tom McLaughlin, Terry Moore, and Tommy Mac) clearly showed that while most were aware that these existed, they regretted not knowing enough about it to leverage the technology.  Even some of the younger makers have minimal web-presence beyond a website.  I'm happy to say, every one of these guys expressed genuine interest (to me) in learning how to make more of the technology in helping to grow the craft and to leverage it for their businesses and schools. Rob Bois was filming, as was the WoodExpo crew, so I'd expect footage of the panel discussion to be available in the near future.

L to R: Glen Guarino, Tom McLaughlin, Terry Moore and Tommy Mac answer questions in a panel discussion.

 I left motivated to design, build, network, collaborate, and with a bunch of great ideas for woodworking-related meetup events for the coming year, including museum visits, educational workshops, design critiques from fellow makers, school tours, workshop tours, and more.. (Note: your ideas are also highly sought and encouraged!).  Stay Tuned!

How did Rob think it went....um....strong?

Rob conquers his stool

1 comment:

  1. Great post, Nick. You've done a nice job of capturing all that was WoodExpo. I had a great time up in Boston and can't wait for more MWA events (yes, I need to set some up on Long Island).

    By the way, did Rob take his shoes off before standing on his stool?