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Artistry In Wood: First Impressions – Lasting Impressions

Don Mertz and Mark Dellinger

“First impressions are often the truest,” and often make for lasting impressions. For twenty nine years the Artistry in Wood Show in Dayton, Ohio has been making first impressions that turn into lasting impressions for woodcarving enthusiasts. Visitors continue to come back year after year to be amazed and inspired all over again. Those who return over and over once made that first visit that left a first impression that became a lasting impression, resulting in the desire to come back again and again to the Artistry in Wood Show.

Many who came to the 2010 show commented that this was their first time to visit and were in awe of the experience. One visitor said that this was his first time to come all the way from San Diego, CA as attending AIW was on his “bucket list.” Upon hearing several “first time visitors” offer glowing remarks about their first impression of AIW it became apparent that first timers can tell the rest of us a thing or two.

Writers on the Woodcarving Illustrated Forum made similar remarks like, “I was in awe…a great experience…I was blown away by the beautiful carvings…carvers were so helpful and accommodating….it was so much more than I expected…I can’t wait until next year… exhibitors I talked to were all willing to talk about their techniques…. I think the real fun of the show was getting to meet some great people….The isles were packed with people….It was also my first time going and I was in awe…. To have so much talent in one place, it was so much more than I expected…. Everyone needs to experience it…. I guarantee it won't be my last. And so many great people there.”

First impression that become lasting impression are very much like the old saying “beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” in that we see and experience beauty without seeing what made it beautiful.

Before the AIW show is set up the Dayton Airport Exposition Center is a 107,000 square foot concrete floored empty building. Carving Club Volunteers transform the Expo Center into an inviting display area by laying 29,000 square feet of carpet for the aisle ways. 304 exhibitor spaces are set up to accommodate 222 exhibitors along with space for Western Ohio Woodworkers’ children’s hands on woodworking projects and Woodcarving Illustrated Spit-n-Whittle demonstrations. When the 4,886 visitors to the 2010 show came through the door into the exposition show they were greeted by lasting impressions of awe, wonder, appreciation, enthusiasm, beauty and a once in a life time experience to be experienced again and again with every return visit.

The many exhibitors that entered woodcarving and woodworking pieces for judging found stiff competition as is the case each year at Artistry In Wood. Taking home the top honors and cash were:

Best of Show – Woodcarving
1st   Vic Hood
2nd   Sandy Czajka
3rd   Charles Smalligan

Best of Show - Woodworking
1st   Robert Millard
2nd   Larry Bilderbeck
3rd   George Strong

Special Categories In Woodcarving

Dietz Religious Award
1st  Brenda Turner
2nd  Edgardo Potestades
3rd  Chris Howard

Moore Rough-Out Award
Human Figure:
 1st  Dylan Goodson
2nd  Robert Stadtlander
3rd  Robert Biermann
1st  Keith Dilworth
2nd  Dot Kohl
3rd  Robert Stadtlander

Whittlin’ Jack Williams Award
1st  Don Mertz
2nd  Glen Maynard
3rd  Don Worley

Walter Grether Award
1st  Jim Willis
2nd  Buell Burns
3rd  Jim Rawlings

Young Carvers Award
1st  Brandon Drake
2nd  Alex Kolb
3rd  Alex Kolb

Ol’ Don Burgdorf was the recipient of the coveted Ron Ryan Award for his many years sharing his talents and promoting woodcarving the world over.

Again this year a check for $5,000 was presented to United Rehabilitation Services bringing our total charity donations to over $120,000

The 30th Artistry in Wood Show, November 12 and 13, 2011 invites us all, first timers and returning visitors and exhibitors to experience lasting impressions of artistry in wood.

Copyright 2011, All rights reserved. May not be reproduced in whole or in part without prior written permission.